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A training course for a career in catering

Preparing a dish and arranging it professionally is just one of many elements covered by the course.

A training course for a career in catering

Learning a new profession or starting your own business is something many people dream of. The Pakistani-German Facilitation and Reintegration Centre (PGFRC) helps turn dreams into reality. It works together with partner organisations to hold vocational training courses, among other things. One of these is culinary arts training. A glimpse behind the scenes.

Practice makes perfect. Step by step, participants learn about new cooking methods and recipe variations.

“A glimmer of light in the darkness”

Zarqa wants to expand her existing frozen food delivery business and launch her own food blog. A friend told her about the training course, and she saw it as the perfect opportunity to improve her culinary skills. “I feel that this training course is a glimmer of light in the darkness”, says Zarqa. “The instructors are caring, and go out of their way to answer all our questions”, she adds. Studies show that working as a cook is one of the most sought-after jobs in Pakistan. The problem is that very few people working in this sector have the right training.

The PGFRC provides this culinary arts training for aspiring cooks in cooperation with the Institute of Tourism & Hotel Management (ITHM) in Faisalabad. This service is intended both for returnees as well as locals. The programme mostly attracts women. They want to relearn how to cook, or improve their skills to help them to get work in a sector that has been male-dominated until now.

The training course also includes some theory.

Culinary arts and tips from the chef

The course focuses on the management-oriented and practical education and training that is demanded by the global tourism industry. The programme director of ITHM, Qurrat ul Ain, led the initiative to organise the training course. With her decades of experience, she is committed to helping disadvantaged young people, especially women, to get training in professions where they can earn their own money.

The training course lasts for one month. Step by step, participants learn about new cooking methods and recipe variations. They learn about nutrition and hygiene, but also about staff management, selecting a menu, sourcing supplies and calculating costs. The course is led by chef Tariq, who has been working with the ITHM for 15 years and has over 30 years of experience in the industry, including at the Serena Hotel in Faisalabad. The students are also given training in personality development and self-confidence to make them fit for everyday working life with their own staff and dealing with customers. At the end of the course the participants are given a mobile food truck, which they can keep to enable them to set up their own business.

Participant Saima was told about the training programme by the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI). She has been managing the hospital café at the International Hospital Trust in Faisalabad for the last three years, and wanted to develop her skills. “The course taught me how to manage a kitchen and the staff efficiently, how to decide the prices to charge for meals and sell them and how to improve my technical skills.

It included tips and tricks on how to design a menu and how to manage the business, from buying supplies through to delivery,” says Saima. She states that she would like to use the food truck to expand her current café menu, since it provides her with more space for working and sales. She was given the food truck for her training and her new start, which she is allowed to keep.

I feel that this training course is a glimmer of light in the darkness.

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