Competition between school cooks from all over the country was held in Bishkek

BISHKEK – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in the Kyrgyz Republic, Ministry of Education and Social Industrial Food organized a competition for school cooks who were semifinalists of the school-cooks competitions conducted all over Kyrgyzstan last year. With all safety measures followed school cooks had a chance to show their culinary skills and compete for the title of the best school cook in Kyrgyzstan.

The cook’s competition was launched in November last year and was conducted in few phases: Qualifying - all school cafeterias who wished to send stories about how they came to their profession; Regional - 35 authors of the most unique and interesting stories came up with a recipe for a new dish for school meals; Final - 5 authors of the most original recipes with interesting performance became finalists. And on 20th November in the finals program, finalists will compete for the title of Best School Cook 2020.

The competitions like this is an opportunity to celebrate the work of school cooks who work tirelessly to feed children in schools and give cooks the chance to express themselves and show their skills in developing, preparing, and serving school meals, which will result in improving the professional skills of school cooks. The creativity of the tasty recipes cooked in the school canteen will foster a culture of eating different products like beans, eggplants, and pumpkins for children while promoting locally grown healthy and affordable products in schools.

“Through school meals, WFP invests in learners for the best outcomes of the learning process,” said WFP Kyrgyz Republic Country Director Andrea Bagnoli. “There is a lot of hard work behind hot meals - knowledge and experience of experts, parents’ involvement, government leadership, and of course the incomparable hard work of cooks. They approach their work creatively, caringly, with warmth in their hearts, with all their skill to ensure that children receive a healthy, nutritious, and delicious meal.”

The Cook’s competition also serves as an important aspect of the National School Meals Optimization Programme, which currently provides high-quality nutritious meals to around 200 000 primary school children in more than 700 schools across the country.

“Thanks to the hot and nutritious school meals, class attendance is increasing. Well-fed children perceive the taught material better; in the classroom, we can observe a keen interest in their eyes to new knowledge," - said the representative of the Ministry of Education.

Since 2013, in partnership with the UN World Food Program and the Russian Institute for Industry Nutrition with financial support from the Russian Federation, the Ministry of Education and Science of the Kyrgyz Republic has been conducting a program to improve nutrition in the country's schools. School meals optimization in the Kyrgyz Republic is a widely recognized initiative, which has been receiving critical support from national and local authorities, communities, and donors. By 2022, WFP and Kyrgyz Government plan to cover all schools in the country with nutritious hot meals, including through the adoption of the School Meals Law, a critical breakthrough in boosting the school meals development in the country.

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