THE Landing’s last Thursday treated Food & Nutrition students of the Castries Comprehensive Secondary School, Corinth Secondary School and Gros Islet Secondary School to a special tour of its culinary facilities.
Students also received a food preparation training tutorial in the Palms Restaurant presented by Sous Chef Jean Mark Charlemagne and Chef Emmerly Gerald with the tour culminating at the Turquoise Beach Bar & Restaurant for lunch.
This initiative is one of many which the resort has on its calendar of activities aimed at nurturing budding talent and encouraging more students to take a keen interest in the hospitality industry.
St Lucia born Chef Jean Mark, team leader of the Youth Outreach Programme, is no stranger to providing free training and mentorship to students and for the past few years, has spent his free time offering motivational lectures to students who share his passion for culinary arts. With a career, which extents 16 years, he found his love for cooking in his grandmother’s kitchen in Saltibus. Naturally, his first job was in a kitchen spending three years at Key Largo where he learnt the basics of Italian cuisine. After seeking a change of environment, Chef Mark spent three months contacting Sandals until he was offered his chance to work in all three of the group’s resorts in St Lucia where he was able to run his own restaurant, then travelled to Sandals in Antigua and Jamaica creating Italian, Caribbean fusion, British Pub Food and his specialty fine dining plates.
After receiving numerous accolades for his achievements over this five-year period, Chef Mark moved to the Landings in 2009 where his love for art shone through his creative plating as the Chef de Partie and then as the Sous Chef in 2012 where he spends his time training and creating fine dining dishes at the resort.
Now working under Chef Bill Munn, Chef Jean Mark is eager to learn the Mediterranean techniques and secrets of the trade from the new Executive Chef.
Said Chef Jean Mark: “Never stop learning and to be successful, we always need to link our passion with our desire and be obsessed about it.” He attests his drive to learn and excel at whatever he does to his love for reading and being fortunate to have very dedicated role models along the way.
The culinary team will take their Youth Outreach Programme to the Job Fair Expo scheduled for February 4 at the Johnson’s Centre.