Exchange student Arya Dika has spent most of the school year acclimating himself to his new school and new living space in Oakhurst, but last Wednesday he treated some of his Yosemite High School classmates to a taste of his true home.
Dika is senior from Indonesia and for his foreign-exchange student project, he challenged his peer communications class to an Indonesian cooking contest. The competition asked groups of students to try their hand and cooking four different dishes from Dika’s home country: tumis kangkung (sautéed spinach), perkedel kentang (potato cakes), sambal pedas (spicy sauce) and jus alpukat (avocado juice).
“It’s inspired by my mom because my mom loves to cook and I just want to show them what it is I love to eat,” he said of the project.
The competition took place in the school’s home economics classroom from 11:30 a.m. through the lunch period.
Its 20 participants were divided into four groups, with Dika roaming around answering any questions his peers had. The participants were all given sheets of paper with ingredients and directions for each dish.
Ingredients were found at the room’s center table, where you could always find a group or two gathered, trying to figure out what to grab for their next dish.
Dishes were judged by Kellie Solomon, teacher of the peer communication class; librarian Sophia Ewert; Allison Bernardi, a former student of Solomon visiting from Chico State; and Dika.
Solomon raved about Dika’s enthusiasm for his project and education.
“When Arya wants to do something, we as a class have learned to just say yes. He’s just so passionate,” Solomon said.
Students surrendered their lunch period to participate in the project, but Solomon said none of the participants really minded due to their excitement for the contest
“It’s so awesome. It took a lot of hard work and optimism, just keeping up the good work and making it happen,” Dika said.
The winning group took home a pair of gift cards, a gift certificate to local Mexican restaurant El Cid and a small gift basket.