CULINARY arts students who aspire to become top chefs someday now have all the opportunities to make this dream come true with Jolly University. A learning program put together by Fly Ace Corporation’s Jolly brand, which is a leading brand in canned fruits and vegetables, Jolly University not only pits the skills of talented culinary students against each other in a grand cook-off. It also grooms them in all other aspects of making it big as a culinary professional and encourages them to learn essential industry skills, create career milestones and share inspiring values with others. This is why its rallying cry is Learn, Create and Share.
Launched over luncheon rites at InterContinental Manila’s Café Jeepney, Jolly University harnesses students’ skills through cooking competitions while equipping them with new and valuable knowledge in the areas of culinary, leadership, entrepreneurship, digital marketing, and personality development.
Jolly University comes in three phases—a series of school tours, a weekend boot camp, and a grand culinary challenge.
The series of school tours took place in January this year, with Jolly University visiting twelve universities and presenting industry leaders as resource speakers in talks on Trends in the Food and Beverage Industry by Jolly senior product manager Marilou Acuna; cooking demonstration on Filipino dishes by Nina Daza Puyat, daughter of the late culinary icon Nora Daza and editor of Appetite Magazine; and The Importance of Social Media by Jay Chiu of Carbon Digital, among others. The talks took place alongside an Intra-School Cooking Competition in each school, which had three teams with three members per team battling it out for the honor of representing their school in the Grand Culinary Challenge and becoming Jolly University Elites.
Each team had to submit a food bazaar dish recipe using the various Jolly Food Line products, aimed at not just enhancing the students’ knowledge on the various Jolly products but also developing their creativity in coming up with innovative recipes for a start-up business.
Winning teams were chosen from the 12 participating schools—San Sebastian College, Technological University of the Philippines (TUP), St. Louis College Valenzuela, Perpetual Help College of Manila, Far Eastern University (FEU), Universidad de Manila, Colegio de San Juan de Letran, Arellano University, La Consolacion College, Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), University of Santo Tomas (UST) and National University (NU).
The second phase of the Jolly University learning program happened from February 28 to March 1. The winning teams from each school, called Jolly University Elites, went through intensive training and seminar from industry leaders. These mentors were Fly Ace Corporation president Jun Cochanco, Allegro Beverage Corporation president Leo de Leon, one of the country’s top chefs Sau del Rosario, multi-awarded digital strategist Sheena Ramos, and Etiquette de Manille president Pauli Antoine. Jolly University head master chef Mitchie Sison headed the boot camp, at the end of which each team had to present a comprehensive Business Plan, which is where every business endeavor begins.
The third and final phase—and culminating event—of the Jolly University program takes place today, March 7, 2015, at the Midtown Atrium, Robinsons Place Manila at 5:00 p.m. It’s the Grand Culinary Challenge, where the twelve teams of Jolly University Elites shall compete against each other in a live grand cook-off. In front of a big audience, the teams must apply the skills they have learned and come up with the best Jolly dish that can be an actual food business start-up. They must, of course, use Jolly products, which include Whole Button Mushrooms, Pieces and Stems, Premium Sliced Mushrooms, Shiitake Mushrooms, Cream of Mushroom Soup, Whole Corn, Cream Corn and Young Corn. Other Jolly products include Asparagus, Garbanzos, Green Peas, Red Pimiento, Black Beans, Straw Mushrooms, Tomato Paste, Water Chestnuts, Lychees, Mandarin Oranges, Peach Halves, Grass Jelly, Maraschino Cherries, Pineapple, and Fruit Cocktail.
At stake for the winning teams are cash prizes of Php15,000 for the Grand Prize winner, Php10,000 for the second placer, and Php5,000 for the third placer, plus special prizes from other brand partners for the student participants and the schools they represent. The Grand Prize winner from the Grand Culinary Challenge will also be participating in several projects of Jolly, including recipe development for the brand.
“We want Jolly University to be a launch pad for distinctive students who want to make it big in their careers. We envision Jolly University to be bigger every year, touching the lives of more and more students nationwide,” says Fly Ace Corporation president Jun Cochanco, who is confident that Jolly University will go a long way.
So, head for the Midtown Atrium of Robinsons Place Manila and watch not just the Grand Culinary Challenge but the lives of some culinary students change forever.