Culinary diplomacy programme opens new doors for students

Daniel Lim

Sayyidina Ali Secondary School (SMSA) Deputy Principal (Administration) Hajah Mazizan binti Haji Mohammad yesterday while thanking the United States (US) Embassy in Brunei Darussalam for organising the cooking workshop and discussion on culinary careers in the Belait District, said it will help open new doors and opportunities for students as they seek to further explore their future careers.

Held at SMSA’s multi-purpose hall, the programme was attended by 120 Years 9 and 10 students from SMSA, Perdana Wazir Secondary School, Pengiran Jaya Negara Pengiran Haji Abu Bakar Secondary School, Pengiran Anak Puteri Hajah Rashidah Sa’adatul Bolkiah Secondary School and Kuala Belait Sixth Form Centre.

Following the success of the programme held in September, the Embassy of the United States of America continued its culinary diplomacy programme in the Belait District.

The first Culinary Institute of America graduate Aziz Zaidi accompanied by US Embassy Public Affairs Officer Jeff Barrus and officers from the US Embassy conducted the workshop and the discussion.

The delegation from the US Embassy was welcomed by Hajah Mazizan.

Barrus highlighted the range of educational programmes offered in the field of culinary arts in the US, and spoke on how the different roles of culinary field can play in promoting economic development.

US Embassy in Brunei Darussalam Public Affairs Officer Jeff Barrus and SMSA Deputy Principal (Administration) Hajah Mazizan binti Haji Mohammad during the interactive cooking demonstration. PHOTOS: DANIEL LIM
Culinary Institute of America graduate Aziz Zaidi shares pointers with attendees

He said the culinary diplomacy programme showcases the expertise and knowledge of world-class chefs and highlights opportunities available for the students.

“This programme shines a spotlight on a field of study that is often overlooked,” said Barrus.
He said culinary studies can lead to a wealth of opportunities, from the kitchen to the boardroom of international food service companies.

“This will be a growing field – particularly in Brunei as its economy grows – and there’s no better place for a young person to start this career than in the world renowned culinary studies programmes offered in the US,” he said.

The workshop continued as Zaidi introduced himself and the world of Culinary Art to the students; where he shared his university and internship experiences in the US.

Students and teachers participated in an interactive mini cooking workshop on the preparation of nutritious and easy to prepare meals, which involved them making a favourite dish of the US South-west, a Taco Bowl; accompanied by a peach tea drink served on the side; both which also serves an added benefit of showcasing the necessity of balanced and nutritious food compliments in the Culinary Art for the students.

A question-and-answer session was also held, where Zaidi encouraged students to follow their dreams, even if they have to take unconventional paths.