Bistro Lima is like your typical modest dining establishment. Upon entering the warm colored bistro complemented with a soft ambiance, you will be welcomed by a smiling receptionist who will direct you to your seat. An attendant will walk towards your table to greet and hand you the menu. At a glance the list consists of an affordable and simple international cuisine wherein you can get one of the chef’s special entrée at Php 150. The menu changes every semester, on that day they are offering a Greek themed buffet (the reason for the goddess costumes). The attendant will listen and write down your order before she leaves your table to inform the kitchen staff. Everything seems to be orchestrated until the food arrives on your table. Every staff seems to be careful as if someone is observing them; well actually at the far end corner of the room a professor is monitoring their every action.
Located on the ground floor of the SISFU building (Southville International School affiliated with Foreign Universities), Bistro Lima is the classroom extension of the Culinary and Hospitality first and second year college students where they are immersed in the actual service industry setting. Food preparation and cooking is supervised by Chef Alvin John who is the head chef instructor of SISFU.
Chef Alvin John with the students
Bistro Lima serves as a training ground where students can apply what they have learned from their general classes to prepare them for the realities of the industry in the near future.
“It is a very good curriculum training for them,” says Jerry Aguilar who is the Director for Admission Operations and a father of three successful SISFU graduates.
But what did the students who were running the operation of Bistro Lima think of this practicum? A chat with Xenna Marie B. Rivera, a 2nd year Culinary Arts student; and Andrea Sandalo and Nicole Abad who are both 1st year Hospitality Management students proved that a “real-world” generated class is an advantage and a necessity.
R-L: Xenna Marie B. Rivera, Nicole Abad, and Andrea Sandalo
Question: Why did you take up this course?
Xenna: I really wanted to take up this course because it offers culinary arts plus the culinary arts here teaches us management so it’s a two in one course.
Andrea: Because I knew that the degree is not from the Philippines, it’s from Australia, and another factor is that it (the school) is near my house.
Q: When you were young, did you want to establish your own restaurant?
X: Yes ever since I was in grade-school, I like cookbooks. I wanted to take this course.
Nicole: I want to have my own restaurant, that’s why I took this course.
Q: Was there something that inspired you?
N: Working here I guess, having this kind of experience.
Q: So how is the experience here?
X: It’s really fun because we get a lot of opportunities to join competitions like Philippine Culinary Cup and Manila Food and Beverage Exposition.
A: I think that what’s enjoyable in our course is that there’s a lot of hands-on work which is practical whereas in other schools, they have to take up general subjects. For us it’s straight to majors.
Q: So what’s a typical school day for you?
X: We always do papers in and out the classroom.
Q: How about working in this restaurant, was it something you expected?
X: It was actually.
A: They informed us when we enrolled here.
Q: So after knowing that this how a restaurant works, what do you expect in the real world?
A: It will be hard.
Q: What are your realizations?
X: In the kitchen, I expect that it will be really tiring in the real world because we always stand inside the kitchen. There are no breaks especially when there’s a function.
A: For the restaurant side since we are trained for fine dining, there’s really a lot of work that you have to put in giving guests the experience that they deserve, so you have to pay attention to details – that’s the main thing.
N: This one is basic. How about when we work? It will be harder when you imagine it.
The overall function of Bistro Lima is influenced by the foreign curriculum of the school’s partner particularly ICHM and Pearson which is being overseen by the head of School of Hospitality Management, Ms. Carol Pido.
Southville International School affiliated with Foreign Universities (SISFU) is located at Lima corner Luxembourg Streets, BF International, Las Piñas City, Philippines.
For more information visit www.sisfu.edu.ph.
Acknowledgements: Thank you Louie Reyes, SISFU’s Marketing and Communication; and Aldous Calubad.