Brandview: UFS Academy App
It’s no secret that in the F&B and hospitality industry, training and improving skill-set is of utmost importance. And it’s this demand from the industry that has led Unilever Food Solutions (UFS) to launch a project named UFS Academy in the UAE.
UFS executive chef Jéan van der Westhuizen says this project is very much an extension of UFS’ existing philosophy. He comments: “At UFS, it’s not just about the products. One thing that we have learned from chefs themselves is that learning chefmanship is a craft on its own and while chefs continuously want to build their repertoire of skills, they lack easy access to training. Hence we wanted to create something that would consolidate training with seasoned advice, inspirational techniques, and cuisines from around the world for all chefs to access at the palm of their hand. That is how the initial idea for the UFS Academy was born.”
The UFS Academy is a free app developed for professional chefs that releases a bi-weekly video training series that was launched on April 25, 2018 to the UAE Google Play and Apple App stores. These will cover a range of topics including: global cuisines such as Korean, Arabic, or Italian; kitchen management-related topics such as food safety; focus on techniques such as grilling, pasta making, and siphoning; recipes, and much more, over two minutes each time. Fresh content is being published to the app every two weeks.
The app, Van der Westhuizen points out, had to be different from any other. “Our priority is to support experienced restaurant chefs who want to build their repertoire of skills but lack access to training,” he notes. Through the app, chefs can master new kitchen skills using the hundreds of training videos available, filmed with expert chefs and, importantly, in just under two minutes so chefs can learn something new, even when working a split shift. To test what they have learned, chefs can challenge themselves with quizzes and earn certificates sent straight to their e-mail.
What lends an additional weight to this app is that the content is developed by Unilever’s experts and in-house professional chefs, while being supported both by the International Centre for Culinary Arts (ICCA) Dubai and the Dubai Municipality. Van der Westhuizen adds: “Our partnership with ICCA and Dubai Municipality is strategic to develop and deliver more educational content that is also trendy and credible to our audience.”
As the industry is continually evolving, chefs and others in the food & beverage industry need to stay ahead of the curve and keep learning. As Van der Westhuizen notes: “As a chef, you never have time to be bored. If you want to learn something new, you simply have to pick up your knife bag and walk into another kitchen.”
He says that considering the contemporary period of social media, diners demand food that they can see from all over the world. “As chefs, we need to stay on top of those trends as well, to be able to then address the demands. But we also need to be in tune with some of the basics. And this is exactly what UFS Academy does. It teaches, it inspires, it makes it professional.
“The rise of social media has changed the industry in terms of trend development speed. Never have food trends influenced our buying or eating behaviours as much as today. This will continue. Staying on top of food and beverage trends is what Unilever Food solutions does best. We not only follow, share and upgrade the latest trends but we like to think that sometimes we even set them,” he concludes.
Want to stay updated with the latest trends in the market and new skills, which will only help your business do better? Then download the app — and begin your journey!