Culinary Arts Academy Switzerland (CAAS) has been named as one of the world’s top universities, according to the 2021 edition of the QS World University Rankings. In this interview, Max Behesht, CAAS Dean, shares his thoughts on this amazing achievement.
The QS World University Rankings by Subject, released March 3rd by global higher education analysts QS Quacquarelli Symonds, names the world’s best universities for the study of 51 academic disciplines. Culinary Arts Academy Switzerland (CAAS) ranked 8th in 2021 for the study of Hospitality & Leisure Management and continues to be the only culinary school in the ranking. The full rankings can be found here.
How do you explain CAAS’s ranking this year?
We are tremendously proud of this world-class ranking and see it as a celebration of the long-term accomplishments, commitment, and hard work of our students, teams, and globally active alumni across the industry. The latest results truly highlight the tip of the iceberg when you look at the years of sustained effort and dedication to maintaining long-term relationships with our industry and institutional partners, ensuring the highest possible quality in all we do. Moreover, the educational journey and hands-on learning experience we offer our students is always combined with a clear focus on their personal development, entrepreneurial, and leadership skills. This I believe instills the confidence and resilience needed for them to showcase their excellence and empathy in every challenge they face, in particular in challenging times such as what we have been experiencing over the past year.
How did your school continue to ensure that the quality of education was not altered when classes moved online?
While the wellbeing, safety, and health of our students have always been our highest priority, we also quickly mobilized our teams to ensure we had the capacity needed for a smooth and qualitative online learning experience in our theoretical courses. At the same time, we cherish the unique learning experience our practical kitchen sessions led by our world-class chef instructors offer and deemed it necessary to not compromise with anything that might interrupt this experience. As a result, we only resumed our culinary and pastry & chocolate arts programs when it was safely and professionally possible to do so.
What positive changes has COVID-19 brought to the school?
We have witnessed and experienced a remarkable shift in our overall culture in terms of the speed and agility with which the team now can face sudden challenges and issues. At the same time, this has prompted us all to develop new skills and capabilities in everything delivered online, but also in finding innovative and creative ways to engage our students and the industry. A wonderful example besides several new programs the online global cooking competition we hosted last year, Cook’N’Battle, which brought together some of the best in the industry in the jury and received contributions from hundreds of contestants from all over the world.
I also have to mention the unique and wonderful way in which this global pandemic has brought together our team and our students, and has created a new sense of belonging to Culinary Arts Academy Switzerland, César Ritz Colleges Switzerland, and the overall Swiss Education Group community.
What are you the most proud of?
The way our students continue to develop and thrive in making the world a more tasteful and delicious place, and how our teams focus on enhancing what we have to offer across their educational journey. I am also deeply grateful for and proud of all the support and recognition we continuously enjoy from our industry and institutional partners.
What is planned to maintain or surpass this excellence?
A continuous improvement mindset is something we celebrate across our schools and we see it as a condition of survival to always do more and better with excellence and care. No matter the challenges ahead, we aim to help and support our students across our existing and future programs and activities. We want our students to not only succeed within the current industry framework, but also be able to revolutionize, disrupt, and help it evolve wherever possible and needed.
QS Quacquarelli Symonds is the world’s leading provider of services, analytics, and insight to the global higher education sector. The QS World University Rankings portfolio, inaugurated in 2004, has grown to become the world’s most popular source of comparative data about university performance. Their flagship website, https://www.topuniversities.com – the home of their rankings – was viewed 147 million times in 2020, and over 98’000 media clippings pertaining to, or mentioning, QS were published by media outlets across the world in 2020.
The rankings provide an authoritative comparative analysis on the performance of 14’435 individual university programs, taken by students at 1’452 universities which can be found in 86 locations across the world, across 51 academic disciplines and five broad Faculty Areas. More methodological information can be found at https://www.topuniversities.com/about-qs