Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Taking Coal back to New Castle????


A few year ago I met Tim Aline Rebeaud , founder of “Maison Chance”, a charity Centre for the  disables and orphans in Ho Chi Minh City. Tim is truly an extraordinary young lady, she arrived in Vietnam as a young artist in 1992 from Switzerland.
There she was captured by the flight of the disabled and abandoned children living on the streets of the city. Slowly Tim (means Heart in Vietnamese)
created a home, known as Maison Chance, Nha May Man, and after that a school and training Centre , Take Wings Centre, Trung Tam Chap Canh for over 300 people.
In 2002 the Swiss awarded Tim with Prix Henry Dunant, which enabled her to purchase the only mean of group transport for the residents. Unfortunately this Toyota van is on its last leg! The gear box ceased up when I was last offer a lift to KOTO to teach.
I met Tim again when she came to raise fund for her new project, a home adapted for people using wheelchairs. I organized a fund raising dinner in 2007 and my food left a deep impression on Tim palate.
In January this year this project was completed, Village Chance Lang May Man  was opened for 20 families with wheelchairs.
The top floor of Block A intending for restaurant 
Tim wrote and asked me if I can create a restaurant similar to my old Green Papaya restaurant food at the Village? The Charity needs to generate a regular income and an opportunity for employment for future graduates from KOTO and other social institutions.
I spent a month at Village Chance, organizing the 2 kitchens required for the 3 separate eating areas in Block A. The contract for the kitchens with Duy Quang Commercial Kitchen Design was finalized and I will return to set up the restaurants and train the staff when the building work is completed in July.
While in Ho Chi Minh City, I enjoyed trying out the new range of Vietnamese eating places, I did some cooking at the Take Wings Centre where every lunch time the 3 kitchen staff produce 200 meals for school kids, trainees and staff, I also taught 2 classes at KOTO, an Australian sponsored social enterprise where street kids are trained in hospitality industry.
Turmeric fish prepared by KOTO trainees

The modern Vietnamese food is good but it is lacks the subtlety of the old flavors. I think this is caused by the dependence on too much additives, the global influences of fusion food and the lack of cultural backgrounds of the younger generation.
I felt so lucky being cocooned in Australia for 50 years, I myself and my food escapes from all the turmoil in Vietnam, and now I feel it is my duty to bring my old knowledge of Vietnamese flavors back to Vietnam.
Without modern food additives and proper cooked, Vietnamese food is known for the healthiest and most balance diet. It is a pity to lose it.
But is this as difficult as taking coal back to Newcastle without a van!
List of NEEDS:
1. Volunteers with experiences in hospitality industry
2. Money or donation of a commercial dish washer
3. Money or donation of Combi Oven
4. Money or a van.
Thank you

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