On Saturday morning 9th August, 30 excited international and Vanuatu students participated in the Australia-Pacific Technical College (APTC) home cooking lessons run by Chef and APTC Trainer Aaron Dixon. This is part of the APTC Vanuatu campus orientation program which encourages students who are sharing accommodation with each other to explore the local markets and prepare healthy foods that they can share, at a fraction of the price of foods from the supermarket. The trip to the market cost the students less than 2000vuv, about $20 between them. Then it was back to the students’ accommodation facilities to start cooking.
Our Samoan students provided a lesson in the traditional Samoan way of extracting coconut milk. With the freshest, healthiest, locally grown ingredients such as kumala (sweet potato), pumpkin, spring onions, ginger, limes, bok choy and coconut, Chef Aaron and the students prepared and shared a delicious, Thai style vegetable soup. There were also plenty of fresh vegetables leftover for another day and another soup.
“The students like the idea of cooking together and saving money but often aren’t sure what foods to buy, how to prepare and cook them, or who will eat them. So the lesson is as much about building relationships in the student accommodation as it is about exploring the nutrition and flavours that the local Vanuatu markets can provide.”
This is the third semester that Chef Aaron has undertaken this activity with the students. “Students were relying on rice and two minute noodles as their main food source because it’s cheap and easy. This activity has really helped our students to eat healthy meals, have fun and save money all at the same time. We see a real improvement in eating habits as a result.”
Aaron will be leaving Vanuatu in August as his contract has come to an end however the tradition will continue through the student services officer Ronic who can now cook a pretty mean Thai Soup. Thanks for your wonderful service to our students Aaron.