Last April 15 – 22 we went to Singapore with the Global Academy delegates because we competed in the Food & Hotel Asia Singapore Culinary Challenge. It was the first time of Global Academy to join this competition and this was our second time to join an International competition.
FHA in Singapore was very different from Hong Kong. Their Singapore Expo was looonnnnggggggg. The pastry, salad and awarding were all held in Hall 1 while the hot cooking together with all the results were held in Hall 9. The distance of one end to the other is about 10-15 minutes walk depending on your pace. Some taxi drivers didn’t know where the drop off point in the middle was so there were times that we had to walk the whole distance.
The hardest part in this competition was that hot cooking competitions always ran late. Chef Brando started 2 hours after his assigned time while Chef Miah started 3 hours late and all the rest were 1 to 2 hours late. Majority of our delegation this time were first time competitors and to make them wait that long makes you lose your momentum and focus. There were some that weren’t able to eat except for a hot dog the whole day until about 10pm because of the delay in their schedule.
There were no debriefings as well after each heat so our competitors were the ones who looked for their judges to ask them to give them feedback about their performance. This was supposed to be a learning experience and it’s really disappointing when you don’t get any comments and constructive criticism.
We were all so disappointed as well that the awarding time kept on changing without it being announced. As I said before, the awarding was in Hall 1 and we were in Hall 9 for the hot cooking most of the time. Awarding time should be at 5pm everyday and sometimes it would be at 4pm then not all of us would be able to make it there because we were at the other end or not even in the venue yet. For the final awarding ceremony, they suddenly changed the time to 3pm from 5pm. We were all on our way when we got a message from Chef Martha saying that they arrived at the venue already at 4pm and the ceremony was over because it started at 3pm. When we arrived at 430pm they were dismantling everything already that we couldn’t even take photos with the official backdrop. It was definitely anticlimactic and it ruined the joy of our triumph because we weren’t able take part in any awarding as a group.
I don’t know why but they were very disorganized this year. The good thing with this whole thing is that inspite of all the challenges, we still went home with 7 medals. It was good for our chefs and students to compete internationally because it increased their exposure and knowledge in the global arena.