FORMER Air Niugini chef, Wai Havoame took part in assisting the Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotion Authority (TPA) in running a cooking project to benefit local guesthouses in the Mt Wilhelm area of Simbu Province.

TPA’s cooking course ran for five days in January and being the first of its kind, it was eagerly received by the participants, TPA said in a statement.

Accompanying Mr Havoame and overseeing the training was TPA policy and planning coordinator Heni Dembis.

Nine guesthouses participated in the training program, including, Betty’s Lodge, Ageta’s Guesthouse, Disney Land Guest, ANU Guesthouse, Willie’s Guesthouse, Camp JJ, Mondia Bridge Guesthouse, Mondia Pass Guest House and A Frame Guesthouse.

Participants were trained in food handling, hygiene and safety and preparation of dishes, including beef stew, chicken curry, meatballs and cold salads, TPA said.

Each participant received a certificate from TPA, presented by member for Kundiawa Gembogl, Tobias Kulang, who was also involved in parts of the training.

Mr Kulang said he was impressed with the cooking project, the chef ’s level of expertise and how it complemented the Kundiawa Gembogl district plan, especially in relation to developing the potential of the Mt Wilhelm area, TPA said.

Mr Dembis said the cooking lessons had been a great success.

“Our trainee cooks did exceptionally well in their training and were very keen participants,” he said.

TPA is grateful to work with such an experienced chef like Mr Havoame, who has over three decades of experience in PNG’s catering industry.”

“Based on the level of enthusiasm shown by our trainees we’re confident the skills learnt will be used to improve the quality of services provided in their guesthouses,” Mr Dembis said.

TPA also presented first aid kits and emergency stretchers to Mr Kulang and the Kundiawa Gembogl district, which will be located at the Mt. Wilhelm base camp guesthouses.

TPA said Mt Wilhelm is one of the Highlands region’s most well known tourism landmarks for trekking attracting hundreds of visitors every year.

TPA will be working closely with the Simbu provincial government to build the tourism potential of the province, especially the Mt Wilhelm area.