25 July 2017. Samoa In a first for Samoa, Joe Lam – Master Chef and President of the Samoan Culinary Association – was presented with a Medal of Appreciation from the President of the World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS), Mr Thomas Gugler at a meeting at Taumeasina Resort, yesterday.
With only 30 medals available worldwide, Mr. Lam was awarded this honor in recognition of the work that he has been carrying out to develop the culinary profession.
Mr Lam said of the award, “From the beginning, the mission of the Samoan Culinary Association has always been about promoting the industry through employment and education.”
“With the work that we have been doing for the last few years, we have been trying to create employment opportunities as well as equip the young ones with much needed skills.”
“As an association we are very passionate of what we do, so in turn we are honoured to be recognised by a large organization like WACS.”
Mr Lam is the owner of the renowned restaurant Scalinis in Apia. He added, “As a chef and as a Samoan I am very humbled and honoured at this gesture. The SCA will continue ahead with its mission and continue in developing the culinary profession amongst our local people.”
As well as the medal presentation, the meeting consisted of fruitful discussions about developments and challenges within the culinary sector in Samoa.
Mr. Gugler addressed the gathering and shared insight into WACS projects on a global scale.
Mr. Gugler also spoke about possible solutions and opportunities available for Samoan chefs through WACs projects.
Mr. Gugler was elected as the WACS President in September 2016 at the World Chefs Congress in Thessaloniki, Greece. As WACS President, he has been visiting Pacific nations to gather knowledge and understanding on some of the issues that affect members of the culinary profession in certain regions.
Mr Gugler said, “When I was elected, I said to myself that I want to do something for areas that are unfortunate, in many regards. Whether it is because of how far off they are, whether they have less money or not having the potential to attend the big events. “
“We, as Chefs should support the areas that are making traditional ethnic food. I believe that people from less developed or financially unstable countries should be able to make their own ethnic foods and compete in the big events internationally and win Gold, Silver or Bronze.”
“WACS is currently in early development of programs or opportunities that will allow any one, in any country to be certified at an international culinary level, free of charge. This will allow them to find employment and further their education and skills, thereby giving them many more opportunities.”
The meeting concluded with afternoon-tea refreshments and photo opportunities with Mr. Gugler.
Founded in August 2015, the Samoan Culinary Association is a non-profit organization with a key focus on promoting culinary skills through training as well as generating pathways to careers, for local people in Samoa.
Visit their Facebook page @samoanculinaryassociation.
Reporter with Samoa Planet.