We were invited to Taylor’s Lakeside Campus for the School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts Campus Preview Day last weekend. Initially we thought it’s just another ordinary campus open day but we were so wrong! As we toured around the campus, we kept exclaiming “wow! oh wow!”. We were so impressed with what we had seen that we stayed vaguely sensible. ☺
Set on 27 acres of tropical greenery near Jalan PJS 7/5, the flagship campus is built around a 5.5 acre lake and many ecological sustainable principles such as natural cooling systems have been used on this “eco-friendly campus”.
The Lakeside Campus is divided into Phase 1 and Phase 2. The Phase 1 of the campus will be fully completed in July 2010. It welcomed its first batch of students in January 2010. Work is still ongoing for the 80-room boutique hotel run by the students and lecturers as well as a Commercial Block that houses a food court, bookstore, restaurants, convenience store, money changer, ATMs and more. Phase 2 is slated for completion in 2012.
Upon our arrival, we met up with Emily at the Administration Block, a 6-storey glass-encased building that houses key departments that provide services to both prospective and current students.
Its impressive facilities include spacious lecture halls with impressive glass walls reaching to the ceiling and large open stairways. One of the halls even has a panoramic lake view!
and a nice view that is pleasing to the eyes.
Since it is the preview day for the School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts, we did a tour to hotel suites, culinary suites, culinary and bar theatre, wine laboratory, front office rooms and tourism practical rooms as well.
The joy of free food aside, the first remarkable thing that comes to mind is the professionalism of the student wait staff. They were professional, discreet and helpful. The tea sachets were presented in a leather tea chest, and the wait staff would explain and suggest the type of teas available.
We proceeded to the wine appreciation class after we are done with our meal. FYI, the course is suitable for both the novice and those working in the hospitality industry and course fee includes the cost of wines tasted. How good was that!
Since it is a one hour session, we learnt the wine styles, how to taste wine, choosing and enjoying different wines. Mr. Reuben, an F&B Lecturer, even taught us about wine etiquette – never hold the glass by its bowl, only by its stem since the heat of your hand will quickly warm the liquid.
Wine tasting (not drinking) starts from sight – look at the wine in daylight if possible. In our case, we slightly tilt the wine in the glass and hold it up to the florescent light. Is the wine clear or cloudy? For red, is it rose or red? For white, is it green or yellow? It all depends on the age.
Then gently swirl the glass in tiny circles to allow oxygen to penetrate the wine. As the wine coats the sides of the glass, it releases its bouquet. Tip the glass up and stick your nose in it and inhale. Is it floral, fruit, spicy or woody?
Then sip the wine, letting the wine spread across the tongue from front to back and side to side before swallowing. Do not talk to your peers when you record down your thoughts in a piece of paper. At this point you can either spit it out (you will see basins in the class for this purpose) or either drink it.
We also learnt a lil’ myth buster here – does wine tastes better with age? This is true for premium, high-quality wines, but not true for many wines. He taught us a general rule of thumb if we are buying off the rack that is inexpensive dry white/red should be consumed within one to three years of its production year.
We watched Chef Karam demonstrate his recipe for Tiramisu. There is a flow to his hand that makes all the whisking, beating and assembling look easy. Guess it’s true that pros make it look effortless.
Rich and moist, Chef Karam’s version makes those cheapo black forest cake with artificial cherries look so bad! Do you know that Taylor’s is offering a short pastry course (8 weeks) to outsiders at RM3000? Not too bad considering that you get to bring home your baked goodies. *batting eyelashes to KampungBoy*
We also visited one of the front office reception rooms. The PCs are equipped with Front Desk hospitality software where students can learn the standard front desk operations and to understand the advanced aspects of hotel and guest management.
All in all, the campus preview tour was an eye opening experience. We were impressed with how organized and professional the School and programmes are. And the Lakeside Campus with world-class facilities. Need I to say more? You young people are so fortunate nowadays. How I wish I could go back in time to school!
*thanks to David from Nuffnang and Emily from Taylor’s for showing us around.