Dreams Coming True for Namibian Chefs
“I feel excited and I am looking forward to the competition, especially the people we are going to be competing against when we win the cup.” Says Brendall Masambo who goes on to say, “I have always been passionate about cooking, I always wanted to be a chef in fact, but growing up my uncles told me that a man shouldn’t be in the kitchen. But I ignored them, I followed my dreams and now look where I am.”
Brendall is one member of a seven-member team of Namibian chefs that have been selected to compete next month in the Alen Tong Golden Coffee Pot Competition in Abu Dhabi. Only nine countries have been invited to compete. Namibia is one of those nine. 99FM’s MYD Smart spoke to the enthusiastic chefs at the Silver Spoon Hospitality Academy in Windhoek, where they are swiftly moving around the kitchen, preparing themselves for what is set to be a hallmark of their careers.
Terry Jenkinson, Head of Culinary Art at Silverspoon Hospitality Academy and Team Manager, and Sanet Prinsloo, President of Namibian Chef Association who is also accompanying the team as a country judge in the competition, explain that this invitation is an honouring of the development that has been happening in the culinary space in Namibia. According to Sanet, “We have a relationship with the Chefs Association after we hosted the African Culinary Cup two years back. Then, we fell into the Africa and the Middle East region and at the time Thomas Gugler was the leader for our region. He is currently the president of the World Association of Chefs.”
The competition will be stiff, “A team of five chefs will be attending the competition along with two assistants and on the 4th and 5th of December they will be cooking in the kitchen of a five star hotel, cooking for 44 people including the photographers and judges.” Explains Sanet.
For one of the chefs on the team, Gerson Varela, this is a proud moment, “I feel great, even though it still has to sink in. I feel amazed, blessed and I am very thankful for this opportunity.”
Gerson explains that what he loves about being a chef is that, “You get to be creative, blend flavours and most importantly you learn how to be innovative by turning disasters into extravagant combinations.”
Sanet explains that while they are aiming for the cup, they are also hoping to gain exposure for the chefs. “We want to expose Namibian chefs to the international culinary world and put Namibia on the map as a refined culinary country. I am hoping the chefs come back with new creative ideas and get exposure to the latest trends in food.”
If you want to get involved and support our budding Namibian chefs, they will be hosting a final practise dinner on the 28th of November. As the Namibian Chefs Association is a non profit organisation, all assistance would be most welcome. Contact Barbara on +264 811243545 or Tom on +264 811280496 to book your seat and send our chefs off in style.