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SALCC Students Emphasize Healthy Diet In Culinary Competition

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Sixteen young aspiring chefs from Sir Arthur Lewis Community College (SALCC) recently competed in a culinary competition focused on health-conscious diet.

The competition was held on Thursday, May 16, 2024, and showcased the rich talents of the emerging culinary students whose friendly rivalry impressed not only the judges, but also themselves.

During the competition which focused on meal planning and recipe development, the students were required to design a complete menu incorporating breakfast, snack, main course, and a non-alcoholic beverage using the MyPlate Plan. The meals were tailored for people managing diabetes and hypertension, and emphasized local ingredients to promote sustainability and support local farmers.

The MyPlate Plan, which was launched in 2011, shows your food group targets, basically what and how much to eat within your calorie allowance. Your food plan is personalized and based on age, sex, height, weight, and physical activity level.

The students were separated into three groups and spent about two hours preparing their meals at the on-campus Le Forte Restaurant, following which they presented their dishes to a panel of four judges, all of whom praised the students’ efforts.

Mr. Daniel Lee, Chief of the Taiwan Technical Mission (TTM) in Saint Lucia, cited the challenges and burden of diabetes and hypertension that Saint Lucia has been facing in recent years.

Lee recalled TaiwanICDF and Ministry of Health initiating the “Capacity Building Project for the Prevention and Control in Metabolic Chronic Diseases” in March 2022, its main objective being to strengthen the capability of the control and prevention in diabetes and hypertension. This aim, he said, was to not only control the disease’s progress and complications, but also focus on preventing the disease for high-risk groups in the community.

“Today, all the participants have understood the concept of diabetes and hypertension awareness and combined those concepts into the practice of meal preparation and recipe development,” Lee said. “Today is not the ending of the event, as we expect you will disseminate the health concepts and implementation of the meal preparation to your family and friends. If only we can take action early enough, we can prevent those diseases.”

Lee added: “Health is a human right, and health needs collective work among the public and private sectors. We believe only joint efforts can make progress in safeguarding the healthy lives of the people in Saint Lucia. Leave no one behind is our goal, and I hope all the participants here spread the health concepts to everyone you love to make life better for everyone.”

Dr. Shana Cyr-Philbert, Senior Medical Officer for Non-Communicable Diseases in the Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs, said non-communicable diseases (NCDs) have been responsible for the death of as many as 80% of Saint Lucians over the past decade. Early and appropriate intervention, she said, is essential.

“Today, we are targeting the younger generation, and I believe that as we target the younger generation, we can make the changes that we want to see because our youth are the guardians of our future,” said Dr. Cyr-Philbert.

In congratulating the students, Dr. Madgerie Jameson-Charles, Principal of SALCC, said their dedication to creating delicious, nutritious and health-conscious meals was impressive. She said the students aptly demonstrated that healthy eating can not only be enjoyable, but also accessible, which sends a crucial message to citizens.

“Today, we witnessed a stupendous event, where the culinary and creativity met the critical goal of health promotion,” said Dr. Jameson-Charles. “The focus on enhancing the prevention and control of metabolic chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension has made this competition not only exciting, but also profoundly meaningful.”

Dr. Jameson-Charles expressed gratitude to TaiwanICDF, Mr. John Lin, Project Manager at the Taiwan Technical Mission (TTM), the Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs, and SALCC staff and other supporters for facilitating the competition that served to build capacity among the young aspiring chefs. She underscored that finding nutritional ways that prevent and control metabolic chronic diseases is essential.

All of the students received certificates of participation, and each category winner was announced, while special prizes were awarded to the best group.

SOURCE: Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) in Saint Lucia

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