vdc visits koto college vietnam
Senior Project Manager Sharon Waitzer couldn’t miss the opportunity to see the KOTO Training School first hand whilst in Vietnam as well as experience a cooking class. Sharon reports…

Whilst on a cycling holiday across Vietnam, I accepted an invitation to go to KOTO College in Ha Noi and meet Jimmy Pham the Founder of KOTO. Jimmy will be presenting at the complimentary VDC VET Thought Leaders function in Melbourne on 18 October 2016. The KOTO Project supports and develops street kids & disadvantaged youth pass into successful careers. One aspect is KOTO operates a Cooking Classes in Ha Noi. KOTO provides a hands-on approach. We enjoyed taking a market tour with a KOTO chef, followed by returning back to the kitchen with the end result of a typical Vietnamese menu.  With the market I was mesmerised by the smells, the textures and the vibrant colours. This was the perfect chance to really discover what the food of Vietnam is all about. The Vietnamese food is not only healthy but is also amazing to taste. The herbs and spices made the dishes a real delight which not only tastes delicious, but was also a visual joy. I learned how to prepare spring rolls, Pho-soup, seafood dishes and Vietnamese desserts all guided by KOTO’s head chef.

koto's head chef
Following the cooking class, we happen to stop at Ha Noi Social Club, a small coffee house and food in the heart of old quarter, only to find out that is run by graduates of KOTO. Then I opened up the Vietnam News to find a feature article on a new restaurant, Masion Tet Decor. The article went on to explain the owner was a KOTO graduate.  Jimmy Pham and KOTO has clearly had an influence on street kids, the local community and business in Ha Noi. Upon meeting Jimmy, he expressed ambitions to replicate this successful model in Saigon and other parts of the world.