Our first contact with Leanne Dollman came when she approached #TeamTintswalo after she heard that we were reaching out to identify community projects as a way to take our previous volunteering in the community to the next level, which would be through a skills transfer program.
The Hout Bay Music Project Trust is a registered NPO program. Since the project’s inception in 2003 they continue to help children come together everyday to experience the joy of music. Children of Imizamo Yethu Township and Hangberg play in the streets, often on the dangerous Main Road after school. The Project Director, Leanne Dollman imagined a place where the children could be safe whilst being creative, experiencing playing an instrument and developing their talent. The project aims to identify children with a special aptitude for music as young as nursery school age and provide opportunities for them to express their musical talents within a supportive learning environment, thereby developing and expressing their true potential. This leads not only to talent development, but enhanced functioning in broader society and eventually better employment prospects. Studies show the positive results that children who play music are more likely to serve their communities and are less likely to become alcohol or drug dependent.
All practical and theory examinations are conducted through the Associated Board of the Royal School of Music in the United Kingdom, the world’s top authority on musical assessment. The young people who are students at the project are uber talented and one cannot help but get goosebumps when hearing these young children perform.
Tintswalo Atlantic’s skills transfer program at Hout Bay Music Project: Leanne Dollman approached #TeamTintswalo she asked if we would be able to assist with teaching basic cooking skills for the children. The music students are blessed weekly with donations of wonderful fresh produce, breads and meats from Woolworths and surrounding food stores, however their knowledge of how to transform these ingredients into a nutritious meal is limited. Typically each day a small team of children are assigned to cook dinner for the rest of the group while the majority of the group continue to practice their various instruments. Once dinner is ready, the children take their break and come together to enjoy a casual dinner party.
Tintswalo Atlantic’s Executive Chef, Jeantelle Van Staden, who previously held a position as as a lecturer at HTA School of Culinary Arts, said of her time at the Culinary School: “Being part of a team who grow and mold South Africa’s young and upcoming chef’s was a once in a lifetime experience.” Jeantelle jumped at the opportunity to teach and share her knowledge once again.
Jeantelle, together with her team, Justine Suntah, Matthew Van Vuuren and Memory Ndaba, aimed to showcase their knowledge and also to pass on meal preparation skills to the students (this would form part of their Life Skills Project), which would benefit the music students tremendously in the long run, as it teaches them to not only cater for themselves but also for their families and loved ones in the future.
Chef Justine Suntah was asked about the Tintswalo Chef’s experience and this is what she said: “The first day we arrived, we as Chef’s who do this everyday were nervous, not knowing what to expect. We started off with a introduction to what we do and sharing what it’s like being the ones who tickle the taste buds of our guests.
We were welcomed by so many smiling faces, curious as to what we had planned for them. We started off by picking our first day’s team, which, might I add, was difficult, because each and every one was jumping with excitement at the opportunity of being in the kitchen with us. How special it was to be engaging with these young, curious minds.
We were given a wonderful selection of donated ingredients to work with, each child on the team was partnered with a chef. We made several things. The first day we made Ground Beef Tacos, Creamed Mediterranean Vegetables, Fish Cakes and Garlic Bread. Once we had all completed our tasks, the children were in charge of plating up the meals they had prepared, followed by serving the dishes to their guests and explaining what they had cooked to their diners and audience. Once all the children were finished eating they were even more excited about the dessert of Apple, Chocolate and Almond Cake. Needless to say, there was not a crumb left in sight.
On our second day we selected another team, this team was quite the playful bunch, bursting with exciting energy. Once again we divided the students up, pairing them with a Chef and into sections of responsibility. This evening’s menu plan was quite a combination. We made Oriental Duck Crostini’s with Raspberry Glaze, Pork Burgers, Fish Goujons and Spiced Apple Bread for dessert.
The biggest reward for a chef is to see genuine gratitude, as it cements the fact that we have done our job correctly. We hope we have managed to inspire these young minds and shed a little insight into cuisine and the art of the culinary profession.
We have been teaching the music students new things regarding food, now in return they said want to teach us how to rock hard on bass, drums and violins…! As chefs we are well accustomed to ensuring fine detail to food, but somehow lack the skill it takes to keeping a rhythm and a beat.
Thanks again to Hout Bay Music Project, we look forward to seeing all our young Masterchef’s soon. Until next time…!
The Atlantic Chef’s
~Co-written by Justine Suntah and Tania Batista Hofer