Instant food critics

Marinated chicken with pawpaw salsa
Marinated chicken with pawpaw salsa
Pavlova with a Tongan twist
Pavlova with a Tongan twist

Assessors doing it tough!
Assessors doing it tough!
Thursday 23 May
Assessment/exam time begins. Kotoni was up before daybreak and got to college while everything still dark… No one to let him in to the classrooms so he went to 6 o’clock mass which pleased the nuns no end! Teachers began arriving around 7.00am to finalise preparations for exams.
We both turned into ‘food critics’ and joined some local business people, restaurant owners and chefs assessing three course meals produced by the second year students.
What an amazing experience. The quality was five-star all the way.
We had taste sensations that varied from stuffed deboned chicken wings to vichyssoise entrees, coconut crumbed chicken to cajun fish mains and an amazing array of berry cheesecakes, sticky date puddings, lemon cakes and Pavlova stacks!
I was called back in again in the evening to do it all over again… Such a chore…. NOT… Although heavy duty calorie overload!
I felt so proud of what they produced and would be confident recommending most of these students for a job in any fancy establishment in Australia, London or New York!
In the afternoon we put some bids on equipment and furniture at a silent auction being held up the road… Second hand fridges, tables, shelving and a mirror ball ??!! for the Pot Luck restaurant. Here’s hoping!

Friday 24 May
Had our little earthquake experience to start the day… maybe this is why the dogs had been going off extra mental and barking all night?!
More assessing of gourmet food and helping with correct English in exam papers. Cooking class did marinated soy honey chicken, pawpaw salsa, and veggie/pele (tongan spinach) quiche.

Saturday 25 May
New chair head gear
Scored a nice cane-look chair at silent auction for $20TOP… We collected it and began walking home with it perched on Kotoni’s head… Being Tonga, it wasn’t long until someone came along and gave us a lift to our door. Had a great score at the markets too with a few shirts for Kotoni and a dress for me… some as cheap as 30c! Like a big opshop!!! LOVE it!

Kotoni's furniture removals... At your service!
Kotoni’s furniture removals… At your service!

Sunday 26 May
Umu day.
This is where we welcome the new volunteers by getting together at the language teacher Poli’s house and cook a typical Tongan lunch of filled taro leaf parcels of onion, herbs, corned beef (yup from a tin), chicken or fish and coconut milk… Steamed over hot coals with taro, tapioca and other root veggies.

Monday 27 May
Maitre de at Pot luck
After running around and doing my usual jobs, Kotoni and headed to college for the next Pot Luck training dinner. Instead of being a guest I decided it was time to trial a new ordering system with the waiting staff and get an overall vision of the front of house operation.
It was a terrific evening and I must say I did enjoy watching over the activities helping the MC in his role and prompting the staff as required.
The entertainment was fabulous as always with a group of male student singing gorgeous harmonies, female students performing beautiful dancing and a fakaleiti doing his/her thing to the appreciative and amused crowd.

Tuesday 28 May
Helped to write two grant applications…one for a an education technology centre with funding from Japan and the second a business, marketing and promotions volunteer to start next January… So any skilled 18-30year olds who may be interested in a fantastic Tongan experience should keep an eye out for that through the Australian Youth and Development (AYAD) program.

3 thoughts on “Instant food critics

  1. Helen Snodgrass June 2, 2013 — 9:06 am

    We love your reports and it’s amazing how much development there appears to be in the quality of the menu in such a short time. Will certainly love it, when we get there. Looking at Nov at the moment, avoiding the birth of grandchildren and Helen’s ruddy complexion caused by the skin-cancer clearing cream application – a month long assault – in which time the sun is to be avoided. More later. Love to you both and miss you though feel close through your blogs.


  2. I’m hungry just reading what your students cooked for their assessment. BUT I’m simply salivating at your markets. I better bring a second (third?) suitcase as you know I can’t resist a bargain. I’ve done my final edit on my take home exam and I think I’m (or should I say ‘we’!) are ready to submit it. Hope ‘we’ pass! Love Tania


  3. So much happening. Love your BLOGS! xx


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