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Hospitality is hot

By Jullie Y. Daza

EVELYN Singson is cooking up a storm, and high school graduates with an eye on the global tourism/hospitality industry should turn their umbrellas upside-down to catch the big splash.

Opening in August beside SM Aura at The Fort is Dusit Hospitality Management College, to educate and train managers – not half-baked college students who find themselves assigned to polishing floors, opening doors – but qualified, competent professionals who will hold executive positions here and abroad, and not just in hotels “but also in hospitals and banks, anywhere hospitality is required.” Ms. Singson knows whereof she speaks. She’s president of Dusit Hotel, she’s also connected with Asian Hospital, and she’s a former banker.

Ms. Singson and her team of managing director Lars Eltvik and director of culinary arts Master Chef Cyrille Soenen (mentored by the legendary Paul Bocuse) describe their billion-peso project as a college that looks more like a hotel where students will be dressed in business suits, teachers will not lecture in classrooms and have the last word, and “the first college in the Asia-Pacific region to provide a fully integrated learning and hands-on training experience.” It will be housed in the same new building with a 125-room hotel.

Lars, a happy Norwegian like the rest of his 5 million countrymen, told “Bulong Pulungan” kibitzers that yearly tuition will be in the range of R480,000, “more or less the same” as Enderun, which Dusit does not consider a competitor; other noncompetitors would be Lyceum and St. Benilde. Ms. Singson hastened to add that in the early years of the millennium, the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) then headed by Tatti Licuanan was beset by the phenomenon of “a thousand and one schools” offering tourism and culinary courses that CHEd had to impose a moratorium on more of the same sprouting like mushrooms. Well, we are a hospitable people and we love to eat.

Dusit got CHEd’s green light on the strength of its technology-enabled facilities, impressive curriculum, course offerings, degrees, and programs, plus a faculty staffed by professors with a doctorate or master’s degree, no less.

In turn, the students will benefit from the school’s partnership with Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne (Switzerland), “the best hospitality school in the world,” and Institut Paul Bocuse (France) named after the “chef of the century.”

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