Tin Shui Wai class hopes to find new Jamie Oliver

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 06 August, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 06 August, 2008, 12:00am

A project aimed at strengthening the bonds of family and community in the remote town of Tin Shui Wai may also find the next Jamie Oliver.

The Tin Chef Neighbourhood Mutual Aid Scheme is among 14 government-funded projects set up for residents under the Community Investment and Inclusion Fund this year.

Calvin Wu Kin-keung, project officer at the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals Jockey Club Tin Shui Wai Integrated Services Centre, said its three-year 'Tin Chef' project, to be launched next month, would be targeted at teenagers, housewives and unemployed residents. 'Many housewives are very good at cooking and willing to teach others how to cook,' he said.

Mr Wu said that after three months' basic training, the young participants who displayed talent would be singled out and the centre would try to organise training at restaurants or hotels to sharpen their skills.

'We hope to find another Jamie Oliver in Tin Shui Wai,' he said.

Project officer Lam Kai-cheung said: 'Some young school-leavers are weak at academic studies but very keen on cooking. So these housewives can volunteer to teach young people cooking.'

In addition to five ongoing projects, various NGOs and community groups will run 19 schemes in the deprived area of Tin Shui Wai to bolster family relationships and promote neighbouring support, at a cost of HK$31.1 million.

'These projects will cover more than 80 per cent of the public housing estates in the district and benefit more than 12,000 families,' said Permanent Secretary for Labour and Welfare Paul Tang Kwok-wai, who was officiating at a project launch ceremony yesterday.

Centre supervisor Anthony Pang Woon-kei expected about 110 residents in Tin Heng Estate and Grandeur Terrace to join the programme over the next three years.

'We hope the participants will sometimes cook for their families and neighbours after classes at our centre ... it will be a good way to bring people together and learn more about each other,' he said.

Mr Lam said the project could also strengthen the bond between parents and children. 'Some teenagers are poor at expressing themselves, but they can fully show their love to their families by preparing special dishes for them,' he said.

Mr Pang said the centre planned to publish a cookbook in about 18 months filled with human interest stories and how cooking had changed the lives of some residents.

The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups is also hoping to attract the young people who often hang around the streets at night in gangs.

'There are many working parents in the area and they do not have much time to spend with their children,' said Yang Sau-kuen, of the group's Jockey Club Tin Yiu Youth S.P.O.T. unit.

'We hope our project can encourage these youngsters to cook for their parents so as to build up stronger family ties.'