For those who dream of working in hotel, tourism, and hospitality industry, what’s more than knowledge, abilities, and practical skills is the service mind that all should have as a key qualification.
Therefore, Dusit Thani College, Thailand’s leading higher education in culinary arts, hotel management, and tourism under Dusit International, puts an importance on cultivating this attribute in students through practices and many other ways. One of them is to open an opportunity for their contribution to the society. Recently, Public Relations Department of Dusit Thani College has brought the student representatives of DTC Young Ambassador program as well as other volunteering students to Hua Takhe Community, a long-history community and riverside market in Lat Krabang district which locates not far from Dusit Thani College on Srinakarin Road, to arrange a small workshop about food and ingredient preservation. This activity reflects the concept of community relations by spreading knowledge from the college to the community for sustainable development and enhancement.
Before arranging the workshop, there was a survey at the community by DTC students and Ajarn Chayawat Kiatkamonmarn, culinary arts and CSR expert, to observe the settings and identify the issues that the community needed solutions. It was found that even though some ingredients – banana leaves, coconuts, and bananas – were generally used in the community for personal and commercial purposes, there was an issue about prolonging their shelf lives. Therefore, the students conducted a research on preserving these materials and discovered tricks to extend shelf lives. The procedures in the experiment was not different from local wisdom but there were details that could improve the preservation process. For example, instead of the villagers’ way to put banana leaves in a refrigerator after drying, putting them in a plastic bag and tying it tightly before cooling will help prolong their freshness.
Ms. Chonnaporn Tipatueng, a sophomore of Dusit Thani College’s Culinary Arts and Kitchen Management Program and leader of this workshop, represented the team to speak about this experience that “At first, I felt a bit nervous in the first field survey as I was afraid I did not do and communicate well enough. Later, at the time I did this practically, the workshop ran smoothly and results were beyond expectation due to good preparations and supports from friends. Apart from those, I was impressed by the villagers who gave great attentions and warm welcome to us. That was why the mood in the workshop was casual and more like a knowledge exchange with grannies. All of them interacted well, made wonderful questions, and provided active collaborations which let all of us learn new knowledge and implement different ways of work”.
While Mrs. Umbha Bunyaket or “Pa Aoy Hua Takhe” from Love Hua Takhe Community expressed her feeling towards this collaboration across generations that “Even it was a small activity, it reflected the ‘heart’ of DTC instructors and students who were listening to the issues of the community and conducted a research. The moment the students shared that they brought grannies’ wisdom into a month-long project to find out the results and came back to share it was the moment I felt grateful wholeheartedly”.
The collaboration with Hua Takhe Community is not only just a project that allows students to share what they learned to the community, but also a learning session that students can gain local wisdom and experience from villagers which fulfill their knowledge. This could be considered a knowledge exchange and experience sharing between students and Hua Takhe Community.
Dusit Thani College wishes that this small activity can instill public mind and service mind in students while bringing knowledge from the college to develop Hua Takhe Community in other aspects in the future.