Five star lessons for street children
Mid-afternoon between the busy meal times of lunch and dinner, six children from Sahabat Anak’s Children’s Activity Center (PKA) are touring the industrial sized kitchens that service the needs of the Sari Pan Pacific Hotel in Sarinah, Central Jakarta.
Sous chef, Bagus, is their primary escort explaining as they go the various pieces of equipment. There are different work areas —large area for washing pots and pans with industrial dishwashers— a refrigerated room where staff prepare food, chopping potatoes, slicing onions and meats, making massive bowls of sauces— is a cool area for storing fruit and vegetables and a cold room for meats.
The kitchen is segregated in to different work areas for cooking also – an a la carte work table and a Chinese preparation area. Orchids in vases and fruit displays are lined up ready for table placements at the evening meal sitting. The kitchen is a wash of stainless steel and a hive of activity.
The children have a lesson on making siomay which they have to help cook. Flour, salt, shallots, mixed herbs, minced meat, water, spring roll pastry, boiled egg and tofu are ingredients used. When cooked they are presented on a round banana leaf in the centre of a white plate and drizzled with chilli sauce, sweet soy sauce and lime juice.
Once savoury lessons are over, it is time to move to another kitchen area which is specifically for sweets. Cakes, fresh bread and pastries are all made under the supervision of Chef Phillipe. Some of the children have a lesson in piping buttercream icing onto cupcakes while the others mould marzipan into cake decorations.
Hospitality is an industry that many Indonesians work in both at home and abroard. Cruise ships around the world have jobs such as cabin stewards; wait staff; food and beverage managers in which many Indonesians work. At home there are classy hotels and everyday restaurants that also boast talented Indonesian staff. Whether it is the kitchen hand who washes the dishes or the head pastry chef, there are good jobs and careers out there for Indonesia’s next generation.
Sari Pan Pacific’s CSR activity of inviting the children to see and be part of it for an afternoon can open new views to a future these children never knew existed. The class that attended now has a writing activity based on what they saw and experienced that afternoon. The inspiration of writing, seeing and being will embed a layer of awareness and hope for them. It is far removed from the environment they exist in in their daily lives but it is not out of reach.