Culinary futures for graduates

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Graduates for the 2016 Grass Roots Program after receiving their graduation certificates plus uniforms and chefs equipment from Southern Hospitality.

Graduates for the 2016 Grass Roots Program after receiving their graduation certificates plus uniforms and chefs equipment from Southern Hospitality. (Photo: Tony Callaghan)

On Saturday evening 12 young men and women graduated from the Samoan Culinary Association Grass Roots Cookery Training (G.R.C.T.) programme.  

G.R.C.T., a recent initiative by the Samoa Culinary Association, places young unemployed Samoan men and women into restaurant kitchens in Samoa’s hospitality industry teaching them to be work ready. The trainees have spent the past 12 weeks working in local kitchens in Savaii and Apia.  

Joe Lam with his wife Amanda, parent and VIP sponsors

Joe Lam with his wife Amanda, parent and VIP sponsors

During this time they learned kitchen and cookery skills as well as food safety, food costing and first aid skills. Other highlights were pastry training at A.P.T.C.’s training kitchen and also a mentoring programme teaching the trainees positive life and work skills.

Most importantly each of the trainees has been offered full-time work in the kitchens where they were training.  

President of Samoa Culinary Association Joe Lam officially opens this years graduation ceremony.

President of Samoa Culinary Association Joe Lam officially opens this years graduation ceremony.

At their graduation they were presented with full chef’s uniforms as well as chef knives to help them in their new careers.  

These graduation presents were kindly donated by Southern Hospitality from New Zealand. 

Va'aiga Tuigamala speaks offering the graduation blessing.

Va'aiga Tuigamala speaks offering the graduation blessing.

President of Samoa Culinary Association Joe Lam officially opens this years graduation ceremony.
President of Samoa Culinary Association Joe Lam officially opens this years graduation ceremony.
Va'aiga Tuigamala speaks offering the graduation blessing.
Va'aiga Tuigamala speaks offering the graduation blessing.
Daniella Ah Long from APTC introduction speech for past SCA grass Roots graduates.
Daniella Ah Long from APTC introduction speech for past SCA grass Roots graduates.
Keynote speaker UNDP Resident Representative Lizbeth Cullity.
Keynote speaker UNDP Resident Representative Lizbeth Cullity.
Joe Lam with his wife Amanda, parent and VIP sponsors
Joe Lam with his wife Amanda, parent and VIP sponsors

Island Rock, A.N.Z. Bank and Pacific Ezy Money Transfer are three further major sponsors who have supported this programme.

Chef Joe Lam, owner of Scalinis and President of the Samoan Culinary Association and Chef Michael Hardy, Vice President of Samoan Culinary Association, Executive Chef, Tanoa Tusitala are grateful to the many businesses, hotels, restaurants and resorts who have supported the trainees.  Chef Hardy said, “Without these supporters of the Grass Roots programme who gave their time, expertise, products and mentoring free to the trainees, this programme would not exist.  With their dedication and belief in the programme 12 young men and women are now employed full-time and have an exciting career in front of them.”

Daniella Ah Long from APTC introduction speech for past SCA grass Roots graduates.

Daniella Ah Long from APTC introduction speech for past SCA grass Roots graduates.

Chef Lam said, “These trainees are the future of the Samoan Culinary industry and they fill a great need as they are trained kitchen staff.  They can now help and assist in their kitchens and if they persist in their work, then they can undertake further study through A.P.T.C. and become fully qualified chefs.”

The trainees celebrated their successes with family and friends by sharing with them a graduation ceremony followed by a magnificent buffet donated by Tanoa Tusitala.

Many supporters of the programme including diplomatic staff, local business owners and other dignitaries, celebrated with the trainees.  

Inga Tuigamala opened the celebration with a prayer and Liz Cullity from the U.N.D.P. was the guest speaker.

Keynote speaker UNDP Resident Representative Lizbeth Cullity.

Keynote speaker UNDP Resident Representative Lizbeth Cullity.

The Samoan Culinary Association would like to thank all the restaurants that have worked alongside the trainees: Amanaki Restaurant, Scalinis Restaurant, Tanoa Tusitala Hotel, Izzys Café, Home Café, Giordano’s Pizza and Roko’s Restaurant 

Applications for the next intake on the Grass Roots Cookery Training programme opens at the end of the year and interested young adults can get an application form by emailing to samoanculinaryassociation@outlook.com.

Businesses and individuals who are interested in supporting this programme can contact Joe or Michael directly or email S.C.A.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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