Wednesday, February 25, 2009

It doesn't cost S$15,500 - WW

A Singapore top civil servant, Mr Tan Yong Soon wrote an extensive article in our local newspaper about how he spent the holidays with his wife and son at the famous and expensive Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in Paris. He spent S$15,500 a head to learn at this posh cooking school.

Principal Ms Bong demonstrating the cooking steps

I sent my son Jaymes to Jia Lei, a private cooking school, when he was 14 during his vacations. He obtained a Diploma in Baking after 1 month of intensive lessons. He then spent several weeks baking in a bakery.

Ms Bong Hiong Hwa, the founder of Jia Lei, has been teaching for more than 2 decades. She graduated from various cooking institutions in countries such as Taiwan, Indonesia and Australia. She teaches Dim Sum Making, Chinese Cooking, Cake Making & Decorations and Pastry & Bread Making.

She conducts daily lessons at her training centre. She has published more than 10 recipe books which are well received.

Traditional Teochew delicacy - Glutinous Rice Cake

I have recommended local and international students to her. Recently, a Filipino friend sent her son to learn cake making here.

Ms Bong was teaching a lady to make a local traditional delicacy when we arrived. This lady intends to set up her own business selling this delicacy. It is a one-day hands-on course.

As I observed the lesson, Ms Bong generously shares her recipe and experience. She tells students what she knows, she does not hide anything from them. Jaymes has picked up lots of tips from her. Even until today, whenever Jaymes asks her for help, she would willingly share.

Ms Bong teaches housewives, school students and office workers at her training centre. Her centre is not posh but her recipes are authentic and you can be assured of good results for your baking or cooking.

Hong Kong student learning to bake a cake

There were two undergrads who were learning cake making. One of them was from Hong Kong. He is spending his holiday with his parents who are working in Singapore and decided to come for a one-day course.

tasting the finished product and giving feedback

Jia Lei Confectionery and Training Centre
Block 1 Rochor Road #03-502 Singapore 180001
Tel: 6294 6018 Fax: 6295 2383


  1. Interesting shapes for the pressed rice cakes. Some times just rice can be so good! Happy WW

  2. Sukhmandir,
    Yes, it is made into the shape of a peach. We named it 'Peach Rice cake'. :)

    It has savoury glutinous rice fillings.

  3. wah, so good lah you, send son to learn to bake. I wish I can bake. LOL

    S15,500 a head? I'll just eat out at a nice restaurant every single week and let others cook for me! :D

  4. lina,
    Send my son to learn baking, so he can bake for my breakfast and desserts. hahaha....

    Yes. S$15,500 per person.

    If you multiply by 3.... it will be S$46,500 for a family of 3.

    Can eat out for how many days and how long? :)

  5. its good that your son wanted to learn to bake. i have been meaning to enroll myself to baking school but unfortunately i don't have time.

    good for you and your son ;) thanks for visiting my WW

  6. That was one of my dreams when I was younger, to go to le cordon bleu.

  7. lupusurvivor,
    My son has interest in cooking and baking. Good for me because I get to eat more delicious meals. :)

  8. Modern Mom,
    That was my dream too.... and now it is my son's dream.

    Well, I'll have to give in to my son's dream. :)

  9. I heard about that guy - his cookery course apparently made an international scandal.

    I did a one-day course similar to your Ms. Bong's in Thailand and it was one of the highlights of my trip, and definitely NOT over the top expensive either lol.

  10. Of course, the next question would be, When are we going to see some pictures of ECL delicious cakes here?

    Keenly waiting ...


  11. Interesting ECL.. I have a friend who self taught and now she is making 3 tier wedding cake!!!

    Awesome or what??!!

  12. $15,500 per head!! X 3 =!!#@%!?#!!!

    Will he and his son actually put to practice what they've learnt?Sorry to sound like a party pooper but I fail to see the relevance of taking that Cordon Blue course 'en famille'.I know people who scrimp and save and cut corners and tighten their already tight belts to send their child to such an important school as a matter of securing a future for the youngster.
    Mrs.Bong's school sounds absolutely impressive.Personally I would be proud to have Mrs.Bong's certificate on my kitchen wall!

  13. Wah you're so willing to spend that much for your son's dream, 世上真的妈妈最好! (Mama's the best in the whole world) :D

  14. Hello, people go France and learn high-crass cooking lor. Their soon kueh contains caviar one leh. :P

  15. wow baking lesson...i must attend to learn how to bake...

