He said there had been encouraging response from locals to be trained as cooks under a ministry programme.
“We hope to reduce the number of cooks from India in stages, especially in Indian restaurants, once the first batch of locally-trained chefs graduate,” he told reporters after visiting the CQ Tec College here yesterday.
The college received its first batch of 25 trainees for an intensive, six-month programme in June.
Dr Subramaniam said the fees for the trainees were borne by the ministry through the Human Resources Development Fund, adding that they would also receive monthly allowances.
“Once they graduate, they will be able to open their own restaurants,” he said, adding that the future was promising for Indian youths.
He said the idea was mooted by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who wanted the ministry to train local chefs and not depend on cooks from India.
Another training programme undertaken by the ministry was hair-styling, to replace barbers from India.
“We want the two sectors (restaurants and hair salons/barber shops) to rely less on foreign workers and employ locally-trained people,” he said. The Star.