One of the high peaks in Cooking for the Future –project was Pop-Up event –competition, where student teams from participating countries competed against each other. Setting up an international competition under the shadow of Covid-19 pandemic wasn´t easy task. Digitalization and virtual learning environments like ThingLink made it after all possible. Even with the use of modern technologies it wasn´t a day in the park. For example, three out of five teams were after all able to line up on the starting line. All these three teams did a good job and crossed the finish line with great results. Like from floating iceberg, you can see only small peak, in this competition the actual pop up –event day was a small part of it. Learning skills through online lessons, planning menu, designing logos and creating social media presence were all crucial parts of the competition. All participating teams did great job, but V.V POP restaurant created by students from Vamia, Vaasa, Finland were declared as winner after all points from secret judges and peer evaluation was counted.
Team Vamia had four students in it Mary Ann Alejan, Aileen Buenaventura, George Villaflor and Ain Qurrat. Supporting teachers were Sami Syväoja and Hermanni Kauranen and in charge of project management was Vamia´s international affairs manager Katarina Sandbacka. Student´s were naturally very happy after the winner was declared, but positive feedback given by students and teachers were more than just a victory buzz.
Mary Ann Alejan (left), “I am blessed beyond and thankful for the privilege that has given me to be part of this project “Cooking for the future”. It has been an educational experienced that utilized my capability in cooking industry. The virtual lesson has five topics and been discussed about 1. Personal Branding and Marketing, 2. Local foods, creating menus, 3. Sustainable gastronomy, 4. Plant-based diet, 5. Traditional and Professional cooking skills with modern technologies, it was clearly and informative discussions by the teachers from different schools, where everyone can ask questions and share opinions and these steps lead a way to our team´s success of the pop-up event. As a team, we work hard for it, we exert time and effort to do our assigned task and aimed for a good outcome for the pop-up event day. The entire event was held virtual, from the preparation day until the actual pop-up event competition. During the event, seeing the customers happy with the food satisfaction was indeed fulfilling. Apparently, this event gave a big factor for us, where we used our own understanding and learnings to execute ourselves, especially in the future. We are also thankful to our teachers for the support and motivation. The new learnings and ideas from this project will surely be helpful to start our journey in this career. Again, Thank you so much for this opportunity.”
George Villaflor (middle),“The core project was a very informative way of teaching students on the insights of the new trends regarding the food industry. From the techniques, what’s hot, and how to market yourself to future employers and markets in this modern day,will be very useful, for an aspiring cook like me. The pop up event gave me an insight on how to build a future business that might click. With the new trend that was set by this pandemix, I think this was very helpful. Thank you very much for all the learnings and support from all the partners, teachers and students!”
Aileen Buenaventura (right), “Core project in general was really helpful and useful to those participating students who wanted to pursue career in cooking. There was a lot to learn about the food production and its trends. It prepared me on how to build my own professional brand thru social media, before the actual work in the future employment. Great opportunity for cook students to improve their skills and knowledge. Pop-up event itself was an application of the skills that I learned from all the modules through building a trendy small business. Thanks to the support of the partners and teachers in helping us, students to become better cooks and made us more ready for entrepreneurship.”
Sami Syväoja (middle in the featured image), “As a teacher it was a really amazing to see how active the students were. They were very independent in their tasks and our role was to support and ask the questions, which guided them into right direction, when guidance was needed. In big picture this outcome and victory was completely earned through students hard work, creativity and motivation. In generally it´s always nice and interesting to see when first we have nothing but and then after hard work we have excellent event, good food, live stream from and to other competitors and so on. Great learning experience also for the teacher. Thanks for all participants and especially Omnia project leaders Oona Haapakorpi and Mika Heino for this great opportunity and journey which started in march 2019.”
Text & photos: Sami Syväoja and Hermanni Kauranen, Vamia