  16. I didn't know that there is a Confectionery and Training Centre there. News. Thanks for sharing.

  17. That cake he's working on in the second-last photo looks delish. Great post, ECL! A Cordon Bleu culinary school is probably a dream-come-true for some people, but as you've noticed, local cooking teachers always have a wealth of knowledge to pass on.

  18. My son (now 35) loves to cook, has never learned it but is an excellent cook. It's his hobby ! Nice isn't it, especially for his wife !

  19. Wonder if the fee is expensive for a one day course. I won't mind taking a lesson next time I pop over. I suck at baking cake.

  20. Sometimes I wonder how those 'politician' cook up such figure.


  21. Hi Robin,
    Oh, I didn't know his cookery course became an international scandal! How embarrassing for Singapore!

    I have read about several cooking schools in Thailand, I intend to check them out one day.

  22. Buzzing J,
    I intend to show off. haha...

    I'll post my cooking lesson with Ms Bong up. :)

  23. Thanks for sharing.'I did learn something.

    Btw. Sorry for not visiting and commenting your excellent blog for a while. I can explain.

  24. LadyJava,
    3-tier wedding cake through self-taught? Your friend's hebat! :)

  25. jean,
    S$46,500 for the family of 3 to learn exquisite French cuisine. That's only for 5 weeks.

    If a Singaporean wants to take a Diploma in Culinary Arts in SHATEC Institute, it costs about S$8,000 for 2 years.

    At Ms Bong's school, daily lesson (2 - 3 hours) of 3 desserts or varieties of dish cost from S$35.

    Her bread making course is around S$1,300. More than 40 varieties of bread is taught.

    Many civil servants attend her courses too. She's well-known in Singapore.

  26. JL,
    As long as my son is willing to learn, I'm willing to support. I believe many parents think alike. :)

  27. The Dude,
    I know. Goose liver too.

    But one can also learn how to cook such high-class dishes in Singapore.

    I know several good European chefs in Singapore who are willing to teach my son cook these French dishes.

    I might contact them to conduct such a session if there are enough participants. No need S$15,500 per person!!

  28. vialentino,
    You can take a one-day baking course for about S$35.

  29. oceanskies,
    Ms Bong's school has been around for more than 2 decades. She has lots of students from around the region.

    You can check up her website to learn some yummy desserts or dishes.

  30. Hi Julia,
    A Cordon Bleu culinary school is the dream of many aspiring chefs, even for those who intend to learn for the interest.

    We have several good culinary schools in Singapore. Many of the lecturers in these schools are very experienced chefs and trainers. Quite a number are specially hire from overseas.

    Singaporeans can start learning the basics here. And we should support our local schools.

  31. Gattina,
    Some guys enjoy cooking and they cook well! Definitely good for their girlfriends or wives. :)

  32. Doreen,
    You can take a one-day course (2 - 3 hrs) for around S$40 for cake making. The school teaches many varieties of snacks, cakes, bread, dim sum, dishes etc.

  33. yenjai,
    haha.... that's the fees charged by Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in Paris for 5 weeks of learning French cuisine.

    Our top civil servants are highly paid.

  34. Hi TorAa,
    Nice to see you again.
    It's ok. I understand. :)

  35. How interesting! I wish I was a cook and could use some cooking classes. So great you have your son in baking classes.

  36. This comment has been removed by the author.

  37. Hi ECL! wow your son is interested in cooking and baking; you're so lucky! ;-)

  38. I admire Ms Bong for passing on her expertise to others by teaching what she has learned through the years.

  39. i'm such a loser when it comes to baking. i can't even bake a cake. how downright pathetic:(

  40. Hey ECL, am sure Jaymes was happy to attend the classes yeah? Maybe u can show off his baking skills here one day, wan to see mah! ;)

  41. My connection is behaving today so better drop while I can! ;)

  42. WOW, your son must cook so well. I'd love to also learn but then it's quite expensive.

    Thanks for always dropping by.

  43. I took a course in cooking when i was younger. it was very interesting and taught me a lot. I found you on twitter and started following you.

  44. Oh very nice! I should send Warden there one day :-P

  45. These look so very very yummy ECL...Can you send me some please?

  46. Oh my I know how Marzie connection is always so slow's driving me nuts!

  47. Anyway here right now with Simply Shinade...I'll be back way later tonight with TPV!!:-)

  48. Okei dokie I came back and you're not here. you must be sleeping maybe?:-)))

  49. hi there,

    that's definitely an interesting I know where to go to learn baking.

    Thanks a lot!

  50. I have gone to jia le's website but they do not seem to mention any diploma in baking course (1 month) as mentioned in your article. Are there more than one jia le in Singapore ?