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Dushanbe to host Best School Cook 2022 republican competition final

On March 16, the Social and Industrial Foodservice Institute (SIFI), jointly with the UN World Food Programme (WFP), will hold the final part of the Best School Cook 2022 competition to discover the most masterful school cook in Tajikistan. The event will take place at Dushanbe N6 secondary school.

The first such contest in Tajikistan provides an excellent opportunity to inspire school cooks to improve their knowledge and skills in cooking high-quality school meals, demonstrating mastery in creating and serving various delicious and healthy dishes.

The Best School Cook competition was launched in 2022 in more than 1900 schools participating in the UN WFP School Feeding Programme that covered 52 towns and districts nationwide.

Selection of participants

Seventy-six school cooks from all over the country submitted applications to participate in the competition. After the elimination round, 45 cooks representing five regions (Bokhtar and Kulyab areas, DRS, Sughd region, and GBAO) made it to the second stage.

The jury included representatives of the Ministry of Health and Social Protection of Population of the Republic of Tajikistan and the Institute of Nutrition, the Ministry of Education and Science, delegates of the UN WFP in Tajikistan and SIFI, as well as the senior lecturer at the Lyceum of Service and Tourism, trainer Zulfia Fayzieva.

In autumn, the organizers held an on-site selection round in each of the five regions to choose the finalists.

In each region, the event was held at the school canteen. The participants had to cook two servings of soup, a hot dish, and a salad from the School Meals Recipe Book of Tajikistan.

To assess the participants’ performance, the jury watched the cooking process, paying particular attention to adherence to all sanitation norms and kitchen policies and the capability of fulfilling the cooking instructions. Afterward, they tasted the ready-to-eat meals.

After completing all group sessions, the jury selected five participants who gained the highest points: Mahmadradzhab Sohibnazarov (Bokhtar area), Adolat Salimova (Kulyab area), Saylon Suhrobova (GBAO), Maftuna Ummatova (Sughd region), and Toliyahton Khushvaktova (DRS).

Now the finalists will compete for the title of the best school cook in Tajikistan. They will perform three tasks: cook their dish that can be included in the school menu, prepare a salad and beverage within a limited time, and answer questions regarding school kitchen procedures.

The Best School Cook competition is part of the School Feeding Programme, the biggest WFP project in Tajikistan, which is implemented in partnership with SIFI. The project enables WFP to provide around 500,000 primary schoolchildren with daily hot meals in 1,900 schools across the country.

As well as attaching greater importance to the profession of school cook, the competition aims at instilling healthy eating habits in the younger generation by offering them diverse and healthy school nutrition that meets all quality and safety standards.