Pastry :

Bayon Pastry School 3rd intake !

At the beginning of September, we welcomed 12 underprivileged young women for a new year at Bayon Pastry School.
 
The recruitment
Last March, we started the recruitment process. After spreading leaflets in villages and NGOs, we received over 50 applications. The applicants had to fill a form on their family situation, their living conditions and their education. We made a shortlist and called in about 30 young women to our pastry school for written tests (Khmer general knowledge, English, calculation) and a motivation interview. Then, our team has visited the families in order to check their social conditions and make sure the parents support their daughter to follow the training. Indeed, most of our students leave their family for the first time and it can be hard to accept from the parents.
 
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Exams
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Family visits
 
The start of the school year
In order to curb the gap between the students before they start the training, we organized a remedial week. Five students attended special lessons with Margaux, our education coordinator and complementary classes teacher. Following that week, our new students joined Sreynich, who narrowly graduated in last July.
 
The first period of the training took place from September to late October and the students attended their very first lessons in pastry theory and practice, English and mathematics. The pastry apprentices discover a whole new environment and their teachers must start with the basics: equipment and ingredients vocabulary in pastry class, English class…
Margaux, our teacher, relates us :
 

First period went so fast and the students have already made a lot of progress! It is not always easy to communicate because of their pretty low English level and my quasi inexistant Khmer one – but my young khmer assistant Moeung is here to assist me during classes. I try to give lessons with fun and dynamism – some of the students left school several years ago and it is not easy to get back on the tracks. But step by step we create a nice and productive working atmosphere. It is very rewarding to see them progressing. They are very studious and eager to learn. They also are very curious and always ready to laugh. It is a real pleasure to spend time with them.

 
Two months after the beginning of the training, we have already noticed huge progress! Our team was glad to be the judge of the first pastry exam and we can say the students delighted us!
 
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The first internship
On the 24th October, 6 students have started their first internship within big hotels of Siem Reap: Le Meridien, Sokha Hotel, Somadeyi, Victoria Hotel, Tara Hotel and Sofitel. This first immersion, which lasts 6 weeks, aims to set the students in a professional environment, teach them about hygiene rules, teamwork!
 
Do you want to support our vocational training?
Make a donation or sponsor a pastry student!
 

, 20 December 2016

Behind the scenes of a new project at Bayon Pastry School

Riana, 22 years old, tells us about her experience in our pastry school and introduces the beautiful project she was in charge of.
 

I study management at NEOMA Business School in Rouen. Since I entered this school, I have always been willing to follow two principles. The first one is to find out what I am really passionate about and choose my internship according to that. The second one is to keep involved in education for everyone because I am aware of how lucky I have been to be able to study so far. When I was told about Bayon Pastry School, I was immediately interested. I had just finished an internship at Danone, during which my addiction to deserts had grown and I was seeking a mission for an NGO in education. Working for a pastry school? Challenge accepted!
 
At Bayon Pastry School, I was in charge of a pastry cookbook that will be sold to raise money for the pastry training. I had to organize the whole project (the different steps, the budget, the planning…) and write the contents of the book. Our goal is to make a beautiful book that tells the story of the school so that everyone can read it even if they don’t intend to cook!
 
For this purpose, we had to make something different from the other cookbooks thanks to a significant storytelling. Why not immerse into a pastry student’s life? That’s the story I decided to tell. Along the book, we can follow the school year of a young woman: her integration in the school, her first steps in the professional world, her doubts and success, until her graduation! The story is based on testimonies from the students of the second intake (2015-2016). Actually, some testimonies will appear in the book throughout the book. Each chapter contains recipes that are linked to what the student narrator is living. Thus, we encourage the readers to put themselves in her shoes and live this experience with her! The trip wouldn’t be complete without a few pages about Khmer culinary culture and traditions! They are between some chapters to make the reader travel even more… A special guest’s recipe will also appear in the book. To find out more, you’ll have to read the book!
 
