1 Feb 2019

The Spirit Fund, How It Is Used

James Tuffs, Alliance Project Manager, explains how the Spirit Fund is making a difference to students’ learning.

Rounding the corner of the stairs one is struck by mouth-watering cooking aromas and, instantly, feel hungry despite it only being an hour or so since breakfast.

All current students at Island School benefit from the work of the Spirit Fund in one way or the other and, this morning, one can almost taste how the Food Department have benefited long before you reach Food Technology’s first floor home at the Sha Tin Wai campus. From the chef jackets and aprons to the crockery, cutlery and large-scale equipment like the ovens; all of these contributions from the Fund have led to the successful launch of the ‘Food Science and Technology’ IB diploma and ‘BTEC Hospitality’, as well as the high profile the department enjoys.

This morning all of this equipment is being put to good use by students, who have been in since 7.00am preparing tasting menus to be judged by Executive Chef Mr Cheung Hong Man and General Manager Mr Wilson Lee from the Hyatt Regency Sha Tin.

The pressure is on. 

Three tables are clothed, crisp white and patiently waiting to be laden from the kitchen. This haven of tranquility, juxtaposes with the intensity of the focused bustle next door where Head of Food Technology Chris Lord and his colleague Doris Chan are very much in their element as they oversee the five teams of competing students in their preparations. It is striking how professional the whole show is; hair is tied back, blacks and whites are buttoned up, aprons clean and everyone appears clear on their role, applying themselves with concentrated efficiency. An extremely well run and professional operation. One in which the Spirit Fund plays an important role but, it is really only a small part of the food chain! Enabling of a much bigger picture.

The students have prepared Korean, Japanese and Indian cuisine and costed them accordingly, in a demonstration of subject knowledge, creative thinking and business nous. Menus have been designed using Adobe’s Creative Suite applications. Feedback forms have been thought through, with questions ranging from taste to plating. Printed out they are ready to guide the forthcoming judging panel – a demonstration of forward thinking! And then there are the logistical and planning skills that are required to ensure that meals are delivered beautifully plated, in balanced portions and at a set time. All of this while, of course, casually balancing a school career of equal complexity.

Wilson and Cheung have arrived and are touring the kitchen making improving sounds as the final moments of preparation happen around them.

‘Five minutes everyone’ Drill Sergeants Mr Lord above the increased volume of the room.

A grain of rice is removed; a garnish artfully arranged; sauces poured and plates whisked into the dining room as the adjoining doors close behind, shutting out the kitchen to leave three tables of superbly presented food – vegetarian, fish and meat dishes respectively.

The slight tension in the pause before disturbing these culinary works of art is broken by the click of a camera, the tasting and much discussion begins.

Excellent. A fantastic achievement and it is not yet ten o’clock in the morning.

With Fine Dining, Tasting Experiences and other events in the pipeline for this academic year, the department is aiming to maintain and exceed the levels of success demonstrated today. They are looking to the Spirit Fund for support to the tune of HK$ 80,000.

We invite you to participate in this fund raising effort by pledging a donation to cover one or more of the following.

  • An indoor vertical herb garden (HK$ 22,700);
  • 12 sets of new chopping boards (HK$ 4,776);
  • 8 kitchen aids (HK$ 39,456);
  • 20 knife sets (HK$ 3,560) and
  • 20 new frying pans (HK$ 7,160).

As always, your continued support is very much appreciated.