Dream Big, Work Hard
Story by Janna Khoo | Photos courtesy of Denise Xu
Armed with a Diploma in Food & Beverage Business, 22-year-old NYP alumnus Denise Xu is now conquering the F&B world. Having graduated from NYP in 2016, Denise is currently one of the three service captains at Joel Robuchon in Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore’s only 3 Michelin star restaurant.
Fresh out of school, Denise bore a hunger to learn more. With an eager and hopeful heart, she applied to the Joel Robuchon restaurant, in the hopes of landing her first job at the renowned establishment. When asked why she chose to apply for a job there, Denise said: “He's got to be doing something right to earn himself so many stars. So I figured I should learn from the best of the best. When I can work with that, I can work with anything else.”
From polishing plates to restocking the coffee station and setting-up the bread station, she does it all. When asked how this all began, Denise shared that she first discovered her love for interacting with others when she worked part-time at Starbucks after her ‘O’ levels. Paired with her interest in baking, she chose to pursue her studies, and career, in F&B.
While at NYP, Denise was a member of the sprints kayak team, she had to juggle schoolwork, co-curricular activities and a part-time job.
"It was an honest struggle, I even had to give up my part time job. We had to rush for training immediately after class on some days and occasionally even before class,” she shared.
“Whatever time we had during commute or after weekend trainings would be spent rushing assignments and studying for the next test and exam. I often fell asleep during lectures too.”
She even represented the school in a World Skills competition, adding to the mix of responsibilities she had at the time. Although the competition did not go well, Denise said: “That period taught me a great deal.” She added that should would not change a thing.
“I believe those choices have helped shape who I am now,” she said.
With regard to the transition from polytechnic to work life, Denise shared: “It has been pretty smooth because there are certain things that we have learnt in school and don’t have to spend time learning from scratch.”
While this impressive alumnus has no plans for further studies at the moment, she aims to become a restaurant manager before moving on to something bigger. She lives by a Mandarin saying: “Don’t give up easily or you’d be letting yourself down”.