RACA’s new BA in food and beverage management exceeds expectations

Practical work 2
(Photos: Royal Academy of Culinary Arts)
The Royal Academy of Culinary Arts’ (RACA) year-old bachelor program in food and beverage management is highly praised by its students.

Formed in collaboration with Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne — ranked the world’s top hospitality university — RACA’s is the first BA in the Arab region to combine hospitality management and culinary arts.اضافة اعلان

Zaina Sabbagh and Kinan Mubaidin graduated high school last year from Jordanian International Schools and Jordan Hotel School, with Tawjihi scores of 99.4 and 74.4 percent respectively. They are part of the first batch of students who will graduate from RACA’s new BA program.

While Mubaidin had experience working as a barista, took multiple cooking courses, and managed a bakery shop, Sabbagh described herself as a “blank page” before coming to RACA.

“On my own, I never actually cooked. So I was really scared that I wouldn’t grow accustomed to the situation,” she admitted in an interview with Jordan News.

“I’m not scared, anymore, of not knowing.”

Rather than prior experience, what is needed to succeed in this program is passion and interest. Fundamental cooking methods, bakery, pastry, stewarding, cleaning, and everything in between is covered. Conceptual learning around business etiquette, food safety, nutrition, and even math is taught in tandem with the physical work — all to achieve a well-rounded education.

The courses, Sabbagh said, heavily revolve around gaining practical experience, and “being in the kitchen”.

“But there’s also a big part of it that’s theoretical,” she added.

RACA’s teaching model is ideal for learning course content, said Mubaidin: “When you apply it, you will memorize it by default. But when you memorize it without applying it, you are not going to gain any knowledge at all.”

The four-year BA is split in half, with two years dedicated to training in the culinary arts and the remaining two in hospitality management. Each half includes a five-month-long internship in which students work at five-star hotels to gain hands-on experience.

This allows for exploration and the development of new career aspirations that have the potential to branch out in unexpected directions. Sabbagh, who has a newfound love for pastry since joining the BA program, plans on taking advantage of opportunities outside of classes by volunteering at the academy’s kitchens.

Mubaidin, on the other hand, explained how his goals shifted after discovering his passion for managing: “I joined to be a chef, but I changed my mind,” he said. “I see myself in the front offices. I love talking with people, I love making connections.”

He also elaborated on the ways being at RACA has improved his social skills: “I’m more open to receive criticism, to get complaints. I don’t mind. I love people and that’s what I realized by joining RACA.”

Previously, RACA only offered a diploma program. The establishment of the BA program gave students the push they needed to pursue education in the hospitality and culinary fields.

Sabbagh recalls first telling her parents about her desire to study at RACA.

“I have four siblings, and they’re all studying medicine,” she said. This put pressure on her to get a bachelor’s degree as well. The BA program is “the best thing that could have happened”.

“I signed up on the spot,” she said, calling herself lucky to be part of the people who first had access to this unique program.

According to Mubaidin, knowing the specific names of tools, the science behind food processes, and a deep knowledge of the kitchen gives students confidence and prepares them to be capable members of any team.

“RACA is developing the best hoteliers in the Middle East,” he adds. After sharing on his LinkedIn platform that he was available for work, he received over “11 job offers in 30 minutes”.

Graduates’ greatest resource? Their committed instructors, who were described as accessible, ready to answer questions, and eager to teach more than the confines of the course material. These attributes create a motivating environment that supports students and encourages effective learning.

In the coming four years, an estimated 16,000 employees will be needed in the Jordanian hospitality sector. The food and beverage management program at RACA intends to fill this gap with competent industry professionals.

Enthusiastic and eager to learn, Sabbagh and Mubaidin reflect the exciting future of the confident graduates RACA’s BA program will produce.

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