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Jan 29, 2004

CET students show off culinary skills

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With the tourism industry achieving double digit growth and more Belizeans than ever dining out, logic dictates that there is a shortage of trained personnel in the restaurant trade. Today News 5′s Patrick Jones got a first hand look at some future restaurateurs.

Anthony Sanchez, Hospitality Mgmt. Instructor, C.E.T.

“Number one, be hospitable, smile, and have fun. And then of course you know what we all need to work on. I’m sure that you all are prepared…”

Patrick Jones, Reporting

With some last minute coaching from their teacher, the twenty students in the hospitality management course at Centre For Employment Training welcomed their guests to today’s demonstration.

Anthony Sanchez

“Today’s presentation is based solely on sales techniques. The students, over the number of months that they are here, have the opportunity to now display the techniques that they have acquired.”

Everything, from the time the client steps into the room, until their dessert plate is picked up is under scrutiny. Hospitality Management Instructor Anthony Sanchez says preparation for this day started months ago.

Anthony Sanchez

“When it comes to presentation of their meals, if you want the customer to buy then that meal must be presented well. And of course, as you have seen just a while ago, for instance in the special the chef needs to really know what he is doing. And to be honest, what a person sees first of all in their meal is the way it is presented.”

But the presentation must be appealing, not only visually, but to the palate as well. And that’s where Head Chef Francisco Cano comes in. Today’s special is beef kabob, which Cano says took under an hour to put together.

Francisco Cano, Head Chef

“First we prepare all the vegetables, cut them out the kabob size. First we boil the carrots, glaze them with honey and applesauce. Then same, baked the potato about half an hour then glaze it again with apple sauce and honey again then you just join them together. That will be like a salad. Then you have boil corn, corn on the cob. That was boiled about thirty minutes. Then the beef, that was grilled earlier, about forty-five minutes.”

And if any of the guests were counting calories, Cano says he served them a nutritious meal.

Francisco Cano

“First you have all your greens, all the vegetable which your body needs also. Also, if you are a vegetarian you could also get pure grilled vegetables. Also, we add in meats for people who eat meat. You have corn also, mostly vegetables are on the dish, so it’s definitely a well balanced meal.”

But Cano was not working alone today, as he had help from nineteen of his colleagues, all of whom were separated into different teams an each assigned a specific duty.

Anthony Sanchez

“They are actually broken up in the different areas of the hospitality industry where they actually get a full sense of what each employee or what each person is supposed to do. And they need to carry out those responsibility very seriously.”

And how seriously did they carry out those responsibilities? From the satisfied look on the faces of the guests, apparently good enough.

Denfield Christian

“The presentation today was very good on a student level, but I think with time they will definitely come through in the hospitality industry. Hence more exposure, a little more training; I think they will be more refined in the future to come.”

Pauline Budna

“I think it was nice and if I were to grade them on a scale of one to nine, I would give them like eight and a half or nine. You could have seen where they tried their best and it was almost excellent.”

Mike Panton

“I see improvement over the last time I have been here, but there has been improvement but there is still room for more improvement. But as I see it, I am encouraged by what I am seeing from the last time I was here it was at a level, now it’s at a level a bit higher. And it comes with practice and sufficient exposure and given time they will be able to come up with the standard that would make us well represented on an international level.”

A prospect which was not lost on Director of Finance for the Belize Tourism Board, Evan Tillett.

Evan Tillett, Dir. of Finance and Admin., B.T.B.

“I think it was an excellent presentation. I see this as an opportunity for young Belizeans to get into the fastest growing industry in Belize, and that’s the tourism industry.”

Anthony Sanchez

“Today’s presentation deals mainly on the techniques, and a showmanship is very important.”

That showmanship, at least today, had the trainees on edge. But by the end of the demonstration, the relaxed smiles told us they had cleared the first hurdle on their way to a promising career in the hospitality industry.

Evan Tillett

“I see a lot of potential here today. They are young and they are talented and they are willing to learn. So from that point of view, I would definitely employ them.”

Patrick Jones for News 5.

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