With the influx of easy-to-make cakes and pastries videos in all social media sites, baking has become accessible to almost anyone who has the internet. The mesmerising images combined with attractive shots, these posts can definitely bring out the baker in anyone. However, it becomes frustrating when what we watch did not turn out how we wanted it to be. Does it mean we are not made for the kitchen? Of course not.
If baking is really your passion, Malaysian Institute of Baking (MIB) C. Viravikneshvar or Vira, as he is fondly called, says just go for it. “Don’t let inhibitions and fear block you,” he tells. The current chief executive officer of MIB shares that having an appetite for making culinary arts, not just baking, is a good decision.
Having produced successful graduates throughout the years, his advice is not to be taken for granted. Since its establishment in 1987 – known then as English Hotbreads School of Baking – MIB has helped some of the most-sought after pastry chefs and bakers from the country. These are the people, who like you, loves to whip up delicious treats and have made cooking their career.
“It gives me a great pride and joy to see young people from our school running their own business,” he says. Vira says it is very satisfying to meet MIB alumni putting up their own shops, or working in hotels as far as Dubai, Australia, and the US. “Some of them even represent the country in baking Olympics worldwide,” he adds.
But what sets the MIB graduates apart from other baking school students? Vira says they are more than just a baking institute. “The difference between us and other schools is that we set the foundation for students since day one.”
He explains that they teach them the science of food. “Understanding the science of baking, as well as their technicalities and nuisances, are important,” he says. “You can pick recipes online, but when it comes to ingredient substitution, taste profiling, chemical reaction, product faults, this is where a chef is truly tested.” MIB graduates, specifically those who took up Diploma in Molecular Gastronomy, are taught to understand the science of food and to troubleshoot problems. As Vira calls it, Molecular Gastronomy is the applied science when it comes to food.
Explaining further, Vira says they also prepare their students not just in tackling complex culinary challenges, but they impart leadership and entrepreneurship lessons as well. For instance, the Molecular Gastronomy course makes students undergo various training – from management, communication, finance, even hygiene. This integrated class gives the future pastry chefs the best of both worlds, as they are provided with invaluable guidance in different skills aside from baking. “These classes make the graduates industry-ready,” he shares.
MIB in the Future
Talking about the upcoming plans, Vira says they have a lot in store for MIB. “We plan to set up schools for Hospitality, Business, and Communication.” The projects are still under development, but he assures they are something to watch out for.
Another collaboration the Institute is truly excited about is the partnership with London South Bank Universty’s National Bakery School. Founded in 1894, the school is the oldest bakery school in the world. With their decade of experience, Vira is grateful to be working with the pioneering educational institution for baking.
With all the opportunities available, Vira urges people who want to take a career in the food industry to pursue their dreams. “When you start a profession in either baking or cooking, you always start at the bottom,” he says. “There is no short-cut to success. You must have the right attitude, be hardworking, and always do your best.” And of course, MIB will be with you, every step of the way.