JWANENG: The Chef of Excellence competition has grown in leaps and bounds with an increased number of participants dazzling the judges with their creative mouth-watering dishes.
Camp Management Service Botswana held the fourth instalment of the competition over the weekend, which brought together eight finalists from camps around Botswana.
According to the Camp Manager, Bradley James Hall this time around they wanted to show talent by presenting live cooking station for the guests.
The competition has come a long way since its inception in 2011 when two finalists were sent to France for a three-month course. In 2012, the event organisers expanded the competition to six camps with 15 contestants. Eight made it to the finals and two emerged winners and were sent to South Africa Hotel International School. About 37 contestants registered for the competition in 2013. Two winners were sent to the United States of America on a one-year training course.
Hall said the school offered less qualification, but a certificate of competence.
He also said this year’s finalists would attend a year-long training course at the International Hotel School in Durban. In addition, they will spend two months in the United Kingdom on attachment.
Hall added that they plan to have 100 contestants for the preliminares in Botswana next year and extend their training to schools across the country.
“We intend to involve the community and offer them cooking lessons, where they can learn how to prepare tasty and healthy dishes for their families,” he said.
One of the winners, Constance Toteng from the Orapa camp expressed gratitude for the opportunity to further her catering studies.
She said her love for cooking started several years back when she used to prepare lunch packs for her husband who always came home with positive feedback from his colleagues who later insisted that she would make an excellent chef.
Toteng then enrolled for a catering course at Madirelo Centre and was put on attachment at the Orapa camp.
After two months, she returned to continue with her studies but was called back to work for the same company.
“I think they were impressed by (my) performance as well as my passion for cooking. I especially love pastries,” he said.
Toteng said she has received immense support from her husband and the Jwaneng camp staff. The elated chef is convinced that her mushroom potatoes and chocolate dessert won the hearts of the adjudicators.