The International Chefs Day, inspired by WORLDCHEFS 2013 theme: “Show Your Culinary Ability”: Young Chefs Cooking for 500 Boys at Youth Correction Centre in Myanmar
Not so long time ago co-founder of Myanmar s Young Chefs Club, Chef Dominic Mang came up with the idea to meet with the newly formed Young Chefs of Myanmar within MCA once or twice monthly, collect some funds and use our profession to support others less advantaged people. A perfect occasion was at our door step – “Show your culinary Ability”, as WORLDCHEFS President Gissur Gudmundsson gave the theme for the 2013 International Chefs Day.
“Hnit Aung San – There where the Birds Sing “, is a Boys correction centre, established in 1930 by a Belgium Christian Priest. As a Boys vocational training centre it hosts 500 young boys which got cross with the law, street kids but also many of whom were just at the wrong place on the wrong time. This place we had very long time in mind to support more with their Chef Mrs Aye Aye ( a MCA member since 2008 ) –to improve the working conditions , furnish with working tables, build a solid roof and step by step better cooking facilities. Mid 2013 it was Chef Willment Leong (WORLDCHEFS chairman for Chefs Without Borders) who had a Myanmar Minister meeting and the idea to support boys and girls in the centre and train “Inmates to be Chefs“, giving them the tools and ease their return to society.
Chefs Dominic’s idea was not only to cook for the boys but also to raise their interest to become a Chef in future, a professional where one usually is never hungry and always can get a job. Around forty young boys joined us as Helper Cooks to 12 young Chef from different Restaurants and Hotels in Yangon.
Planning the menu:
- Usually they eat with the right hand, no spoons and forks at the centre
- That would have been a problem with Pasta we bought chopsticks and plastic spoons
- Different religions means different ingredients – many eat NO Pork
- 64 were Vegetarians
- Still we were in prison, so how to handle knifes
ü 40 kg San Remo Pasta – sponsored
ü 2 Tin Tomato Pasta – 40 $ US
ü 50 kg Onion – 60 $ US
ü 25 kg Pork – 110 $ US
ü 16 kg Garlic – 20 $ US
ü 50 kg Tomatoes – 57 $ US
ü 1,6 kg mixed Nuts – 2,5 $ US
ü 1,6 kg Chilli – 2,5 $ US
ü 16 kg Salt – 1,5 $ US
ü 14 No Cabbage – 7 $ US
ü 1 bot Fish sauce – 1,5 $ US
ü 16 Ltr Cooking Oil – 16 $ US
ü Bdl Parsley 1,5 – $ US
TOTAL BUDGET: 300 $ US
- Hot & Spicy Soup
- Myanmar Cabbage Salad
- Pasta Bolognese ( pork / non pork for other religions and 64 boys were vegetarian )
- Crispy Pork Skin , Steamed Rice
The real rural area field style Kitchen was the biggest challenge for the “modern young chefs “ of Yangon, how to heat with wood, how early to start , when finally the big wok is hot for the meat and onions. Despite the challenge, the Chefs teamed up in three groups and 42 boys from the centre attached as helper cooks for the different section, target was 17:00 pm Dinner for 500 boys and you better do not keep them waiting when hungry at a correction centre.
Chefs Dominic, Thurein and Nyi Nyi Win with one more chef of La Maison 20 took on the Meat and Pasta Sauces, later as well the crispy pork and the soup. Chef Win Ko, Khin Hnin Aung and Pasta expert of Cafe Di Bar Chef Myo Sandar Htun took on the salad and the pasta cooking a special duty without strainer and on wooden fire. Mrs Khet Khet and Chefs Aug Din & Naing Oo assisted .
Right in time at 17:00 pm was pick up time and all dinner tables for 500 boys at Hnit Aung San were arranged, the Young Chefs of Myanmar served the “ First Ever Pasta” to the 500 boys and all liked it very much,– the pasta was just enough for every one – so we had another 400 normal portion of rice cooked and with the vegi and Bolognese sauces that was happily eaten. At the end the Young Chefs joined the boys for a plate – the first meal after 12 hours good working with a lot of fun, team work and a day sure never to forget for both the boys at the centre as well for the young chefs of Myanmar.
Looking forward to have this as a kick start for Wold Chefs Without Borders Chairman, Chef Willment’s idea to establish a regular cooking training for young prisoner and later on to sell BBQ bites on the streets to sell BBQ all in light of providing them life tools after they leave the Centre.
Thanks to Le Plantuer, La Maison 20, Lillis Bar, Restaurants as well, Laguna Lodge & Park Royal Hotel Yangon to support the young chefs at this valuable event. Thanks to San Remo Pasta & Premium Food Service for sponsorship as well to Shwe Yin Mar Coffee for all breakfast parcel and Coffee arrangements to the Young Chefs of Myanmar.
With Thanks to all which made this day possible, specially, the Young Chefs of Myanmar.
Oliver E Soe Thet
President Myanmar Chefs Association
Global Board World Chefs Without Borders
WORLDCHEFS member , Yangon 26.10.2013