PRESS RELEASE – The Castries Comprehensive Secondary School was a buzz last Friday for the anticipated visit of Saint Lucia’s Culinary Ambassador Chef Nina Compton-Miller.
The opportunity to call on her Alma Mater as part of her itinerary was one of the first requests she made of the Saint Lucia Tourist Board when she accepted their invitation to participate in the culinary component of the festival.
It was a very elated Compton-Miller who alighted from the bus virtually falling into the arms of her former School Principal, the current Principal Marva Daniel, and the teacher whom she credits for her success in the culinary field, Priscilla Phillip Khodra.
On hand to receive her was a full contingent of officials representing the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Tourism, current and former administrators of the school where Nina Compton-Miller underwent her secondary school education, and received her first lesson in cookery. She was accompanied on the visit by her husband.
A wall of red and white flanked the corridors she would walk through along with her husband Larry and the welcoming party. Students of the Sir Ira Simmons Secondary School were also given the opportunity to attend the one-hour ceremony planned in her honour.
Among the various addresses was one by the representative of the Ministry of Tourism Samantha Charles, who both attended the CCSS and was a student of Food & Nutrition, together with Chef Compton-Miller. She noted that the visit by the Top Torque carried a double significance.
“…One being the numerous possibilities for Saint Lucia to be recognized on the global scene as evidenced by Chef Nina’s performance on Top Chef. There are numerous myths associated to the tourism industry and these can only be dispelled when there is an understanding of the importance of the tourism industry to Saint Lucia and how critical it is to ensure its sustainability. The other important thing is that through Chef Nina’s journey you can indeed believe that the sky is the limit,” Charles said.
In her remarks to the students, Chef Nina Compton-Miller’s aim was to entreat them to highly regard the school experience and give it priority over the transient distractions of youth because later on they will appreciate that they were investing in the building blocks of their future. She spoke about the usefulness of a balance in their participation in school life, citing her own involvement in school sports. Chef Nina credited her success to first F&N tutor, Priscilla Khodra.
“The first thing she showed me how to make was guava cheese. It may seem simple, but it started with that lesson and she made me who I am today. I really want you guys to pay attention in class because it is the most important thing. It is not easy, but stay in school, read. We have to make it what it is. Every one of you can make a difference.”
For their part, the students documented their occasion with a number of creative performances among them Maya Angelou’s Phenomenal Woman by the CCSS Students of Elocution.