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The final of the cooking competition in Kyrgyzstan was carried out in the new Republican Competency Center for School Feeding

Today, together with the Ministry of Education and Science of the Kyrgyz Republic, the Kyrgyz State Technical University named after I. Razzakov (KSTU) and WFP, we launched the country's first Republican Competencу Center for school feeding (RCC) for the training and retraining of school cooks and kitchen workers.

The training center was created as part of a School Meals Optimization Programme with technical support from SIFI, thanks to which more than 250,000 primary school students across the country receive hot meals.

With the opening of the center, the school feeding system in Kyrgyzstan is reaching a qualitatively new level. It will train and improve professional skills of school cooks, kitchen workers, school headmasters and all those involved in the organization of school meals. Now they have their own "alma mater", within the walls of which students will be able to receive a quality education, gain best practices using the latest technologies and modern approaches to learning. And subsequently provide schoolchildren with healthy balanced hot meals.

“Children should be healthy and well-fed. But they are very fastidious, so besides being satisfying and nutritious, the food should also be tasty,” said SIFI President Vladimir Chernigov. And students will have the opportunity to learn the fine craftsmanship of a professional school chef who meets these criteria. That is why the Republican Competency Center was created on the basis of KSTU. The Technical University has the necessary educational and methodological base for the development of methods and the implementation of training programs for specialists dealing with nutrition in educational institutions.

Training will include not only theory, but also a large amount of practice. To this end, the Center has a lecture hall and production facilities, where students can demonstrate their knowledge on equipment identical to that currently installed in schools.

“WFP and the Ministry of Education and Science are working together to ensure that children in the Kyrgyz Republic lead healthy and active lives,” said Kojiro Nakai, WFP Country Director and Representative in the Kyrgyz Republic. — The Republican Competence Center will allow us to disseminate best practices throughout the country, develop new methods and monitor the implementation and quality of the National School Feeding Programme. We hope that this center will serve as a starting point for the expansion of the nutrition programme in other educational institutions“.

During the opening ceremony of the center, welcoming speeches were also made by the Chairman of the Social Policy Committee of the Jogorku Kenesh of the Kyrgyz Republic Vinera Raimbachayeva, Head of the Foreign Policy Group of the Russian Embassy in the Kyrgyz Republic Artem Romanov, Vice-Rector KSTU Rimma Elemanova, Chief Specialist of the School Education Policy and Book Publishing Department of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Kyrgyz Republic Bakyt Rysbekov.

The best school chef of 2022 was chosen in the new training center

The opening of the Competency Center was marked today by another no less important event — the final of the third competition for the title of the best school cook in Kyrgyzstan, which we, together with WFP and the Ministry of Education and Science of the Kyrgyz Republic, hold annually, starting in 2020. Every year the number of participants is growing, and the number of finalists is also increasing. There were five in the previous two years. In March of this year, 115 chefs from 113 schools across the country entered the competition, and after demonstrating their culinary skills during regional qualifying rounds, seven of them qualified for the final.

The competition was attended by chefs trained under the WFP programme.

The finalists presented dishes developed according to their own recipes, which had to differ not only in taste, but also in the presence of healthy local products in the composition, as well as fit into a limited budget — just like in the preparation of school meals. In addition, in the fight for the title of the best school cook, the finalists competed in preparing a set of drinks and salads and demonstrated their knowledge of the safe and high-quality preparation of school meals by answering questions from the host.

Aigul Akbayeva, a finalist from the Chui region, won the contest, Tynymba Kulmurzayeva from the Naryn region took second place, and Venera Abdyshova from the Issyk-Kul region took third place. Each of them received an individual prize for use at home and a certificate for the purchase of kitchen appliances for their schools. The remaining four finalists Maria Kurbanova (Batken region), Nazigul Sooronova (Jalalabad region), Burmash Zhumaeva (Osh region), Bumaira Dandybaeva (Talas region) received incentive prizes and certificates.

The opening of the training center, the annual competition of cooks, which reveals new talents among school cooks at the republican level, are very important steps towards strengthening the sustainability of the school feeding system in Kyrgyzstan, which certainly make a significant contribution to raising a healthy, strong and prosperous generation!