Al Ain Academy which forms part of the Aldar Academies held its Young Chef Award in collaboration with Danat Hotel & Resorts and Jimi Mall Al Ain, to celebrate and support World Home Economics Day on the March 21, 2019. The school prides itself in educating students on how to prepare meals from primary ingredients that are sustainable. Students learn how to cook in a fantastic facility, appropriately design to cater to primary and secondary students. They also learn about the science of nutrition and health education. Head of Food, Nutrition and Health Education Teacher Denise Buttigieg Fiteni who founded and organised the competition that has been running for three years now stated that the study of Home Economics is becoming more important. Courage and imagination are needed in developing and implementing such a diverse curriculum. Home Economics education has many opportunities to develop a visionary approach to education for future-oriented sustainable development, improving the quality of life at individual, family, societal and global levels. Careful detailed planning in schools across UAE is important.
The two day event included finalists from both primary and secondary cohort of students to present and exchange knowledge about traditional dishes and local food products from their districts in AI Ain and then compete proposing their innovative reinterpretation of traditional recipes, judged by Danat chefs. Students from Year 3 to Year 12 presented their finest dishes, secret recipes and traditional plates to two guest judges from the Danat Hotel & Resorts restaurant. The award promoted innovations on traditional cuisine from UAE, highlighted sustainable food cultures and created future chef ambassadors for within the AI Ain Districts and local food products. Apart from the dexterity and practical skills developed in this competition, the students also enhanced their language skills by describing food and ingredients, mathematics by measuring ingredients and calculating cost of dishes as well as sensory analysis. Denise says, "I am so proud of this year-on-year initiative that highlights the richness and diversity of Home Economics, at the same time as valuing students for their role of creating innovative recipes that value ecology and sustainability." She adds, "Cooking is based on a life skill that needs to be taught in every school in AI Ain, every child needs to master how to prepare food using simple ingredients."
Executive Chef Tarek Mouriess and Sous Chef Kayode Oladunni Adebisi chose the winners and guided students through the highs and lows of their experience, tasting and critiquing every single dish. In the Secondary Young Chef Category, the Gold award was given to Salma AL Dhaheri. In Year 7 first place went to Lily Smart, in Year 8 first place was awarded to Fatema AI Mamari, in Year 9 Bakhit Ali Al Ketbi took the first place and in Year 12 the first place winner was Pawinee Kueamee. In the Primary Young Chef Category the Gold Award was given to Noor Salsa and Natalie Girgis as a group, Year 3 first place went to Destiny Thor, Year 4 first place was awarded to Jeandre Smith, Year 5 first place as a group went to Victor Fremont and Alex Helzer and Year 6 first place as a group was awarded to Ahmed AI Tenji and Mohammed AL Dhaheri.
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