This experience will remain and unforgettable adventure and a great time in my studies. I had the chance to manage the project independently in a country that I didn’t know. I think there is no better way to discover and understand the way Khmer people work! The project has a strong creative potential. To write a book was a childhood dream. Conceiving the editorial approach, writing the chapters, giving my ideas… I think I had never felt such a fulfilment and had so much fun! Telling a student’s story also offered a great advantage: I spent a lot of time with the students to get to know their story and built bonds with them. Also, the Bayon team supported me, told me the NGO’s story and helped me understand their values. I keep in my mind a lot of good time, laugh and of course delicacies!
 
A big thank you to the whole staff of Bayon School for these three tremendous months! I am looking forward to having the book in my hands as well as a good passion fruit & chocolate tart!

 
We thank Riana for her enthusiasm, her creativity and her professionalism in implementing this project! We regret that she couldn’t stay with us longer!
 
The preface of the book and a recipe will be written by a renowned French chef who is involved too in access to education for everyone ! Big thanks to this chef whose name will be kept secret for now!
 
Finally, we would like to send our warmest thanks to Natan and Pasquier foundations who are financing this project and enable us to make a beautiful book!
 
The pastry cookbook is in progress and should be ready for sale in 2017. Keep updated!
 

, 26 September 2016

The success of the 2nd pastry intake!

After the students achieved a good final exam session in pastry and complementary classes, we were thrilled to see all of them graduate from Bayon Pastry School!

The final pastry exam

On the 25th and 26th of July, Bayon Pastry School welcomed pastry chefs who gave internships to our students all along the year. Our Khmer president (of Bayon Education & Development) Mai joined the event with her family, which was a very nice surprise.

After drawing a pastry and a bakery recipe, the students had to prepare the two recipes in three hours to delight the jury.

Bayon pastry school final exam
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The graduation ceremony

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On Friday 29th July, the school put on its Sunday best to welcome some students’ parents and key partners in Siem Reap. We were happy that the students could show their parents the environment where they worked all year as well as their cooking talents! Mélanie, complementary classes teachers and Sychay, pastry teacher, gave the students their diploma and a gift. The three best students Silech, Narong and Keang were offered a nice pastry cookbook.

We are overjoyed to reach, just like last year, 100% success in the training! After working hard for eleven months and evolving as personally as professionally, our students are now ready to get to the work world. Only a few days after the end of the training, we are proud to announce that 15 of them have found a job already!
Sreynich, the youngest student, will intensify her skills between the pastry lab and the complementary classes which she needed to revise.

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See more pictures of the graduation ceremony here!

, 2 August 2016

Focus on a partner: Buffalo Tours

Bayon Pastry School is happy to work with the travel agency Buffalo Tours since January 2016. We have interviewed Panya Thin, Regional Manager of Buffalo Tours Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar and Suy Vet, ETA project team leader in Cambodia.
 
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How did you get to work with Bayon Pastry School?
Buffalo Tours includes the ETA department: Educational Travel in Asia. It is about everything related to local community work. It helps us offer sustainable tourism. Before your school was officially open, two ladies came across our office to introduce the project. We were really interested because we are willing to support businesses which change people’s life. A few weeks later, I came over. Nothing was finished yet but I still found it was beautiful. The way you support those vulnerable women is such a meaningful way to do something. So, we convinced our agent to let us arrange this. And now, we serve your products to our customers!
 
In which context do you serve our products to our customers?
We get your products (croissants, financiers, cookies, ginger &cinnamon cakes) on the evening and serve them on the next morning in the temples, after our customers watched the sunrise on Angkor Wat. We drive them to another temple 10 minutes away and they can enjoy a whole breakfast buffet with your products and some coffee, tea and fresh fruits. We display the food on a long table and the people help themselves with a palm box. We don’t want to give them a plate. We thought of the palm box which makes more sense because we can recycle it and it is made in a village where one of my staff is from. It is more responsible.
 
