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Young Island Resort chefs enhance their baking and pastry making skills

Young Island Resort chefs enhance their baking and pastry making skills
From left: General Manager of the Young Island Resort BIanca Porter, Breakfast Chef Enos Roberts, Range Chef Collin James, Range Chef Calvert Jones, Coordinator Jennifer Lakhan-D’Souza, Trainee Chef Shanece Ince and Executive Chef Christopher John

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Ten chefs attached to the Young Island Resort are now in an even better position to delight the taste buds of those who decide to dine at the resort.

Last week, the chefs were involved in a five-day training programme aimed at improving their baking and pastry making skills. The initiative had as facilitator Jennifer Lakhan-D’Souza, a professor/co-ordinator at the Centre for Hospitality and Culinary Arts at the Toronto based George Brown College.

In an interview with SEARCHLIGHT on Friday, Lakhan-D’Souza said it was an amazing experience working with the Young Island chefs as they all have a great attitude and are willing to learn. She noted also that they were very skilled and knowledgeable.

“I felt like my work here was just to contribute to what they are already doing because they are already doing amazing things here and maybe to just empower,” Lakhan-D’Souza said while noting that she modernized some of what they are doing.

She noted also that she is encouraging the chefs to make some of the pastries they don’t normally bake.

Commenting on the training, Executive Chef Christopher John said that they were encouraged to use locally available fruit and other ingredients to make their pastries.

“It was really interesting. I got a lot of new ideas and I want to see what I can implement on the menu,” said John who noted that they created a few new pastries and a signature cake.

“We have a fresh coconut cream pie, passionfruit roll and introduced a signature Young Island cake, a layer of chocolate, sponge, coconut cream and topped with homemade marshmallow,” revealed John who added that there is also pancetta, a pudding that is new to him.

Explaining how the training was made possible, the resort’s general manager Bianca Porter said she was thankful for the grant funding awarded to the resort through the Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA) and their Direct Assistant Grant initiative.

She said it was aimed at pastry and dessert making and was paid for through funds from the European Union (EU) through CEDA.

The reimbursement grant funding facility is specifically designed to provide financial assistance to legally registered firms/individuals/Business Support Organizations (BSOs) with the potential to export their products and services. The reimbursement facility means that no monies are advanced to beneficiaries and they will have to incur the full cost of their projects and be reimbursed on completion of their projects.

Young Island was one of two hotels in St Vincent and the Grenadines that was awarded one of the grants.

“One of the terms of conditions is that you have six months to complete all the deliverables and there were certain guidelines including equipment modernization, renewable energy, training, marketing…

“And you basically submitted a grant proposal and you were selected based on that,” explained Porter.

She said that the training has served to further improve the culinary skills of her chefs and they will be using the various ingredients like mangoes, lemon, banana, passionfruit and many other local fruits and ingredients to make authentic desserts.

“They have all been featured on our dinner menus and will continue to be featured,” said Porter of the new delicacies.

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