REPORT OF THE MRCG COOKING COMPETITION
The cooking competition was organized by the wellbeing committee in collaboration with MRCG at LSHTM’S nutrition Theme, National Nutrition Agency (NaNa) and the Gambia tourism and hospitality institute (GTHI) under the theme Sustainable and healthy eating in a changing planet for this year’s commemoration of World Nutrition Day Saturday 28th may 2022. The selection was limited to only the MRCG staff. Ten employees of MRCG sent in their recipes, however only four recipes were selected based on the fact that their menus were in line with the theme sustainable and healthy eating in a changing planet. The cooking competition was successfully implemented as all contestants were able to outline the theme through their individual menus and the event was live streamed.
The event commenced with the introduction of the judges and Naffie Savage of Gambia Tourism and Hospitality Institute was among the judges. The cooking competition lasted for two hours. It has been an unprecedented cookery competition in the history of Gambia Tourism and Hospitality Institute and it was the first time for the institute to partner with MRCG, NaNa (National Nutrition Agency) to raise awareness on healthy eating, good health and wellbeing for a sustainable and healthy planet. The event was very memorable and it was well attended by the general public, students and staff of Gambia Tourism and hospitality and staff of MRCG.
Speaking on the Theme: Sustainability and healthy eating in a changing planet, the head of department for Research and consultancy of Gambia
Tourism and Hospitality institute Mr. Peter Mendy spoke extensively on the importance of good nutrition and health. Here is an extract:
Chefs are very instrumental advocates for a sustainable and healthy future as they facilitate
the cultural changes required to eat responsibly. From advocating local, seasonal and organic sourcing as well as sustainable techniques, chefs inspire more responsible consumption behaviors. In order words chefs are seen as agents of change towards healthy eating and lifestyle.
Gambia Tourism and hospitality institute is well committed to providing highly train professionals in food preparation and cooking which forms a central role in our training mandates. The institute under the able leadership of Daouda Niang has initiated a research and consultancy department
with the ultimate aim of promoting and developing local healthy recipes through research and publications.
The international nutrition day could not come at a better time. Our society is greatly in need of awareness and education in terms of the food we consume and the culinary competition could go a long way in transforming our diet, thereby promoting healthy eating.
From our homes to our businesses, there are unprecedented amount of food waste which has a giant effect on the environment. Significant amount of energy goes into the production of food ( electricity, water, gas) that ends up in the trash. Therefore minimizing food waste is important for the planet, for our health and for future generations: hence the theme sustainability and healthy eating.
Culinary competition is also in line with my department strategic objective and as such, we commend MRCG for the laudable initiative. Sustainable food consumption primary promotes plant base recipes/dishes and therefore help mitigate the phenomenal prevalence of cardio vascular diseases, diabetes, obesity, hypertension etc.
The objective of the cookery completion therefore is to promote and ensuring the additions of plant based menus in our daily diet, whole grains, low fat as well as maintaining an active lifestyle.
The Gambia Tourism and Hospitality Institute I have to emphasized is blessed with a young and dynamic leader with great interest on sustainability, health and wellness, a food critique and an advocates for healthy eating and as a result welcome this initiative and collaboration with an organization with a high repute like yours.
In terms of food sourcing we ensure all our raw materials are locally sourced and from verified suppliers. We have also have a small backyard garden for the production of vegetables and other green leaves. We have a waste management lab and as evidence around our premises we have colour coded waste bins to sort and manage our food waste as well as other waste materials.
Further to our normal training program, GTHI is also rolling out a short course program in professional cookery, the program has attracted a lot of people already from other works of life such as , bankers etc. the program runs for 3 months every weekend and is also helping in terms of education of improving our diet and not just relying on rice and bread as our staple.
In addition to our commitment to sustainability and healthy eating, we are now partnering with Farm Fresh through weekly publication of healthy food recipes in the standard newspaper and online. The goal is to promote healthy eating through the slogan’ grow what you eat’ and eat what you grow.
To conclude, healthy eating should not be complicated or meant for a specific group of people only. Healthy eating basically means providing healthy and nutritious meals without compromising the taste and flavor. Add extra fruits and vegetables in your diet and eat moderately, variety and nutritious meals for the good of our planet and subsequently our health.
After two hours of cooking competition, the contestants presented their dishes, and then the judges tasted it and gave the scores in accordance with the theme of this year world nutrition day.
The winner (most nutritious) was given sum of D10, 000 and garden vegetable seeds plus a certificate.
1st Runner up (All Rounder) was given D5000 and garden vegetables seeds plus a certificate.
2nd Runner up (tastiest) was given sum of D3000 and garden vegetable seeds plus a certificate.
3rd Runner up (most presentable) was given sum of D2000 and garden vegetable seeds plus a certificate.
HoD Research and Consultancy
Gambia Tourism and Hospitality Institute