Level 3 NVQ Professional Cookery students from South West College Dungannon recently went on a study trip to China, where they spent one week at Hubei Normal University a second week in Wuhan City and Beijing. Way out West has been looking at some of their highlights and at how travelling can be such as huge part of training in the for the hospitality business.
For the first week they participated in Mandarin classes each day and took part in other cultural classes for example traditional dance, calligraphy, Paper Cutting, Music and Martial Arts.
The group also went to a variety of traditional Chinese restaurants were they got to try many different regional dishes of China.
To complete their stay in Huangshi they were given a demonstration in the kitchen of the Lamborghini Hotel where they stayed for five nights on how to prepare and cook a traditional Sweet and Sour Mandarin Fish (picture attached).
In the second week they spent two nights Wuhan City were they visited various attractions and sites such as the Bells (Bianzhong) of Marquis Yi of Zeng and street markets.
Then they took the 4-hour journey on the bullet train to Beijing, where they saw some of China’s most recognisable tourist attractions. The Great Wall and The Temple of Heaven alongside various other city sites, including some shopping/bargaining in the famous Pearl market. During the five days there they visited, The Forbidden city, Tiananmen Square. From the moment of arriving in China and throughout out the entire stay the hospitality of the hosts was exceptional especially Alex and her team of student volunteers.
“Can’t believe I got to travel to China and climb one of the wonders of the world. It was breath taking, literally I couldn’t breath after climbing it!” – Shea Bell
“A magical experience, it was a unique and amazing discovery of china and its culture. Falling in love with China and its people is inevitable” – Elise Ducourtieux
“I was left speechless but now I’m a story teller” – Kathleen Hughes
Neven Maguire has previously told Way out West how travelling can be an important part of a chefs training. ‘Training as a chef is crucial. The fact that students can come full time or part time means that they can make their own decisions on certain things, but I always say to young chefs: get your qualifications first, then, when you’ve finished, you can travel the world and do whatever feels right, then hopefully come back and work.’
‘Personally, I think it’s important to travel, to open your eyes. I travel constantly with my job, so I’m learning all the time. That’s the beauty about this industry, you never stop learning, it’s always changing and it’s always evolving.
Travel was a major feature of the talk delivered to South West College students by Paul Da-Costa-Greaves, of Koppert Cress. Paul talked about Koppert Crest, which amongst other things has been used to help create food for aeroplanes, as the powerful tastes their products produce help battle the fact that our taste buds are numbed at high altitude. Finishing his talk, Paul encouraged students to think outside of the box. He said that he hoped he had provided the students with a re-introduction to nature, and one which they would benefit from in their future lives in the culinary world. ‘Enjoy your journey, approach food with an open mind, and as chefs and consumers, your world will be a bigger place.’