Gambia Tourism and Hospitality Institute, GTHI, in partnership with the Gambia Hotel Association, GHA, are seeking to devise strategies to close-up “pastry gaps” in Gambia’s tourist industry.
It was against that backdrop that the two institutions completed a two-week capacity-building programme for more than 20 pastry chefs drawn from various hotels across the country.
The training was in line with the GTHI’s mandate to improving human resource requirements of the tourism sector amid an “outcry from industry stakeholders” of a need for capacity development, especially pastry-making, to keep the country abreast with current international trends.
Gambian Jihad Kassen, an international award-winning pastry chef based in Morocco, conducted the training.
The Director General of the GTHI, formerly Gambia Hotel School, Dawda Nyang, said the training seeks to make the country a competitive destination and help Gambians to be able to eat “good pastry”.
He explained that the industry is one dynamic sector that requires constant capacity building.
“We are not only in competition amongst ourselves but also with other destinations and we therefore need to keep up with the base of development especially on human capacity.
Cookery and pastry are very demanding areas and we believe with continuous training programmes like this we would build up with the trends,” he stated.
He disclosed that the GTHI is expanding its operations to other parts of the country in Janjangbureh, Farafenni, and Soma.
Bunama Njie, the chairperson of the GHA, said the Gambia is still coming to grips with “serious challenges in the pastry sector,” which he explained has “resorted hotels to snatch best pastry staff from each other”.
He emphasised the need for training enough qualified young people who he described as the future of the tourism industry expected to take over as managers and middle managers in the industry.
The GHA chairperson said his institution will continue to partner the GTHI to create the most enabling environment for improved product development initiatives in meeting industrial demands.
He urged participants to make use of knowledge gained and impart it to colleagues at work.
The event was characterised by exhibitions of pastry items made by the participants, and certificates awarded at the end of the programme.