Portfolio of Kimberly Johans

A collection of articles created during my stint as a journalist at The Macau Daily Times

Study has never tasted so good, say the students

Posted by Kimberly on July 6, 2007

By Kimberly Johans
Published in The Macau Daily Times
July 06 2007, page 6 (826 words)

 

The Institute of Tourism [IFT] will complete another successful year of their week-long Summer International Exchange Programme today, with positive results.
This year’s theme was ‘Gastronomy and Tourism’, chosen in order to provide students from different countries and regions with a chance to discover the recent tourism development of Macau through tasting and appreciating.
Mr Baudouin Neirynck was pleased with the turnout and confident that the students had gained significant experience of Macau’s food and culture.
“We have had two parts to this program; one is the theory part, which is the theory of tourism and gastronomy,” he said.
“We had invited a keynote speaker from Denmark who is an authority of gastronomy and tourism to give us three seminars on how to see gastronomy in terms of product segmentation, market segmentation and how it can be built together.
“Gastronomy is one thing, tourism is another thing and we can reconcile the two concepts together,” he said.
He added that at the initial stages of the program, the IFT were keen to find the best way to acquaint students with gastronomy within the context of Macau “but still with an international perspective.”
“We decided to have a very strong food component. At least we have explored a large number of dining venues in Coloane, in Taipa and Macau, taking into account the cultural heritage of the place, the Chinese, Portuguese and overseas influences.
“We decided to alternate seminars, group projects and experiences on the field,” he said.
So the students were taken to Macau’s Clube Militar, Taipa’s Cafe Ou Mun and the Lord Stowe Bakery among other venues.
“We wanted them to witness all these venues where this convergence of the two concepts happen,” said Mr Neirynck.
The summer course has been running for ten years, with 14 students attending this year’s program.
“This used to be sponsored by the World Tourism Organisation. However this year I think they were running short of funds so they couldn’t sponsor us, so we decided to go on our own,” said Mr Neirynck.
Every year the theme changes.
“It’s not always about gastronomy or tourism. It could be about heritage or architecture, usually something that reads very much into the identity of Macau, something that could be studied on a theoretical and practical basis,” he said.
Barbara Jiang Yan Jun, one of the students from China said, “I don’t have a chance in Guilin [China], in my college, to learn anything except for English and Business.
“In this course I’ve learnt what is gastronomy. In my home town, I’ve never cooked before I came here because in China, most parents want their students to spend most of their time studying.
“The third day we had our cooking course and we prepared our dinner by ourselves. In the course I learnt how to chop, how to peel and how to cook vegetable soup,” she said.
Like Robinson Weiske, another student undertaking the course, Barbara focussed on the knowledge of wine she had gained.
“In Guilin I never learnt how to taste wine, just red wine and white wine. Coming here, I learnt a lot about wine,” she said.
Robinson said, “I learnt this week how to appreciate wine because I never liked wine so much. “Maybe I still don’t like it so much but it made me very curious. Now I’m willing to learn more about wine, because I think it’s so interesting how many different types of wine there are.
“I always read these great things about the wine, it smells like chocolate, it smells like oak..,” but he adds that he never knew what they were talking about.
“This time I really could see it and it made me much more curious. It was one of the practical aspects I got [out of the course]” he said.
Both students considered the exchange program very useful.
“I think the exchange program is very useful for me because I have seen some things I’ve never seen before, knowing about Macau and tasting the food.
“I’ve learnt something I never knew because in China we just learn the program and never learn other things. I have a chance to know about other different kinds of cultures,” said Barbara.
“I think it’s very interesting. I’m a great fan of Asia anyway and I figured this could be a very good chance not only to observe but also to interact and be in the middle of this culture,” said Robinson, adding that “It was a very good experience interacting, because the majority of the participants are Asian.
“I had the chance to talk to all these people about the questions I had in mind all these years, to get answers from people who live here.”
Robinson added that were he ever to open a restaurant, he would try to integrate a little bit of Asia into it.
“This experience has made it [the idea] come closer to me and be more realistic.”

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