Students from the St. Joseph’s Convent, St. Andrew will be travelling to Barbados to represent Grenada in the regional Dutch Lady Milk Culinary Competition in August as they have emerged the winners of the 2017 competition.
SJC Grenville dethroned the 2016 winner, Hillsborough Secondary School (HSS) from the sister isle which had to settle for second place in the competition.
St. Andrew Anglican Secondary School (SAASS) finished in third spot and was followed by Boca Secondary School (BSS) in fourth, Grenada Boys Secondary School (GBSS) in 5th while Westerhall Secondary School (WHS) occupied the 6th position.
The prize giving ceremony for the competition was held at the National Stadium last Friday.
The competition provides the opportunity for students to use their creative skills and foster good relationships among themselves.
Against this backdrop, Manager of Hubbard’s Agency Department, Margaret Roberts said this is imperative for the future of the competitors.
“We also see the culinary competition as a foundation in developing future entrepreneurs in the culinary arts and to boost the tourism industry by having better chefs”, she said.
“We are pleased to be able to make an investment in the lives of these students…the practical application, the knowledge and the experience gained by the students in this culinary competition”, she added.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Aaron Francois who was present made a plea for more skill based learning in schools.
Francois noted that the demand for food in the world is expected to increase anywhere between 59 to 98 percent by 2050.
“…There will continually be a demand for food and so the skills that you’re developing now will be needed and will always be needed once we have people and once there is a need for them to eat.
“Given this rising demand, coupled with global crisis, high youth unemployment, our education system must deliver a more relevant education to our students and education that is more competency based and that will allow our graduates to match the emerging employment opportunities in order to sustain their livelihood.
According to Francis, a study that was conducted revealed that many of the world’s governments are making a mistake by not providing sufficient competency based training to their population that will help alleviate high unemployment among young people.
Managing Director of Jonas Browne & Hubbard, Allan Bierzynski suggested that there should be more participating schools involved in the competition.
Curriculum Development Officer in the Ministry of Education, Deborah Gilchrist emphasised the benefits that can derive from the competition.
She said, “It was good because we were forced to have students work more in line with the demands of the industry and basically the demands of international standards and if we were to provide training for our students for it to make sense it has to be in line with the needs of our industries and therefore for international standards.
“… Once we work closely with our industry then it makes sense because we’re training persons and we want when they’re trained, they must be employed after and I am glad to see that we’re heading the route for competence”, she remarked.
The Judges’ report was done by Chief Judge and Chef at Spice Island Beach Resort, Aaron Johnson who said he is convinced that based on the performances of all the schools, Grenada will take the gold in the regional competition.
The competition, he said was judged on technical skills, taste, cleanliness, creative use of ingredients and presentation.
According to Johnson, the cleanliness aspect was particularly impressive for him.
“Food safety is something you don’t play with in this industry and I was very impressed that these students as young as they are saw the need and did what the industry demands and practiced food safety”, he said.
“I feel proud because this industry that I love, this industry I have been a part of for so many years when I get old and I have to retire, I can feel secure that this industry will be in safe hands”, he added.
Johnson went on: “Any one of you and I mean that, any one of you that competed in this competition for the last two weeks I would hire you because I see tremendous potential in every single one of you. Over the past three years, we have been going to Barbados and we have been representing Grenada well…this year we are coming back with the gold”.
Along with the challenge trophy and certificates of participation, the winning school, SJC Grenville walked away with a brand new refrigerator.
The school placing second, Hillsborough Secondary received a Stove and third place winner, SAASS received a toaster oven.