Student Takeover: Chef Mini and her happy helpers

Authored by:
Maylen Rafuls

Maylen Rafuls

This blog is written by CIEE Toulouse Session 1 student Busira. Busira is originally from Nigeria and has been living in the United States since she was seven years old. In this blog, she writes about the wonderful noodles cooked by another student, aspiring young chef Mini.  Having emigrated to the U.S. at the age of eight years old, Mini is in close touch with her Jarai roots (an ethnic group from the Vietnamese Central Highlands) and the wonderful cuisine of the Asian world.  In the post below, Busira describes Mini's initiative to feed a group of her friends during an afternoon at the beach. I happened to walk into this wonderful cooking party almost at its end and Chef Mini, in her endless generosity, invited me to also partake in the noodles. And I must say, they were simply DELISH! 

Chef Mini and her happy helpers 

By Busira

From left to right: Monica, Annie, Bella, Chef Mini, Eleana, Zoe, Busira

The weekend at Port Vendres was an adventure-filled one all around. The day started with everyone waking up at 5 am for a 6am hike to the beach. The three-hour hike, although somewhat difficult, was worth the many beautiful views as well as the blue sea at the end of it. The water felt amazing but with that satisfaction and self accomplishment came a little bit of a ravenous hunger. We ended up eating our lunches immediately after the hike at about 10 am and then we went to get ice cream to take away a little bit of the hunger. On the bus ride back to the hotel, Mini noticed how the rest of us complained about being hungry and decided to make something spicy. Someone suggested noodles and so noodles it was. 

Chef Mini finishes up a mango side salad for the noodles

Mini says, “I made the noodles because my friends and I were craving spicy food, so a friend and I went to the grocery store to search for ingredients. I had to improvise but that’s okay. I was thankful to use the hostel's kitchen and to have my friends helping me because I missed cooking”.

After everyone took a little breather in our rooms, we started cooking. Mostly Mini did the cooking but we all tried to help in little ways. Bella helped cut the mango and the lemons. Annie helped mince the spinach. Monica helped put the noodles in water. The others and I became motivational coaches who helped whenever we were needed. Chef Mini took very good care of us in the kitchen. We took a couple of videos during the cooking process to lighten the mood and keep memories and it was all worth it! 

From left to right: lemons, lettuce, pork, noodles

I have promised chef Mini that I will replicate her meal when I get home, so wait for the good news!


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