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Alumna returns to Le Cordon Bleu after 20 years

Cheryl Wei Ping Chen built an impressive 20 year career in hospitality management and education with a Restaurant Business degree in 2000 from Le Cordon Bleu Adelaide. In 2019, she has returned to follow her passion for pastries, studying a Diplôme de Pâtisserie (SIT31016 Certificate III in Patisserie) at Le Cordon Bleu Adelaide.

Born in Malaysia, Cheryl has worked in Singapore for the last 20 years, with an impressive list of career achievements including becoming a General Manager at 32 years old; leading World Skills Competition in 2013 & 2017; managing food and beverage outlets generating SGD$16M annually. Her last role before returning to study was Programme Chair of Diploma in Restaurant and Culinary Operations (School of Hospitality) at Republic Polytechnic, Singapore.

“Coming from a culture where a hospitality career is not a first choice compared to other white-collar professions, I had to work doubly hard to prove the worth of hospitality and my success.”

Cheryl’s love of cooking began at 6 years old, helping her late grandfather prepare large family meals. Being a Chinese Master Chef he had high standards in the kitchen while being nurturing and encouraging at the same time. “Whenever I am in the kitchen, I will always reminisce the times with him and wish he was around to savour the wonderful recipes Le Cordon Bleu has taught me.”

Leaving Malaysia in her teens, Cheryl travelled extensively for work and study, deciding in 1998 to study a Bachelor of Restaurant Business degree in Adelaide, saying: “Le Cordon Bleu offers international accreditation and is globally recognised - its high academic quality leads to amazing industry opportunities. And Australia is a beautiful, welcoming country, so why not?”

The structure of the degree allowed her to study management modules and business strategy, undertake academic research, and work in industry – which, Cheryl says, is why she chose it!

The dynamic team of Le Cordon Bleu lecturers share their skills, knowledge and international experiences with us. While lecturers are professional, they remain approachable, nurturing and build caring relationships with students.

An industry placement at 2000 Sydney Olympics as Team Leader gave Cheryl the chance to work at a high-end, large volume event where she thrived with a team of 12, serving food and beverage to VIP guests in VISA & AMEX tents. Given her prior work experience in a Michelin Star restaurant in Zurich, Switzerland, Cheryl was highly experienced in offering personalised, high-end service to customers.

A week before graduating from Le Cordon Bleu Adelaide in 2000, Cheryl sent out her resume to hotels in Hong Kong, Singapore and Europe, accepting a job offer from The Ritz-Carlton Millenia in Singapore, where she steered award winning profile restaurants.  

Throughout her career, opportunities were never far away – in her mid 30s, Cheryl held the position of General Manager for a prestigious hotel group overseas. It was during this role, that Cheryl’s passion for pastry was revisited, every time she looked at optimising kitchen profits, she realised the best revenue stream was always in pastry. So she became passionate about patisserie, reconstructing her kitchen at home and baking during her leisure time.

“When friends asked me where I was going to follow my passion for patisserie I said, “Le Cordon Bleu! Where else?” Because I’ve had such a great learning experience with them, I loved the teachers and the degree I’ve already studied here, I wanted to return for the patisserie course.”

Her decision to return to Le Cordon Bleu Adelaide in 2019 for a Certificate III in Patisserie was the natural progression of her renewed passion, saying: “The patisserie course I’m doing here is fantastic, I love it! It’s challenging and enjoyable at the same time. The teachers are so engaging.”

In 2011, Cheryl had an opportunity to embark in a lecturer’s role at Republic Polytechnic in Singapore, eventually taking over as Programme Chair of Diploma of Culinary and Restaurant Operations, managing a team of 24 staff and 300 students. It was during this role that Cheryl discovered a love of teaching, and looks forward to a career that unites her two passions: patisserie and education.

I aspire to be a good educator, assertive teacher and make my lessons relevant for my students while keeping a close connection with the hospitality industry.
CRICOS 02380M / RTO 4959