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Meet the students in our Global Culinary Arts and Management Programme, uniquely combining practical culinary skills and higher education in management. The programme is run in partnership with Ritsumeikan University, in Japan’s very first faculty for gastronomic studies.

Aoi Masaoka

Q) Why did you decide to study culinary arts and management in university?
I’ve been interested in food ever since entering a pastry contest in elementary school. The experience made me realize how much I loved making people smile with the things I make. I learned about service and hospitality in books during junior high and high school, and I rediscovered my passion for cooking. That’s why I decided to combine those two — cuisine and hospitality — for my undergrad.

Q) What is the most interesting thing you’re learning right now?
From using a knife to responding to chefs in French like they would in the kitchens (“Oui, chef!”), everything is new and challenging! The themes covered in classes are very practical, like hygiene management in the culinary industry outside of Japan.
We’ll be doing an internship next year, so I want to learn as much as I can before then. Since we’re the first batch of students, I want to leave a good impression.

Q) What is something you find difficult in the programme?
Finding time to practise outside of the classroom has been difficult for me because I work part-time and have band practice every day. I try to practice at home on weekends—even if I can’t finish making an entire dish, even just practicing using the knife really helps me.

Q) What are your career goals?
I want to create something unique by mixing gastronomy with another field. My source of inspiration is pastry chef Janice Wong, a Le Cordon Bleu alumna who is known for her desserts that represent “edible art”. In high school, I took a trip to Tokyo to visit the Salon du Chocolat. The first thing that caught my eye in the event guidebook was a photo of her chocolate. I’ve been mesmerized by her work ever since!

The food industry is constantly evolving and with it the need for leaders to manage and shape these changes.
This could be you, embarking on a challenging, yet rewarding career with food.