The festival of Christmas doubled up as an opportunity for hands-on training for the students at the V. M. Salgaocar Institute of International Hospitality Education (VMSIIHE), where they learned first-hand lessons in management by handling some food stalls as well as the bar at the ‘Christmas Pop-Up’ organized at their campus in Raia.
The ‘Christmas Pop-Up’ was the result of a collaborative effort of the event in charge, Counsellor Alethea Baracho, VMSIIHE’s Kaizen Cuisine club and the Cultural Club. It gave the institute’s students the much-needed experience in managing key aspects of running the affairs at a live event, including working the kitchen and guest service, etc.
Tahira Marie Rodrigues, a third-year student of B.Sc International Hospitality Management says, “This is the first time we’ve organized a Pop-up bazaar and initially, we were definitely skeptical about it. Although after so much skepticism, I am so glad to say that it was a huge success, and it was possible because of our strong team. Students from all departments were involved and staff members right from IT to maintenance all lent a hand in the execution. I was given the chance of compering and it was a phenomenal experience as it helped boost my confidence which is crucial in the hospitality industry.”
With holiday music and mirth-filled chatter filling the air, the pop-up was truly a Goan Christmas paradise, with the food stalls selling Goan street cuisine, momos, shawarma, pizza, Persian specialties, chocolate-dipped churros and mulled wine. As part of the Institute’s vision for inclusivity, multiple local vendors set up their stalls at the venue and sold a variety of products ranging from gifts and accessories to homemade wines and pickles.
The institute also organized an inter-school carol singing competition which saw group and solo performances by students from various schools across the state. Fatima Convent High School, Margao, took home the laurels in both group as well as solo categories, and Dashia Gomes was awarded first place in the solo category.
Along with games, nail art and mehendi stalls put up by students, a wondrous musical performance was also showcased by the VMSIIHE band. Falgun Prasad Mopkar, student of F.Y. Culinary Arts, stole the show with his skills and enthusiasm, as he performed a DJ set for the crowd.
“We, at VMSIIHE, believe that practical experience is the key to valuable learning. There is only so much that can be taken from books and theoretical knowledge. Once a student is given a responsibility during events like these, only then do we see the true potential they hold. Each student actively participated in the event right from preparation to execution and we could see the jubilant result in the happy faces of the attendees at the pop-up. Such events build teamwork and aids students in getting an industry experience.” says Chef Sebastian Breitinger, Professor of Culinary Arts.