SINGAPORE – When she was young, Ms Tan Wei Ling explored many good food places with her parents, who had worked in the food and beverage industry.
Even though they have switched careers, food still plays a big part in their lives. It is also a reason why Ms Tan, 19, enrolled in a hospitality operations Nitec course at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE).
That proved to be the right decision as the first-year student at ITE College West emerged as top among 10 contestants who took part in the final round of a drink creation challenge held at the school in Choa Chu Kang on Thursday (Nov 19). She received a $500 cash prize.
Co-organised by F&N Foods and ITE College West’s School of Hospitality, the competition is in its third edition this year. The event was held in a hybrid format, with a limited audience at the physical event and a number of others who watched via a live stream.
There were about 20 students in the initial stage of the competition.
The finalists were tasked to create their own mocktails, comprising up to five ingredients.
Ms Tan chose to work with ingredients such as soya milk – she was the only one to use it – sweetened creamer, sliced honeydew and dragonfruit, and a mixed berry yoghurt smoothie drink.
She said: “I looked at what my competitors were not using and decided on soya milk to try and come up with something different. I tried out a few versions and let my father taste it and give his feedback on it.”
The competitors, who are all students from ITE College West, were judged on a number of factors, including their skills, confidence, level of hygiene and creativity of their drinks.
Ms Tan’s classmates Gina Lim, 17, and Lim Bei Ni, 17, were first and second runner-up, winning $300 and $100 respectively.
Ms Gina Lim also took home the popular choice award, which won her another $50.
She said she was surprised at her win as she had forgotten some steps in her presentation, such as preparing a straw for her drink.
She added that she had told her former teachers at Northlight School that she was participating in the competition, which might have contributed to her wining the popular choice award.
“I asked them to vote for me but I didn’t expect the votes to blow up like wildfire. I’m very thankful.”
Ms Denise Tan, the director of ITE’s School of Hospitality, who was one of three judges, hopes the competition will spark interest in the F&B sector, as well as open up opportunities for the students.
“We hope this gives them an eye-opening experience,” she said.
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