Published On: March 5, 2018 10:49 AM NPT By: Sonam Lama

Eating for a social cause

Eating for a social cause

KATHMANDU, Mar 5: When the idea of collaborating youths to make the country stand independent struck in, Cocina Mitho Chha, a social enterprise, found space summoning youths to contribute their bit in the field of hospitality in Nepal.

‘Cocina’ is a Spanish word for ‘kitchen’. Established in 2012, the organization is a training center that also provides the services of B&B and Restaurant that started with a concept to socially and economically support youths. Providing opportunities to youths, it has been training the less benefitted groups of rural societies of Nepal. Trainings programs on cooking, barista, housekeeping and waiting are conducted for the group of people who want to hone their culinary skills. After a certain period of training program, the trainees are placed to different restaurants for on the job experience.

“In order to sustain the project, it was necessary to generate the required amount of income and to run various training with providing scholarship to the needy students. Therefore, the concept of running a restaurant and B&B was developed,” said Debendra Pokharel, managing director at Cocina Mitho Chha, Lazimpat.

Cocina Mitho Chha stands out in its own special module of serving its guests, staffs and trainees. With the B&B outlet serving a variety of Nepali, Spanish, Italian, Continental and European cuisines made from organic ingredients, it invites a majority of guests coming from different corners of the world. Unlike many other training institutes, it facilitates its trainees with both theoretical and hands-on skills through in-house training programs and restaurants to hone and polish their acquired skills.

Mutually working with its diverse staff and guest, Cocina Mitho Chha has been inviting a myriad of volunteers from France, Spain, Switzerland, German, Japan and Netherland, among others, who provide their voluntary training services to the Nepali trainees. This approach of learning from international volunteers has much helped the beginner trainees to better understand each other’s food and culture.
                                                  Photo Courtesy: CocinaMithoChha
“Since we are trying to sustain the social project, we make sure to continue providing training services with the amount collected from our B&B and restaurant services. Since the time of its inception in 2012, the project has provided scholarship to a total of 120 students. Although interested people keen at learning culinary skills invest some amount for the training sessions, the scholarships are provided depending upon to a person’s economic, social background and keenness to hold long-term dedication and contribution to the field. As we have a huge scarcity of skilled workers in the market, such training programs highly produce good number of skilled manpower benefitting in both the ways.”

“I go on missions to support small and medium enterprises to upscale the quality of their hospitality, kitchen and training programs and my first visit to Nepal has been for the same purpose. I enjoyed my first visit here and training the staffs here at Cocina Mitho Chha was an amazing experience,” said Martin Huizinga, senior expert of hospitality, tourism and facility services at PUM, The Netherlands.  “Over the last week, Debendra and I have visited many colleges of hotel management as well as hospitality sharing knowledge and giving trainings to the students and staffs on French gastronomy and presentation techniques,” added Huizinga.

Contributing to empower youths and providing them with an innovative exposure, the project seeks to further improvise and expand the training program. “Since a large number of international students visit here and express their keenness to travel, learn about Nepali food and culture, we have been looking forward to provide them with a set of internship programs so that we can create better environment for exchange of knowledge and culture,” added Pokharel.
                                                 Photos: Shahin Sunuwar Rasaili/Republica
Cultivating the thought of making youths acknowledge and meet their capabilities definitely shapes the idea of development in every respect. Youths being provided the exposure to make them stand on their own feet implies to the idea of making the entire nation economically prosperous. And in order to come up with a vision for a sustainable change and mark progressive changes, the approach shall definitely invite the need for unified voluntary efforts surpassing the equations of monetary value. With such collaborative initiation, the change has surely begun.

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