The Centro de Capacitación de Jóvenes y Adultos located in Aragua, Venezuela is offering a Mini Chef Program. It has the attention of people in the industry for being well developed, organized and for offering not only variety of activities but a solid educational curriculum.
I had the opportunity of interviewing the Center Director, Prof. Msc. Rosa Alba D´Elia and it is so evident in her answers her concern for making children and teenagers aware about good eating habits and nutrition. The team at Centro de Capacitación de Jóvenes y Adultos have a social responsibility to serving their community and a commitment to their knowledge and experience with people interested in the field of culinary.
MA: What is the main objective of the course?
Prof. R.A.: Our main objective is to teach the importance of good eating habits, nutrition, kitchen safety and hygiene in a fun recreational way.
MA: When does the program take place?
Prof. R.A.: This is the first time we offer the program and it is taking place during complete month of August. We are looking forward to offering it every summer and winter holiday season.
MA: Who may join the program?
Prof. R.A.: Participants between the ages of 5 and 15 years old are welcome to join the program. No previous cooking skills are necessary.
M.A.: What is the cost of the program and what does it include?
Prof. R.A.: The program has a weekly cost of USD $90 and includes: class from 8am to 1pm from Monday through Friday, uniform, one meal per day, ingredients for the preparation of all recipes, folder with printed material, recipe book, class video, photos and certificate of participation.
MA: From your personal perspective, what was your motivation to put together this program?
Prof. R.A.: A balanced and well founded nutrition is the vase for children to grow healthy both physically and mentally. Good eating habits at an early age guarantee a better life and as professional in the culinary field I feel it is my responsibility to contribute to share the great importance of this subject.
MA: So far, what goals have you achieved?
Prof. R.A.: The participation in different processes involved in the preparation of meals have allowed participants to value the work required in the elaboration of foods; become aware of so many jobs involved in the process; they have actively participated in the selection of recipes to prepare on a daily basis and have interacted cheerfully in class. They can distinguish the different types of foods and categorize them between healthy or not.
MA: Does culture play a role in the program?
Prof. R.A.: Yes, it is important that participants see the country’s gastronomy as an important factor of their own identity and learn about the typical dishes, fruits and vegetables grown, what differentiates our gastronomy to others of different countries. This has brought them closer to international cuisines as they have enjoyed learning about Italian Cuisine through the process of making pasta; while learning about Middle Eastern they learned how to make Shawarma and Tahine… every culture opens their eyes to a new culinary adventure and the best part is that it is their own creation.
MA: What is the teaching methodology?
Prof. R.A.: During each class participants first learn about the ingredients that will be used, the hygiene to consider when using each of them, nutrition facts, new vocabulary, methods of preparation and how can they be measured or weighed. Following this, they are presented with the complete menu. The third part of the class is about the technique including cooking periods, techniques and necessary equipment.
Lastly depending on the technique to be approached, a recipe is selected and every participant gets to participate.
The time sitting at the table and sharing a meal is very important, so we go through table manners and etiquette.
MA: Besides you, who else teaches the course?
Prof. R.A.: Chef Javier Villavicencio, who also teaches in the adults program and serves as Coordinator of the Gastronomy Area of our Center. Chef Harlynt González, who teaches Light Meals, Gourmet Cuisine and cocktails in the adults’ program is part of the team as well. We have the assistance of first semester culinary students, young boys and years between the ages of 15 and 17 years old.
MA: For people interested in learning more about this program, how can you be contacted?
For more information about this program and a larger gallery of photographs, please CLICK HERE.