GIS:-The Cooking Camp was Part of Efforts to Build Awareness on the Value of the Mango Plant.
Students from secondary schools around the island were afforded the opportunity to refine their culinary skills this summer, during a mango biodiversity food preparation training camp.
Nicole LaForce-Haynes, Environmental Education Officer at the Department of Forestry, said the weeklong camp coached students in the preparation of dishes, using mango as the main ingredient.
“We had a weeklong camp at the Castries Comprehensive Secondary School where two students from each secondary school in the north were chosen. They formed groups, and were mentored by the top chefs in the business like Chef Robbie, and Chef Rene. The students then had to prepare an appetizer, a main course, and a desert where mango was featured in all of those dishes,” she said.
A similar workshop was subsequently held for students in the south of the island, after which the winners from the northern group competed against the winners in the southern group for a grand finale.
The students were also able to observe professional chefs at work.
“Part of the weeklong camp was to visit the kitchens of the various hotels,” Ms. Haynes explained. “The students were given a tour of the kitchen, they were allowed to cook, and they were allowed to watch the actual chefs in action. For many students it was somewhat of a rude awakening because they didn’t realize that it entailed such hard work, while others reveled in the experience. But they all had a wonderful time cooking.”
Following the training camp, the host hotels expressed their willingness to provide the students with internships for further exposure.
The competition is part of a region wide OECS-led Mango Biodiversity Project that seeks to build climate resilience and food security using mangoes.