Cooking Contest: A Way to Monitor and Follow up Students’ Competency

 In Le Tonlé, Stung Treng, Weekly update from the field

Since the beginning of the school year a few months a go, approximately 50 food courses have been provided to Tonlé’s trainees in Stung Treng. Purchasing, food preparation, art of presentation and table set up are included in the cooking lesson. After 10 food courses have been provided, every student is required to select a dish and prepare it as a means to monitor their progress.

Another further step to challenge the students is to have a food contest between them. The 12 students in Stung Treng are divided into 4 groups who are responsible for  preparing a set menu each. Every group has a limited budget of R 15,000and 2 hours time frame to make 3 different courses– 1 starter, 1 main course and 1 dessert– for two people. The results of the 4 groups are:

Group A1: Spring roll, fried fish with pickled garlic and ginger, and roll banana with rice paper.

Group A2: Cucumber and carrot salad, fried pork with potato and ginger, and fresh fruit.

Group B1: Cucumber and carrot salad, fried fish with lime and parsley, and rolled bananas wrapped in rice paper and pineapple.

Group B2: Cucumber and carrot salad, fried ginger with chicken, and fruit salad.

The two groups showing the most outstanding results were group A1 and B2.

The evaluation looks not only into the group outcomes but also the contribution of individuals in the team. Three major evaluation indicators are preparation, taste and presentation. Feedback to each group is made after they complete the assignment in order to help them understand what should be improved in their cooking class. Through this exercise, the trainer is able to identify training gaps which need to be improved while trainees themselves are able to learn how to prepare food in a better way. With this in-depth training in place the trainees will be ready to handle anything by the time they graduate in September 2014.

By Say Bunly, Operation Manager, Le Tonle Tourism Training Center

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