Butchers in training!

Meat is serious business and these chefs are learning all about  handling it the right way!

Meat is serious business and these chefs are learning all about handling it the right way!

An introductory culinary course aimed at “butchery basics” is presently underway here at the Cotton Bay Village in Cas En Bas. The activity is sponsored by the Ministry of Education & Culture, the Ministry of Agriculture, Land, Fisheries and Forestry, the EU through Sequa and Fanshawe College.

The program which started last week Monday March 7, 2011 will run until Friday March 18 and is being conducted by the Caribbean Institute of International Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts (CIIHMC), Saint Lucia and its Canadian partner, Fanshawe College.  The course is being taught by the Culinary Instructor of Fanshawe Chef Patrick Hersey, executive Chef of Ladera Resort Chef Orlando and chair of CIIHMC Mrs. Sameera Bhalla.

The CIIHMC chair informed that this two week intensive training is taking place in the kitchen of the fine dining restaurant, Piano, Piano, at Cotton Bay Village, Cap Estate and is providing training for 24 participants. “We had an overwhelming response of over 145 applications, but following this applicants were screened on the 4th of March to narrow this number down,” she says.

Selected candidates include butchers from various communities contacted through the Agricultural Officers and hoteliers and contacted through the Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association (SLHTA). Among the participants also are two agricultural officers who are undergoing this skill training. As a part of the program, each participant was given a butcher kit, a meat guide, text book and a full uniform.

Though the course is a combination of theory and practical, more emphasis is being placed on hands-on practical training, involving the various cuts of meats, proper handling and storage and other aspects. The curriculum encompasses the Caribbean Vocational Qualifications (CVQs), Fanshawe College’s (Canada) Course Information Sheets, and also the Food Safety and Sanitation course from American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI).

Of the facilitators Chef Patrick Hersey is a successful master butcher and a winner of many medals in various culinary competitions whilst Chef Orlando of Jamaican/Barbadian parentage graduated from culinary school in England. He uses local produce to create some of the most unique and tasty dishes at the ward winning Ladera Resort where he has served many famous names including Bill Gates.

Training in the field of hospitality for many years in various countries including Saint Lucia, Canada, Turks and Caicos, Egypt, India, Switzerland, and Scotland, Mrs Sameera Bhalla believes in bringing out the best in every one by providing hands-on practical approach to learning. “To be able to learn from one another, by being respectful of one another and maintaining professionalism at all times, only then, I believe that a training program can be effective and successful,” she says.

The Introductory Butchery course focuses on developing and polishing the participants’ butchery skills and provides a foundation for understanding the various challenges and responsibilities involved in butchery, including health and safety practices. The course ends this Friday March 18, 2011, with a certificate presentation ceremony.

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