While Chef Nina Compton continues to cook up a storm internationally, close to three dozen local secondary school students got their culinary skills on at a Healthy and Sustainable Recipe Contest.
That event was held at the St. Joseph Convent last month but the students were recognized and rewarded for their efforts on Wednesday.
The 29 participants, who hailed from six secondary schools, teachers, sponsors and organizers, all gathered at the Civil Service Association (CSA) Conference Centre to bring the curtains down on the endeavour which has been lauded by all involved as a job well done.
Eleven overall winners got the opportunity to have their recipes published in a local recipe book that displays their culinary creativity. The recipe book, entitled “Healthy & Sustainable Recipe Book”, also features Japanese and other professional recipes.
The main organizer of the contest was the local JICA/JOCV Office.
Akina Yamaguchi and Momoe Kanada – two of the coordinators of the competition — were commended by Estellita Rene, assistant education officer in the Ministry of Education, for putting forward the “innovative idea”.
Yamaguchi, who is attached to the Castries Comprehensive Secondary School in the Food and Nutrition Department, expressed her heartfelt appreciation to the sponsors.
“We were worried that there would be no interest for local things among the youth, but you have shown us that not only do our youngsters like the local food, but they are also adapting to the way the traditional dishes are presented,” she said.
She further encouraged the students to continue exploring their culinary skills, not just for innovation but to promote good health, a sustainable economy, and a healthy environment.
Among the more notable aspects of the cooking competition was the fact that the dishes produced were created almost entirely from local produce. The students were the geniuses behind these “mouthwatering and healthy” recipes with the guidance of their respective food and nutrition teachers.
The competition’s head judge, Lisa Hunt-Mitchell, expressed amazement at the end products derived from using local food items, such as plantains, green bananas and breadfruit. The students were judged on creativity and fat, sugar and salt content.
According to Yamazaki Saiko, coordinator of JICA/JOCV Saint Lucia, the aim of the competition was to not only to introduce healthy eating to the schools, but help reduce the carbon footprint by using local foods.
Of the 29 participants, 11 emerged as overall winners and received prizes from the sponsors of the competition, Bank of Saint Lucia (BOSL), Windjammer Landing and Consolidated Foods Ltd. (CFL), while the remaining participants received gifts from sponsors Viking Traders and the JICA/JOCV Office.
The names of the winning students are: Solita Sammy Mangal (Vide Bouteille Secondary), Daniella Samson (Corinth Secondary), Twyla St. Ange (Vide Bouteille Secondary), Miniah Joseph (Vide Bouteille Secondary), Claudine Kayla Dentzic (Seventh Day Adventist Academy), Shaday Small (Vide Bouteille), Kimma Willie (Anse- Ger),Shirlvel Matthew (Vieux Fort Technical), Jean Claude Baptiste (Anse Ger Secondary), Maleeka Jade Melius (Castries Comprehensive Secondary) and Adrianna Edward (Vieux Fort Technical).