While Christian denominations encourage various programmes to develop their youths, the Vanuatu Mission (of the Adventist Church) is working with the Vanuatu Government to promote local foods for families by improving the abilities of its young people not only to cook ‘lokal kaikai’ but also how to present it to attract both the eye as well as the appetite.
Daily Post observed how a team of six secondary school students from the six Provinces showed their skills hoping to please the judges of Portoriki Church at Number Two, by having one of them personally climb up a breadfruit tree to harvest six fresh bread fruits which they roasted over an open fire then peeled them and pounded them into a pulp to prepare their ‘nalot’.
To prove their experience to cook, they chose not to use the gas stove but did everything over hot charcoal.
The joy they showed by throwing themselves into the preparation was complete as they finished the process by preparing a full tray of the local delicacy mixed with strong coconut milk.
They also included boiled kumala in coconut milk and boiled island cabbage.
In addition, they also harvested a sizable ripe soursop or ‘korosal’ for mothers to wish them a ‘Happy Mother’s Day’.
Youth Ambassador Jefferson Ben explained, “Scientists have confirmed that this fruit is medically important for mothers and young ladies as it has healing elements against cancer, so we feel it is the right ingredient to present to mothers on Mother’s Day.
“We have definitely enjoyed preparing our recipe because it is also an opportunity for us to sharpen our cooking skills of local foods to campaign against non-communicable diseases”.
Ben called on all young people to learn from their parents how to prepare healthy cooking by using local agricultural ingredients.
Apart from a basket of kumala which they bought at the market, every other ingredient including island cabbage, korosal, coconut, passion fruit and lemon fruits were all harvested from home plots at Ohlen.
He challenged parents to think seriously about creating home plots to reduce their spending at the market.
Asked how they fared at the competition, Ben was honest and said in their excitement not to be late for the competition, they were the first to arrive at Portoriki but they forgot the most important requirement which was to “look presentable” and they lost vital marks.
Even if they did not win the Vt5,000 cash prize, it was the group’s belief that they presented a recipe which none of the other groups had even dreamed of.
He said other groups presented delicious normal cuisine with cakes and the presenters looked “presentable” and they won.
The contest was organised for the boys to win their badge to become Youth Ambassadors of the church.