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Photos by Julia Akhtman
As a part of “I want to be…” project on February 25th, Chef Michael Pokrikyan and a representative of the “Happy Child” Charity Fund visited children of Matveevka orphanage. Being among top 10 finalists at the 1st Ukrainian Carving Championship, Michael visited the orphanage to talk to senior students about specifics of his work and also share his extensive working experience with them. To hold a workshop, a European level Chef bought for the kids all necessary food supplies. He carefully prepared for the training course and, as a fairy tale magician, in no time turned ordinary radishes, carrots, squash and beets into the exclusive work of art – a vase of scarlet and white roses.
“It is always very difficult to carve, for example a rosebud, for the first time as the work is very time-consuming and requires a lot of attention; it can be compared to the work of a jeweler. It takes more than a year to learn this art” – Michael Pokrikyan explains to the children.
All the kids and adults were watching the polished techniques of the Chef with genuine interest. It took Michael just a little bit of time to create a unique composition of radishes and beets. Indeed, to be a good Chef, one has to know much more than what ingredients to add to the traditional Ukrainian beet-root soup called borsch. This is laborious and, in some cases, very artistic, time-consuming work that requires a lot of responsibility and attention.
So what is carving? Carving – is an amazing ancient oriental art of carving fruit and vegetables which came to us from the East. The products mostly used for this type of work are southern, exotic foods. First of all – it is watermelons and melons. Carving has its roots in Thailand. This type of culinary art is also widespread in China and Japan where there are specialized training schools and thousands of years of traditions. Now, this kind of exotic culinary art is available in Ukraine. In Zaporozhye, Michael Pokrikyan constantly works on improving his skills: attends seminars, participates in international expos and competitions. In addition, the Chef holds workshops on carving and other culinary techniques to all those who are interested.
A bouquet of roses for a girl…”One day a man came to me and ordered a bouquet of roses for his girlfriend that I made for him out of fruit and vegetables. When the lady received this unusual gift, to everyone’s surprise, she didn’t immediately realize that the roses were not real and that she was given a bouquet made of fruit and vegetables!” – Michael recalls a funny story.
A 9th grade student Vladimir Vashenko took an active part in the training on oriental art – carving.
Carving of sculptures from vegetable and fruit – is a job that is very time-consuming and requires accuracy and attention. Unfortunately, as any other food product, this elegant and very beautiful composition doesn’t have a long shelf life.
Since the meeting with children of the boarding school took place during Pancake week, Michael shared with the kids a couple of secrets on making dough for the holiday pancakes. Children were able to write down this unique culinary recipe from the Chef and had an opportunity to try to cook delicious pancakes by themselves.
To become a Chef, a person must be scrupulously accurate, possess a creative flair in order to come up with interesting recipes or exquisite plate designs. Sense of smell and fine taste are very important as well and will help the cook to reach the heights in his career. Great Chef must always be very neat, well organized, have good memory and attentiveness. Chef must always remember that he is working with perishable foods and any misstep can cause a consumer a lot of harm.
It should be noted that at the orphanage we were greeted with a great hospitality. The school’s principal, Larisa Konstantinovna Konkova, and her deputy, Lubov Fedorovna Ostapets treated their guests with delicious dinner and hot, fresh coffee. Everything was just at the highest level! For that, we thank them very much. The walls of the orphanage are covered with kids’ diplomas and medals which shows that students are constantly busy in various sports events and that their achievements are celebrated.
The results of a collaborative work of the Chef and high school students impressed everyone, without exception. But the time was drawing to its final stage. We had to go back because the same day Michael had to go to the championship in Russia. Well, let’s wish him good luck and a lot of creative wins!
Photo by Vladimir Krasnogolovy
We are hoping that this event helped children get acquainted with the profession of a Chef and, at least a little bit, understand the intricacies and peculiarities of this trade. Staff and volunteers of Charity Fund “Happy Child” will continue to hold similar events to help the future generation of our nation to make the right choices and realize their life aspirations and wishes.
This event – is only a part of our big project that is being realized with the collaborative support of many people. No wonder they say: “The power is in unity”; so let’s all together help children and make our country even stronger and smarter. Please send us your feedback, suggestions and collaboration proposals.
The “Happy Child” Charity Fund expresses its deep gratitude to people who assisted in carrying out this event for kids:
Director of Matveevka Orphanage – Konkova Larisa Konstantinovna;
Deputy Director for discipline – Ostapets Lubov;
Chef – Michael Pokrikyan and his friend Karen Mertarchyan.
Please support the development of the sightseeing and educational programs for children from the “Happy Child” Charity Fund. To learn more about how to help the project, please visit the website www.deti.zp.ua or http://blog.klubok.org.ua