Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 03, 2018 (SKNIS): The Ministry of Tourism has stepped forward to partner with the Department of Youth Empowerment to give support to the next generation of chefs in St. Kitts and Nevis.Allister Williams, Director of the Tourism Events Unit at the Ministry, said that partnering with the Department of Youth Empowerment for its annual High School Chefs’ competition which forms part of Youth Month, was a “great fit” for the Ministry of Tourism, as it works with and empowers young people.

For instance, the Ministry of Tourism already collaborates with the Ministry of Education, through its Tourism Awareness Programme.  The awareness programme is aimed at ensuring that young persons learn about the various aspects of tourism to solidify the longevity of the industry.

“We feel that it is always good to work with young people. They are the future of the tourism industry and the culinary industry as we know it, and so what better time for us to get involved than at this stage when they are just at the learning curve?” said Mr. Williams.

Verchilds High School emerged the winner of the Department of Youth’s 11th annual High School Chefs’ competition. Saddlers Secondary School chefs were awarded the first-runner up position, while the Washington Archibald High School chefs came second runner-up. Other participating schools were the Basseterre High, the Cayon High and the Charles E. Mills Secondary.

The Ministry of Tourism provided gifts to all participants, teachers and winners. The winning school also received a brand-new stove and food processor.

Mr. Williams added that out of this experience it is hoped that the students would want to pursue a career in culinary arts, while referencing the popular Restaurant Week initiative.

“At the same time, in the immediate future, we hope that they would look towards perhaps entering our Restaurant Week Challenge. We are hoping that they would see some wisdom in thinking about the challenge next year,” he stated.

Restaurant Week, which was introduced in July 2015, is a celebration of St. Kitts and Nevis’ local cuisine. It offers visitors and nationals alike an opportunity to experience special menus at discounted prices across a range of restaurants and eateries. It is an annual event organized by the Ministry of Tourism in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture, the Hotel and Tourism Association and other partners.

This years’ High School Chefs’ competition marked the first time the Ministry of Tourism and the Department of Youth Empowerment partnered on this initiative.