The Rotary Club of Sto. Domingo, represented by IPP Tawie Luna and TGP Johnny So, presented a socially valuable technical-vocational service program for indigents of the Culinary Education Foundation, Inc. (CEF) to the District Rotary Club of D3780. The CEF is a non-stock non-profit organization that aims to improve the lives of the underserved through culinary education with emphasis on environmentalism. Led by its president, Mrs. Susana P. Guerrero, CCP, the CEF has helped communities protect the environment through its various projects.

One of these is the Cooking for Life program, an education and training program on basic commercial cooking competencies anchored on sound green chefmanship skills, knowledge and values. The program aims to provide aspiring, qualified and deserving individuals scholarship grants in culinary arts. This year, the program targets at least 200 qualified, deserving and aspiring individuals in 8 batches of classes.

Designed to enhance the competencies, knowledge, skills and attitudes of any kitchen staff on food preparation, including cleaning kitchen areas; cooking hot and cold meals; and preparing, portioning and plating food for guests in any hospitality institution or establishment, completers of this program become qualified to take the TESDA National Certificate Level II in Commercial Cooking.

Members of the 1st Batch of Rotary-sponsored scholars.
Photo taken on October 7, 2017 during the Thanksgiving Luncheon Buffet.

The CEF assists all completers of the CLP to take the TESDA assessment to earn for themselves work qualifications through NC II Commercial Cooking certification.

Over the span of 2 years, beginning 2014 to 2016, a total of 513 individuals benefitted from the CLP. The Culinary Education Foundation (CEF) ran a total of 12 classes, each ranging from 25 to 50 students per class.

Two batches of CLP classes delivered in Ilocos Sur through collaboration with its local government then led by Governor Ericson Singson benefitted at least 100 individuals. Majority of the completers now hold jobs in the hospitality establishments located in the Ilocos Sur and in Metro Manila.

The viability of the CLP lies on the support of the Center for Culinary Arts, Manila which encourages its faculty to volunteer their services to educate aspiring culinarians and chefs, as well as allowing the program to use its world-class facilities. The Cravings Group (TCG) Foodservice establishments likewise support the program by providing the program participants the venue to practice their earned culinary skills through practicum. The TESDA requires at least 100 hours of practicum for the trade certification.

Deserving participants to the program are eventually absorbed into the First Class Pinoy group, and are provided jobs in the TCG using new skills in commercial cooking. Many of these beneficiaries were not just employed by TCG but also become the core volunteers of CEF in all the projects that continue with the work.

Crucial to the viability of the program is the support from friends, benefactors and partners in generating financial requirements to operate the programs. Fund raising activities such as the Manila Food and Wine Festival Gala Dinner and Food Truck Show Down were conducted in the past. Support from local government assistance through available community development funds was crucial to the conduct of the CLP in Ilocos Sur.

This RY, District Gov. Nestor "Chito" Borromeo has adopted the program as one of his signature projects during his term. By committing 50 scholarship slots to deserving indigents, Gov. Chito encourages clubs of district D3780 to match this by sending and supporting 1 to 2 scholars at P15K each.

The signing of a MOA between the Rotary International District 3780 and the CEF was one of the highlights of the RCSD Charter Anniversary Celebration Program on June 28, 2017.

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