Five culinary students from the Tourism Apprenticeship Training Programme hosted a luncheon for 16 specially invited guests to demonstrate their culinary skills and showcase their talents.
The Castelli Bistro Italiano luncheon, which was held in the hospitality training room at the University College of the Cayman Islands, featured an Italian-themed menu which the students prepped under the supervision of food and beverage teacher Tanique Dunbar-Baker. The participating students included Ahmed Myles, Kimani Davis, Carl Lewis, Rochelle Conolly–Rose and Monique Connolly.
Dalton Watler, deputy chief officer in the Ministry of Tourism, delivered welcome remarks, saying, “the fact that we have students from the TATP programme adequately skilled to participate in this kind of culinary showcase highlights that important strides are being made with this programme – and that it is fulfilling its mission of developing technical and vocational expertise in our youth.
“This is commendable because for years the Cayman Islands has been challenged by the question of how to attract young Caymanians into the tourism industry, and retain them to the point where viable and rewarding careers could be established,” Mr. Watler added.
Founded in 2007, the programme has continued to attract increasing numbers of students on an annual basis, rising from 14 in 2008 to 85 in 2013. The programme is overseen by the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, in collaboration with the private sector and local colleges UCCI and the International College of the Cayman Islands.
Ahmed Myles, 17, began the programme last September and expressed his delight at having the opportunity to participate in the meal preparation.
“This experience was really good for me,” he said. “I love to cook and I am learning how to perfect a variety of techniques through the TATP.” Agreeing with her fellow student, 17-year-old Monique Connolly said, “In addition to honing my skills, I am also learning about foods from other places and broadening my knowledge of other cultures.”