In June, Instituto Profesional AIEP hosted the fifth edition of the Laureate Culinary Cup (LCC), in Santiago, Chile. The event involved 12 teams from Laureate’s gastronomy programs in nine countries: Australia, Costa Rica, Chile, Panama, Honduras, Mexico, Peru, Turkey and Brazil.
Universidade Anhembi Morumbi (UAM) students Ricardo Tetsuo and César Albuquerque took home the top prize with a menu inspired by the work of Tomie Ohtake, a famous artist in São Paulo. In this edition, Rosa Moraes, Laureate Brazil’s Director of Hospitality and Gastronomy, speaks with the winning students about their experience at the LCC.
Rosa Moraes: What does winning the Laureate Culinary Cup mean to you and your career?
Ricardo: The LCC is a wonderful opportunity to share with fellow students from around the world, learn new techniques, and learn about new cultures. This Award has opened and will continue to open doors for us. We met incredible faculty who supported us every step of the way. This rich relationship is an incredible thing and is part of our prize. This all creates a chain of values and lessons that many may not have the opportunity to experience.
César: The LCC represents a tremendous effort and achievement. It means that limits can be overcome and experience makes the difference. The entire process, up to winning the trophy, was an intensive learning experience. A great journey of exchanging knowledge with Brazil and the world.
RM: The LCC is an international event with participants from nine countries. What do you think the advantages of belonging to an institution that is part of the global Laureate network are?
Ricardo: Only organizations of Laureate’s scale can organize events like this. There are nine countries competing, demonstrating their techniques, skills, and attitudes. There is nothing like this competition, focused on students with this degree of excellence, in other institutions. That’s the advantage of the network’s international reach. These opportunities differentiate us as professionals, without a doubt. It gives us an international vision and scope.
RM: How did your institution help you prepare for the competition? What does UAM offer that other universities do not?
César: UAM is a pioneer in Brazil in the areas of tourism and gastronomy education. During the process, our highly-qualified faculty went above and beyond and contributed long hours guiding us and helping us prepare, well beyond their professional and personal obligations. This was definitely a significant boost to our performance.
RM: One objective of the LCC is to share your culture through flavors and creativity. What do you think international participants learned about Brazilian culture through your dishes?
Ricardo: Our menu was inspired by the work of Tomie Ohtake, a well-regarded Japanese-born, Brazilian artist. But we also considered to the 110 years of Japanese history in Brazil, showing the importance of other cultures in the formation of our country. We stressed how art can be directly related to gastronomy and how they go hand in hand in culture. I believe we offered a glimpse of our artistic culture, our flavors, and part of the history of our society and the importance of immigrants for Brazil.
RM: What is your final message to Laureate students across the network?
Ricardo: Take advantage of the opportunities that the university offers you! All of them – from lectures to an additional online course! Build relationships with your teachers and mentors. Try to understand what it really means to be a student and make the best of every opportunity that comes your way. Put your heart into it. Time goes by so fast. I remember something that Chef Leo Tavares told us almost daily: “Winning or losing does not matter. It matters how you get to the end.” You could say, “I should have done this, I could have taken more advantage of that, I should not have done this…” or you can come to the end, regardless of the outcome, more complete, lighter, and knowing that you did your best and there is no room for regret.
César: My friends, take every opportunity. A lot of things happen here. At UAM we use the word ‘family’ because we often spend more time in the university than at home. People make a difference in their practices, relationships and the value they add to our day. Having these experiences expands our network of good relationships and great possibilities. We now live in a world without borders, of open minds.
“It´s extremely gratifying to follow the evolution of Laureate’s Culinary Cup competition through the years, an event that reached its fifth edition and always reveals great cooks all over the world. Each day, Laureate becomes a greater reference in the gastronomy market by promoting such an initiative; the chosen candidates always show great potential and the level of quality demanded in every event calls for lots of discipline from the participants. As we follow the path of our students after graduation, it becomes clear that many of them obtain great jobs thanks to this project’s visibility and prestige.”
Laureate Brazil, Director of Gastronomy and Hospitality
Click here to read more and view pictures of the event.