Left to right: Chef Nick Maaji, Vice President South West, Association of Professional Chefs Nigeria Moronke Azeez, Executive Secretary, Lagos State Technical and Vocational Education Board (LASTVEB) Funmi Osineye, Business Manager, Nestlé Professional, Nestlé Nigeria PL, Chef Eric Mekwuye, Director of Training and Corporate Matters, Association of Professional Chefs Nigeria

By Chris Onuoha

For over eight years, Nestle Nigeria, in collaboration with the Association of professional Chefs Nigeria have consistently provided value adding contributions in the foodservice industry in the country and have also helped to bring wellness education to existing and promising food handlers in the hospital sector of the economy.

The food romance between Nestlé and Professional Chefs Nigeria which started in 2014 is one of Nestlé’s global objectives of helping 50 million children live healthier lives by the year 2030. And the company has been consistent with its objectives making sure that food and nutrition education become a priority for culinary students and aspiring food handlers for a healthy globe.

Just as the world marks the 2022 International Chefs Day, today, October 20, Nestlé Professional celebrated the event at the new Lagos State Culinary Academy, Ikeja, with students from public and private secondary schools across Lagos. The event included training on the importance of healthy eating and lifestyles in line with this year’s International Chefs Day theme: “GROWING A HEALTHY FUTURE.”

The event was commemorated with a fun-filled educational workshop and practical sessions coordinated by the professional chefs who engaged the participants on how to create recipes out of fresh food items including vegetables, fruits and preparing healthy dishes during the cooking sessions. Some of the beneficiaries among the Secondary schools, were participants from the Lagos State Technical College and Chefs from the Lagos State Chapter of the Association of Professional Chefs Nigeria.

Participants were thrilled with awesome and new experiences, just as some of them could not hide their excitement and enthusiasm to opt for life careers as professional chefs and culinary service personnel.  One of them, a Senior Secondary 2 student of Ilupeju Senior Grammar School, Hope Shulamite in a chat with journalists said, “I am happy that I was chosen to be part of this event. I particularly enjoyed creating the recipes and cooking with the chefs and members of my group. I will definitely try out the recipe again at home and in school with my friends during our home economics practical. On behalf of all the students here today, I want to thank the organizers for giving us this wonderful learning opportunity”.

Beaming with smiles for a successful session, the Business Manager, Nestlé Professional, Funmi Osineye, said, “We are pleased and want to thank the Association of Professional Chefs Nigeria for partnering with us through the years. We are also grateful to the administrators of the Lagos State Technical and Vocational Education Board for their collaboration to celebrate Chefs Day 2022, and also delighted to witness the sincere interest in skilling up young people in Lagos State for gainful employment in the hospitality sector.”

Osineye also noted that the wellbeing of children is the fundamental goal for parents and caregivers, adding that it is also an indicator of societal development.

“We are therefore committed to working with stakeholders to enhance the wellbeing of generations to come through nutrition education as well as continuous provision of high-quality nutritious food and beverages. Today’s event is a platform for continuous engagement to encourage children to be creative with food,” Osineye added, while acknowledging the Association of Professional Chefs Nigeria for consistently partnering with Nestlé to achieve the company’s global objective of helping 50 million children live healthier lives by 2030.

Also speaking, Paul Okon, National President, Association of Professional Chefs Nigeria, stated, “It has been a great pleasure engaging, educating, and enlightening children on healthy eating as we believe this is the foundation for a healthy future. We sincerely appreciate the role Nestlé Professional has played over the years, promoting Nigeria’s Food Tourism, supporting capacity development of Chefs, and empowering the next generation of Chefs.”

Moronke Azeez, Executive Secretary, Lagos State Technical and Vocational Education Board (LASTVEB) said, “We are delighted to be working with Nestlé on this laudable initiative which has been very impactful and a great learning exercise for the children. The event is fully aligned with the objective for the recent establishment of the Lagos Culinary Academy aimed at producing professionals for the hospitality and food service industry while equipping students for entrepreneurship and self-employment.”

Meanwhile, October 20th every year has been earmarked to celebrate International Chefs Day. According to Worldchefs journal, the day was created by a renown International Chef, the late Chef Dr. Bill Galagher in 2004. The British born food enthusiast popularly known as ‘father of fine food’ lived his life in South Africa as a chef till his transition in 2016.

Since its creation, professional Chefs has used the day to celebrate the noble profession, and as a duty to transfer the knowledge of culinary skills to the next generation of chefs.

However, focus has been directed on training these young generation by the professionals to ensure a healthy planet for future. This is why it became necessary for them to teach children the importance of food and the impact that food production and consumption has on the environment, forming the 2022 theme, ‘growing a healthy future.’

“This year on International Chefs Day, we will teach children about healthy eating by encouraging them to be creative with food. With the Chef’s input, education and help, children will be able to create recipes out of healthy foods and support Healthy Food for the Future,” quoted the journal.

 It also stated that participation has been tremendous as Chefs from around the globe host their very own ‘Growing A Healthy Future’ workshop in their region, targeting children and young adults to benefit from the experience of learning to prepare food and eat something new.

 Worldchefs has also partnered with Nestlé Professional in recent times to teach children around the globe about the importance of healthy eating.

“In 2021 we were all still limited towards having workshops due to COVID-19. Videos made by chefs were shared on social media, which became a big hit. It allowed us to have 648 chefs reach over 93,000 children.  Social media hits by November 2021 were at 183,409,” stated Worldchefs.

Disclaimer

Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.