DAVAO City-based Institute of International Culinary and Hospitality Entrepreneurship (ICHEf) has received a halal certification from Prime Group of Companies LLC, a quality and compliance solutions provider based in Dubai.
“I am very happy that ICHEf will be the first halal-certified culinary school (in the Philippines),” Mary Jane Alvero-Almahdi, group chief executive of the Prime Group of Companies, which has an office in the country as well as in Japan and India.
The hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) compliance and halal certification were formally given to ICHEf on Monday.
“Once you say halal-certified, meaning all the processes including the storage of the raw materials, the purchasing of the raw materials or ingredients, the utensils, the facilities, the management system, the documentation system, training, and others have complied with the requirements of the standards,” she explained.
Nicole Niña Bian-Ledesma, chief operating officer and vice president of the Academic Affairs Institute of the Joji Ilagan International Schools that owns ICHEf, said they plan to open the facility as a kind of cloud kitchen — also referred to as a virtual kitchen that provides only delivery service — to local entrepreneurs who want to put up a halal business.
“To the best of my knowledge it will be the first in Mindanao to be a halal cloud kitchen wherein those entrepreneurs who want to proceed with a halal business but don’t have an infrastructure or halal kitchen, they can come here to us,” she said during the certificate awarding ceremony.
“The purpose is providing an opportunity for entrepreneurs to have a chance, and if their ideas work later on, they can put up their own kitchen or restaurant,” she said.
ICHEf will also be offering a three-month halal culinary program.
Universal Islamic Center President Marilou W. Ampuan, an entrepreneur and halal advocate, lauded ICHEf’s certification as a means of joining the global halal economy.
“This is a remarkable milestone for halal in the academe sector in Davao City,” she said.
Davao City in southern Philippines is home to people with diverse ethnicities, including Muslims. Its tourism sector has been positioning itself as a halal-friendly destination for both local and foreign travelers. — Maya M. Padillo