College News Main Headline

Online battle of the menus offers event management insights

IFT Lecturer Ms. Marieta Wong

中文摘要 / Summary in Chinese

Consider a hearty pork and bean stew followed by a gooey, decadent chocolate cake, worthy of Captain Jack Sparrow of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series of films. Or contemplate, perhaps, tendon tempura shrimp rice with sakura tea, before a serving of dango, or sweet dumplings, just the right accompaniment for binge-watching Japanese animated films made by Studio Ghibli.

These delights are on the themed menus drawn up by IFTM Year 2 students in the Hotel Management Bachelor Degree Programme for an online challenge that gets round the obstacles to physically attending classes.

With the Covid-19 pandemic forcing changes to the way learning is delivered, the students devised the menu design challenge to meet the requirements of their course in Supervised Work Experience. The course aims to put students in actual situations that managers may find themselves in. The course stresses the usefulness of management skills such as planning, preparation, communication, making effective decisions and supervision.

The practical course usually includes an exercise in putting on a themed lunch. The students draw up the menu, decorate the venue for the meal, advertise and market the event – and then put on the lunch. Year 2 students in the Culinary Arts Management Bachelor Degree Programme are on-hand to help with the food. Ms. Marieta Wong, IFTM Lecturer, says: “It is just like running a restaurant for lunch.”

Covid-19 precautions however now preclude public gatherings and classes. The students and their lecturers therefore had to find a new way to complete this part of the course, so they decided to do the exercise virtually.

The students split into 3 groups. Each group drew up 2 menus. The menus have been posted online and the best will be chosen by voters casting their ballots electronically on Facebook or Instagram. The voters have until 10 May to pick their favourite menu. The Windows Cafeteria on the IFTM Mong-Há Campus will serve the dishes on the winning menu sometime in the next academic year, once all has returned to normal at IFTM.

Among the themes that the competing menus follow are: American fast food; the Republic of Korea television drama “Reply 1988”; an island in Thailand; and the novella “The Little Prince”, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

Each of the 3 competing groups of students has a general manager and a deputy general manager. Ms. Wong says she holds regular videoconferences to monitor the progress the students are making. She says they are endeavouring to advertise their menus online to garner votes from people outside IFTM. “As this is a group project, each student must take part and bear some responsibility,” Ms. Wong says. A group report is due at the end of the semester and each student will be evaluated by their peers.

Ms. Wong says the students were disappointed to be prevented from putting on an actual lunch. But the contest for votes has made the exercise more exciting, prompting the students to be creative, she says.

President’s Corner

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