By Dolly Dy-Zulueta
GOOD news for Muslims, both Filipinos and foreigners, who are constantly looking for restaurants that serve Halal food: The number is limited and locating them can be a real challenge, but things are going to change soon with the recent unveiling of the Center for Culinary Arts (CCA Manila)’s first-of-its-kind Halal Culinary Arts Program.
Launched in simple but meaningful rites at CCA Manila’s Katipunan, Quezon City, campus, the Halal Culinary Arts Program is a groundbreaking 16-day comprehensive and rigorous hands-on program that prepares students enrolled in the program to serve authentic Halal food in restaurants, groceries and convenience stores, catering services, food delivery and/or personal chef capacity.
“Halal is not associated with religion alone. It’s also a lifestyle and a food safety standard. I believe that through our Halal Culinary Arts Program, we can ensure skills for the preparation, cooking and serving of food that is delicious, clean, nutritious, sustainable and ethical. The students of this program will be able to develop their cooking skills, train their palate, work in teams and learn discipline while applying the principles of Halal cooking,” explains Dr. Veritas Luna, Chancellor for Education of CCA Manila.
Dr. Luna also explained, during the launch, that there is so much to understand and learn about Halal cuisine, which refers to food that is beneficial instead of harmful to the human body, uses ingredients that are of the highest quality, as well as prepared and cooked following Halal traditions. The course also teaches knife skills and cooking methods and applies Halal principles on various cuisines.
With the growing number of Muslim Filipinos (now totaling more than 10 million), expats working in the country, and tourists, the Halal Culinary Arts Program could not have been launched at a more opportune time. The first batch of CCA Manila students under this program is already on board and actually worked the kitchen and prepared the Halal food served over lunch during the launch. CCA Manila’s very own Halal chef instructor Joel Sausa did the honors of praying over the meal before it was served buffet style.
Besides Dr. Luna and CCA Manila president and CEO Marinela ‘Badjie’ Trinidad, gracing the launch were National Commission of Muslim Filipinos (NCMF)’s Commissioner Samad Pangandaman and former Commissioner Analiza Flores-Malayang, as well as Halal International Chamber of Commerce and Industries of the Philippines Inc. (HICCIP) president Ustadz Alexander Sultan.