Press Release

Healthy and Tasty: School Cooks show off their skills with WFP support

11 November 2021

BISHKEK –The Best Cook of School Meals in the Kyrgyz Republic 2021 will be declared on Thursday when finalists meet in Bishkek for the Grand Final Cook-Off after almost eight months of intense competition.

The Best Cook of School Meals
Caption: The Best Cook of School Meals
Photo: © WFP

The competition started with cooks from 57 schools around the country in March, and through multiple rounds of demonstrating their culinary skills, just five remain. The competition has been supported by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), the Ministry of Education and Science, and the Social Industrial Foodservice Institute (SIFI).

All school cafeterias with the desire to participate in the competition sent stories on how they became professional cooks. The second stage involved a panel of judges choosing the best stories of the journeys to become professional cooks. The best 35 cooks were selected to develop a nutritious recipe for a new dish to feed school children meals. The five most creative recipes will be put to the culinary taste bids of a panel of judges on November 11.

This competition is organized to celebrate the hard work of School Cooks, who will demonstrate their skills in developing, preparing, and serving hot school meals, as well as raise awareness to the public on the importance of good nutrition for children who are the future of the country.

The creativity of nutritious and tasty recipes cooked in school canteens, together with the support of parents, helps to foster a culture of healthy diet within school communities. Indeed, according to the recent study conducted by WFP in partnership with the National Statistics Committee, malnutrition continues to be one of the main contributors to the health burden of the Kyrgyz Republic.

“School is more than just a place to learn, it is a pillar of the future community, and providing dietary diverse hot meals in schools provides an opportunity for students to thrive and grow into healthy productive adults who in turn will be better placed to build a stronger community,” said Michael Huggins, WFP Kyrgyz Republic Interim Country Director. “Hence, the creativity and hard work of school cooks are the foundation for a better and more vibrant tomorrow.”

The Cook’s competition serves as an important aspect of National School Meals Optimization Programme, which currently provides high-quality nutritious meals to around 220,000 primary school children in more than 800 schools across the country.

“School meals support children in their education and improves their health to make sure that the benefits of this National Programme are felt beyond the school. We are gathered here today to thank the cooks and celebrate their excellent work“- said the representative of the Ministry of Education and Science.

Since 2013, with financial support from the Russian Federation, the Ministry of Education and Science of the Kyrgyz Republic, in partnership with WFP and SIFI, has been realizing a Programme to improve nutrition in schools. The National School Meals Optimization Programme is a widely recognized initiative, which has been receiving support from national and local authorities, communities and donors.


The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. We are the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.


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For more information please contact:

Almaz Tchoroev, WFP/Bishkek, Email:, Tel: +993 312 660033, Mobile: +996 555 850 175

Healthy and Tasty: School Cooks show off their skills with WFP support

Aichurek Zhunusova

Aichurek Zhunusova

Communications Associate
Almaz Tchoroev

Almaz Tchoroev

Communications and Donor Relations Officer

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World Food Programme

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