Chef Penda’s Passion
Early this year, the doors to Goûts d’Afrique, an Ethiopian-inspired African fusion restaurant with a French touch, opened at the FNCC in Windhoek. With a unique blend of Ethiopian traditional cuisine and coffee, and passionate people behind the scenes, this African inspired restaurant is making a mark.
Under the guidance of Ms Terberh Woldu, a regular at the Bio Market in Windhoek, and Windhoek born Chef Penda Nangolo, patrons to Goûts d’Afrique are as excited about this new addition to Windhoek’s gastronomy selection as the team is. Demonstrating the passion required to make such a dream a reality is the head chef of this new restaurant, Chef Penda, whose passion is palpable.
“It was always a passion, that is why I became one. My sister used to work for Kalahari Sands, back in the days when it was still called Kalahari Sands. After school, or in holidays I would go do holiday jobs there. Then the passion really started to grow, so I decided that once I am finished with school I am going to become a chef.”
“It’s very exciting.” Says Chef Penda, who explains what makes this new restaurant unique, “We get our coffee beans from Ethiopia and roast them here, and we get our teas from Ethiopia. It’s really something special, something new. You eat with your hands. There is something like mahangu, but it’s made into a pancake. It’s really very good, some spicy food and we use mostly Namibian products, expect for the coffee and tea. Terberh Woldu is Ethiopian,” explains Penda, who adds that she wanted to bring Ethiopian food to Namibia. “It is really good food and really healthy.”
Explaining his journey to become a chef, Penda notes, “It’s been a long journey. I started in 1995, right after I finished school. I’ve worked for hotels such as the Windhoek Country Club, Hilton and Avani. I was the Executive Chef for NWR, I did three lodges, and I was at Polytechnic (now Namibia University of Science and Technology) and I studied in South Africa.”
Passion was what drove this highlighted career, “It was always a passion, that is why I became one. My sister used to work for Kalahari Sands, back in the days when it was still called Kalahari Sands. After school, or in holidays I would go do holiday jobs there. Then the passion really started to grow, so I decided that once I am finished with school I am going to become a chef.”
The path to get there was long and hard, as Chef Penda explains, “It was very hard, its takes a lot of commitment, dedication and long hours of work.”
Chef Penda recommends you try his Ethiopian food, with Namibian flare, “It is something new and exciting. Healthy food for a very good price, and using Namibian products. I like to use fresh products, Namibian products and always fresh.”