Sigatoka Andhra Sangam College with with the Minister for Health Rosy Akbar. Photo: DEPTFO
By LUKE NACEI
Sigatoka Andhra Sangam College has won the School’s Chef Challenge 2017’.
The event which was hosted by the Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort last Friday and Saturday which saw 16 schools participating at the annual event.
The initiative is an Outrigger Kitchen Team community project that has been running for the past four years, giving school students from Years 9-13 an opportunity to take part and showcase their talents as aspiring chefs which is very strongly backed by the Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort.
Outrigger Fiji Executive Chef and the School’s Chef Challenge originator, Shailesh Naidu who also happen to be the Past President for Fiji Chefs Association says that as a kitchen team at Outrigger they have always wanted to do something that reflects their profession and we appreciate Outrigger Fiji executives for giving us this opportunity.
“This is our commitment to associate with the community and give something back to our people. Hence I have put together this program to showcase an element of tourism industry,” he said.
“I thank the students for showing interest in cooking. I think it’s a very important skill in life every one need a feed and I know students competing have different goals in life, I’m not asking all to become chefs but it’s one of those things that you need to know a bit of it.
He said a lot of kids these days go for further studies to universities or aboard are cooking their own meals, at least with these basic skills the parents will be rest assured the kids would be eating well.
“These days it’s a unique touch to cook for friends and families and you don’t have to be a qualified chef to do that, it’s more of your interest and passion. I am sure there’s lot of Hubbies and Dads who take keen interest in cooking.”
Mr Naidu added: “Gone are the days that it’s only a mum or wife thing to do, said Naidu.”
In 2012, Mr Naidu worked with only one school Sigatoka Andhra and organized this competition. The following year, he was approached to involve other schools so they had eight schools from the province.
“Last year we had 15 schools, 4 from Nadi and 2 from Lautoka joining in as well. This year we got the entire schools of Nadroga /Navosa province and schools from Nadi, Lautoka, Ba and possibly schools from the Southern side joining us this year, total of 16 schools,” he said.
Mr Naidu says there has been great interest in the initiative and it speaks for itself – increasing from one school to 16 fifteen schools in just 5 years with around 180 competitors.
“We used to run this event at one of the schools home economics room but with the popularity we brought it to Outrigger and set up the resort Ball Room into a flash air con kitchen for the kids on cook up a storm,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Minister for Health Rosy Akbar was chief quest at the culmination of the event. She gave away $2000 to the winners.
Minister Akbar thanked the students for their participation and urged them to be ambassadors of healthy living while highlighting to them the increasing numbers of non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
Egg Dish: Vashist Muni College
Salada Creation: Cuvu College
Chicken Dish: Sigatoka Andrha Sangam College
Seafood Dish: Sigatoka Andhra Sangam College
Vegetarian Dish: Sigatoka Methodist College
Cake decoration: Cuvu College
School of the Year: Sigatoka Andhra College.