Cilly Good Food Review

Chatteris' own Max Price tells us about a recent post-secondary event and some unexpected perks of the job.

It’s common practice in the post-secondary programme to hold events of varying size, sometimes large enough to require Chatteris Native English Tutor (CNET) helpers from other campuses, sometimes small enough that they can be handled internally. All events have their perks, but large events are particularly exciting to attend and plan as CNETs are able to be really creative and hands on with how they interact with students. It is also a really great experience to get to visit other people’s campuses – something which is unique to the post-secondary programme – and gives CNETS a chance to see what other students and other workplaces are like.

On January 23rd and 24th, my campus held an event of massive proportions: the eagerly awaited ‘CILLY Good Food Around the World’. It was a cultural food event featuring language building games such as finding antonyms for common tastes and a blind scent test of various spices. The event also offered two different menus per day, expertly crafted by in house chef and CNET, Jorge Reyes.

Above: The master at work.

The CILLY Good Food event, a wonderful pun based on the Centre of Independent Language Learning (CILL), has run for 2 years previously and has seen crowds of almost 500 students and staff. With this impressive track record and the addition of a trained chef, the pressure was on when it came to planning the massive event, but attendees this year exceeded 600 people – the stress ended up being worth it for the pay off.

The 23rd of January was definitely the busiest of the two days, with over 330 student attendees recorded. The menu consisted of: caffé de olla, a Mexican coffee that is rich in cinnamon and sugar; potato cream soup (which contains no cream) from England, a delicious warming soup made from a variety of different vegetables (namely potato); hummus on cracker bread served with a paprika garnish and Japanese teriyaki chicken skewers, which were cooked in the teriyaki sauce on site (a terrifying prospect but altogether a very popular dish, being the only one which entirely ran out before the end of the event.)

The second day (24th January) of the event was quieter, but far from calm with a total of 240 guests attending. The menu for the second day consisted of: masala chai from India, a milky tea cooked with cinnamon, clove, ginger, sugar and masala; broccoli cream soup (again, no cream); Portuguese tuna salad served on a slice of cucumber and Italian bruschetta served with cream cheese, pecan nuts, home-made pesto and a slice of tomato.

Above: CNETs/chefs for the day.

Based on feedback received over the two days, students seemed to really enjoy both the games and prizes which were on offer and who wouldn’t love free food?! The games team also worked hard to add new elements if a student had already participated the day before (such as adding a time limit of five minutes to complete every game).

Speaking of free food – due to unexpected popularity, the food had to be slightly more rationed than we had expected when originally planning the event. However, it seems we had no cause for concern, as there was plenty of items left over (perhaps not enough to do the full menu, but enough to create new dishes to entice students at the end, for example). CNET helpers on the Wednesday were therefore rewarded with a ‘goody bag’ of fine food to take home – compensation for a hard day, perhaps?

It is unlikely that this event will be recreated at such an impressive level again, as a lot was riding on the skills of Reyes. However, the incredible success of it means that a lot of what was achieved this January can be enforced both on campus and, hopefully, in other campuses throughout Hong Kong too.


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