SFOR Cooking Class
2Lt. Meghan Marsaw
First published in
SFOR Informer#150, October 24, 2002
The luscious aroma of traditional British cuisine filled
the air at the Banja Luka Catering College's cooking school
on Oct. 9 as Staff Sgt. Gavin Wood taught local students how
to prepare some succulent dishes. Wood, the Regimental Catering
Senior NCO at the Banja Luka Metal Factory (BLMF) has put
together a program whereby 180 local students will learn how
to cook and present British dishes.
Banja Luka - This new teaching initiative came about after
discussions between Wood and the local baker who provides
bread for SFOR soldiers residing at BLMF. The baker suggested
that Wood visit the local college and teach a few lessons.
Having had previous experience as a Technical Catering Instructor,
SSgt Wood was very excited about the idea and has gone on
to develop an entire program that suits the specific needs
and capabilities of the college.
A human face on SFOR
Wood has approximately four weeks to teach the local students
a range of British dishes. In order to achieve this goal he
breaks the students down into classes of 15 and teaches for
three hours, three times a week.
"I really enjoy teaching and this is a chance to put
a more human face on SFOR," said Wood. "We are more
than just guns and vehicles."
With the amount of time the project entails and with his friendly
demeanour, Wood will certainly help maintain SFOR's positive
image with these local students.
The menu the students will have to prepare ranges from cold
starters all the way to desserts. Some examples of the dishes
include: pan-fried prawns on a chilli coleslaw with sweet
chilli dressing; beef fillet on a bed of 'lyonnaise' potatoes
served with pan-fried cabbage, crispy leek and a rich juice
as well as banana and rhubarb crumble served with custard.
"I want to give them a broader insight into what you
can do with food," he explained.
A new experience
Vinka Babic, the school's director, is excited about the opportunity
that her school has been offered.
"The lessons are very thoughtful and useful," said
Babic. "We do not usually prepare these dishes and it
is so much better having them demonstrated by a professional
chef. Other countries send their students away to foreign
countries to learn other dishes but Bosnia does not have any
money. We cant get this kind of experience anywhere
else so its great that, in this case the country has come
Natasha Tadic, a student at the school, cannot wait to try
out her new recipes on her friends and family.
"This is a new experience for me. I have not learned
any foreign recipes yet," she said. "The food and
the preparation are very different. This food is prepared
very quickly and is still crispy and full of vitamins. Bosnian
dishes tend to be soft."
Mira Madic has been the civilian worker supervisor at BLMF
messesfor the past six years. "I want to thank you for
Staff Sgt. Wood," she said. "He is the best we have
ever seen here at the mess. He teaches the workers all the
time. They have learnt so much from him." Wood has even
bigger plans for his cooking project. He is trying to get
more cooking utensils donated to the school. He is also trying
to get the students in for a field trip to his kitchen on
Nations of SFOR: UK