Tuesday, November 23, 2010

WACS Asian Presidents Forum 2010

The World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS) Asian Presidents Forum was held in Daejon, Korea, from the 3rd to 4th September 2010. I was privileged to be part of the Singapore delegation to attend the Forum. Together with me, Singapore was represented by Edmund Toh, Vice-President of Singapore Chefs Association (SCA) and Jenny Tan, Branding and Communications of SCA.

It was a meeting of the Presidents of the various chefs associations in Asia. The meeting was chaired by WACS Asia Continental Director John Sloane. Along with him were President of WACS, Gissur Gudmundsson, WACS Continental Director for Africa and Middle East, Arnold Tanzer, and WACS Continental Director for Pacific Region, Glenn Austin. Also present, besides the respective associations’ presidents, were Cassandra Hayden, representing Women in WACS, and Charles Carroll who is coordinating the WACS Congress 2012. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I have read one of Charles Carroll’s books before, entitled Leadership lessons from a Chef: Finding time to be great.

The meeting was fruitful with many topics being discussed. Presidents of the various associations took to the podium and shared with their fellow counterparts the on goings of their association. Hong Kong Young Chefs Club, like us SJCC, had a representative for the meeting and shared on her club. The HKYCC has been doing great, and has had recent overseas exchange programs.

I briefed on our club and the perspectives our committee had on giving focus to young chefs for our profession’s future, being patient to young chefs and their mistakes, and guiding and encouraging young chefs in their work in junior chefs clubs. I also highlighted that each club can be unique and is perfectly fine to differ from one another, so long as it remains focus to the primary goal which is to inspire and guide young chefs. (E.g. some clubs are strong in competitions, some focus on membership figures; some do not have as many activities, while others are at their early forming stage)

President Gissur also gave us insights on new initiatives in WACS, such as Chefs Without Borders (A humanitarian aid project which chefs can play a big part in) and WACS’ endorsement of culinary institutions.

There were also paper presentations on Korean Food, WACS Congress 2012, and a Honey Candy making presentation (which reminded me of the Chinese Dragon Beard Candy). The Korean Chefs Association was a warm host, making sure there were translators around wherever we go, hosting us to sumptuous receptions, including a reception and outdoor concert graced by the Mayor of Daejon city.

Apart from getting used to having lots of Kimchi and Samgyetang, it was a productive trip of networking and gaining useful information to be shared with my committee and members.

Jasper Jek
Singapore Junior Chefs Club