Meet Mohamad Dweak
Mohamad Dweak, a passionate young man from Jerusalem, dreamed of developing his talent in cooking: “what I really wanted to do is to cook and be a professional chef.” Then he came across an advertisement for a cooking training, implemented by Palestine Education For Employment (PEFE), with the collaboration of the Kitchen-Club, and funded by GIZ on behalf of the German government. He reminisce, "When I saw this training opportunity, that supports the Jerusalemites youth, I applied without having a second though.”
The training was comprised of Workplace Success and a specialized training in cooking. Reflecting on the soft skills Workplace Success training, Mohamad recalled, “It was one of the best experience I ever had. The trainer was exceptional. He was kind and understanding and quite helpful. He taught us how to best address the costumers, especially when they’re mad or frustrated, or how to communicate effectively with the other chefs in the kitchen. And I was a very shy person, and the trainer helped me overcome this barrier and express myself freely when introducing some of my dishes to the costumers."
Mohamad thrived in the practical kitchen-based training. "I was very inspired by the chefs I met. I applied everything they asked for, and they always followed up with me whenever I needed additional explanation. I learned basic principles in cooking, how to decorate the dish and present it in an amiable way to the costumers, the best methods to chop the vegetables and fruits, and the proper ways to store the food, so we can keep them fresh and clean. And we also learned very important terms in English for the food and dishes.”
Practical learning in a real kitchen setting played an important role in Mohamed’s skill-building. "Wearing the chef’s white suit in the kitchen, the chef separated us into groups of five, and gave each group its own menu. He was very strict to the time factor, in the matter of serving the dishes exactly in time in the best quality. Afterwards, we would prepare a feast with all our dishes, and the chef would give us his feedback, and evaluate our performance and results, then all of us would sit together and enjoy what we cooked."
Mohamad is now working as a chef in Mak Sandwich, a popular Jerusalem eatery. "Throughout this experience, I felt that everyone just encouraged me and pushed me forward so I would achieve my goals. Therefore, I want to thank PEFE and the GIZ for giving me what I always wished for, but never had the chance to acquire."