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Australian HC launches professional cookery by VTA towards inclusive skills development in tourism

On the invitation of the Vocational Training Centre (VTA),the High Commissioner of Australia, Paul Stephens, launched a professional cookery project in the presence of delegates, government officials, members of the Chef Guild of Lanka, VTA students, staff, and visitors at the VTA Centre, in Kandy, recently.

A press release said: The launch was designed to mark the commencement of Industry validated Professional Cookery training, now available at key Government training centres, and to support Supreme Chef – Season 3 which is a trademarked initiation of Skills for Inclusive Growth programme (S4IG), with the support of Australian Aid. The reality show experience, in the form of an organised challenge, brings under the spotlight Sri Lanka’s tourism industry, through food experience and culinary art challenges.

The development of professional cooking training acknowledges that these skills require dedication and passion to acquire and master. This is an occupation that can generate many rewards for those that complete the training requirements, enabling higher income employment, opportunities to travel, and culinary journeys that can promote the diversity and uniqueness of Sri Lankan cuisine. The three key objectives of Season 3 include the promotion of the occupation of a Chef as an aspiring profession, supporting tourism recovery and promotion by showcasing untapped tourism destinations, and the promotion of food security by highlighting local foods and ingredients to support improved nutrition and import replacement that supports inclusive economic growth.

During a time that innovative initiatives need to align itself with strategic priorities of the nation, including minimising dependence on food, commodity and ingredient imports, the focus of the launch paid special emphasis on local sourcing and creativity, using ingredients from within Sri Lanka. It was noted that VTA and S4IG had invested many years in building networks with multiple stakeholders of the public and private sector to bring to light this national initiative. Additionally, The Chefs Guild of Lanka was credited for providing masterclasses, judges, and marshals for the training and competition to give the project more industry legitimacy and to ensure industry standards are maintained. This reality show experience aligns with the Presidential declaration of 2021-2030 as the Decade of Skills Development in Sri Lanka. The show is delivered on a national scale and aired on national TV stations Rupavahini and Nethra TV.

High Commissioner Stephens said that Season 1 and 2 of Supreme Chef were limited to four districts and were open to anyone who has the passion in cooking. “Owing to the success of Season 1 and 2, we’ve designed and delivered a national programme that is supported by Training Agencies and Industry and includes an international quality curriculum developed with the leadership and support of the Chefs Guild of Lanka. This is yet another flagship initiative of Australian Aid that supports quality skills development that meets industry needs and provides employment opportunities in Sri Lanka”.

Chulangani Perera, Director General, VTA, said that television, broadcast, and publicity partners have accepted the reality show format as successful and are interested in the brand, trademark, and rights of the show in the future.

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