Quota program inspires youth
THE Chef de Quota program for the region's disadvantaged youth came to an end on Saturday with the finals of the program being held at the Barrier Reef institute of TAFE.
And the results were beyond all expectations.
Participants put into practice what they had learnt during the course of the program and MasterChef runner-up Callum Hann was in the kitchen to lend a hand and judge the competition.
After a morning of cooking pasta, sushi, crepes and desserts, Michael Webber and John Stevensen were deemed the winners.
The students said they were happy with their achievements and were appreciative of the opportunity to take part in the program.
Mr Hann said the program was also beneficial away from the stove.
“Something hands-on like this is great for the kids and this will not only help them with cooking, but life in general,” he said.
“It's doing wonders for their self confidence.
“They get to cook something and look at it and go ‘that was me'.”
Mr Hann said he was impressed with the final results.
“I've been really blown away,” he said. “The quality of the food today was fantastic. I just hope I can inspire a few kids to keep cooking beyond this.”
Chef de Quota participant Natalie Mason was once a shy teenager, but this was not evident on Saturday.
She gave an inspiring speech on behalf of all contestants.
“What we did in the course, the memories and friends will last a lifetime,” she said.
Quota Whitsunday day service director and program organiser Jill Farinelli said she was overwhelmed with the results.
“We set out to give them some basic skills in shopping, cooking and budgeting,” she said.
“They've grown in confidence and grown in skill, you see their faces light up.”
The program was Quota Whitsundays' initiative for Quota Cares Month – a competition where Quota groups world-wide aim to build programs to help women or children who are disadvantaged or hearing impaired.
South Pacific area director of Quota International Karen Murphy said the program worked well.
“It's encouraging and changing the lives of the students,” she said.
“It's empowering them to meet their potential.
“It's a life-changing project.”