Fiji is taking serious steps to benchmark itself as an ideal tourist destination known for its good food by hosting the grand finale of the ‘School’s Chef Challenge 2015’ at the Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort this Friday, 24 July.
The initiative is an Outrigger Kitchen Team community project that has been running for the past three years, giving high school students from Years 9-13 the opportunity to take part and showcase their talents as aspiring chefs which is very strongly backed by the Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort.
12 schools, predominantly from the Nadroga/Navosa province have confirmed participation, however organisers are working to include schools from Nadi to take the project to the next level, with the hope of gradually including schools from other parts of the country.
Outrigger Fiji Executive Chef and Fiji Chef’s Association President, Mr Shailesh Naidu, who founded the initiative with his team at the Outrigger says, “As a culinary team at the Outrigger, the team have always wanted to do something which reflects our passion for food, and the profession which we’ve taken to newer heights. We appreciate that the management of Outrigger supports these initiatives.”
“The students should be applauded for showing a keen interest in the art of cooking at such an early age. I think it’s a very basic, yet pivotal skill in life because everyone needs a feed. Students competing probably have different goals in life, and we’re not expecting them all to become chefs, but it’s one of those things that you need to know a bit of it,” Mr Naidu says.
Tourism Fiji Executive Chairman, Mr Truman Bradley also shared his appreciation for the event, saying, “Fiji has been steadily developing its diverse culinary offerings within the tourism industry, and this creative platform is commendable as it goes beyond to include potential chefs, getting them interested as young adults.”
“Having a more talented and skilled workforce is very crucial for Fiji, in having an edge when it comes to differentiating ourselves from other similar destinations. This initiative allows us to identify budding talent, whom the industry can then groom for relevant key roles.”
The initiative will have five ‘categories’ or ‘classes’ include preparing an egg dish, chicken dish, vegetarian dish, seafood dish, and cake decoration of events and include individual and team events.
Rewards for participating students, include gold, silver and bronze medals, trophies, certificates, cash and other lucrative prizes. The major award will be for the ‘Best Culinary School of the Year’ and winners will receive kitchen equipment and utensils for their school.
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