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Do you promote the fact that you work with our pastry school?
Actually, that breakfast is a small part of a whole tour that we provide. We clearly communicated with our agents and that’s why it has been great so far, but our customers do not know much about your products. We have your sign on the buffet (mentioning “Bayon Pastry School made these products”) but from what we see, the customers just want to enjoy the moment. The time and space are so limited, the tourists don’t really know what happens behind the scenes. They just enjoy the service and the good time. But at least, it’s a good thing for them to know that their money doesn’t go to all the big key players or suppliers (hotels, restaurants, flight tickets, cruises…). They can make sure that a part of their expenses actually benefits local people. As much as we think responsible travel is a good way of travelling, it is still not a mass market, in a common sense that people are looking for their comfort zone. Because of the time limit, they don’t really have time to do much of adventure activities or help social projects. So, Buffalo Tours tries to be a link which is sewing tourists and locals in some way.
 
Is Buffalo Tours particularly committed to work with NGO’s and social businesses?
In our tours, we believe that small things can mean big to us, to our customers and to our agent. Everything we do must add a meaning to our tours and hopefully the customers can see that. We work on a competitive market. We have a permanent person in charge of the ETA department in every country where we are established and they are trained every year. We are convinced that sustainable tourism is a competitive advantage. Being able to support communities, even in a small way, is a privilege. We know it’s going to go for a long way. Working with Bayon Pastry School is an opportunity for us to do something different. We think of the future of our company but also of the long future of your NGO. It’s about social enterprise, it’s a great thing because we don’t believe in funding some people the whole time. You know, a lot of NGOs fail in Cambodia because they only have a two year fund, so after two years their project ends. That is why we really encourage people who have these social enterprise ideas, looking for ways to be more sustainable.
 
Would you like to say something about the pastry class and coffee breaks we provided you with a few times?
The group who attended the pastry class gave us an amazing feedback about it, they really appreciated it! Concerning the coffee break, we brought a couple of groups to your place, the story behind the coffee shop meant a lot to them. They also found the quality of the pastries amazing. However, although it is a very nice activity, I think coffee breaks aren’t really suitable for our organization because we have a very limited amount of time. It works only with our ETA department which is a small part of our business.
 
Anything you would like to add to conclude the interview?
Yes, if I may make a couple of suggestions. I hope to see you succeed in a bigger way. For that, you really have to find the right companies to start with. Don’t waste your time with companies who will just “blablabla” but are not really willing to help you. The companies at our level, which we call “global”, especially some of our competitors, are the right companies to go to. It could bring you to a longer way. Also, you have to work with hotels. I know that the big ones already have pastry chefs but maybe target at boutique hotels.
 
A big thank you to Panya and Vet who granted some of their precious time for that interview!

, 29 June 2016

Bayon Pastry School Coffee shop celebrates its first anniversary!

After a well-deserved holiday for Khmer New Year, the team of the pastry school organized an event to celebrate the coffee shop first anniversary.

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On the morning of Sunday 24th of April, a party atmosphere prevailed at Bayon Pastry School Coffee shop. About thirty partners of the school (hotels who welcome our students for internships, business clients, suppliers and friends of the NGO) enjoyed a breakfast buffet to discover or rediscover our products.

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Romnea, who manages the coffee shop, and some students were mobilized to help us. They made an astounding work! It was a real management exercise for Romnea and an interesting role-playing for our pastry apprentices!

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Claire, our program director, took the floor to remind the origin of our project. Then, two partners spoke. Sopheap Doung, Human Resources Manager at Amansara hotel, highlighted the benefits for students about being immersed in big hotels for their internships and her satisfaction about Bayon Pastry School students. Afterwards, Antoine Lhomme, Food and Beverage Manager at Heritage hotel, explained why the establishment chose to be provided with bread and croissants from the school.

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Some posters tracing the pastry school’s story were exhibited in the garden. You can see them by clicking here.

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Finally, the anniversary party was the ideal opportunity to present a new pastry that has been created for our school by Samuel Potiron, pastry chef, at the request of Natan Foundation which supports our project. That pastry, called the “Natan”, is a mango mousse dome on a French shortbread. It was served in exclusivity and is now on the coffee shop menu.

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The Natan

A big thank you to the staff of the school and to the students for their involvement and to the guests for being by our sides for this special morning!

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, 26 April 2016