Silver Spoon’s Sacred Element of Service
We always hear about people who were born in the lap of luxury and go on to create success, not despite the odds but because of them. These people leave one with the sense that you have to be born with a silver spoon to get somewhere in life. However, MYD’s meeting with Tom and Elke Mutavdzic of the Silver Spoon Hospitality Academy in Windhoek reiterated the idea that anyone can achieve their dreams, no matter what.
The delicious smells wafting through the hallways makes the mouth water, and its obvious that Silver Spoon Culinary Academy is cooking. The first thing you notice when you walk into SilverSpoon Hospitality Academy is the massive warehouse-like space and a mural in one corner wall with the words: If you fail, never give up because F.A.I.L means “First Attempt in Learning”. This sentiment is exactly what drives Tom and Elke, and what led the couple to opening SilverSpoon. Their most recent win for the academy is getting international approval from the prestigious City and Guilds.
Tom explained that the path that led to the culinary academy started with himself as a young man in Otavi, without matric certificate, looking for a way to be a success in life, even though many believed he’d been a lost cause. “Look at the drop outs, look what they’ve achieved. Its their drive. I was a failure at school, so I wanted to show them all.”
After working abroad for many years and learning about the service industry in Europe, Tom came home and was inspired to give back to his community all that he had learnt. Now of course the path was not quite as simple nor as smooth as it sounds, but the essential element that led Tom to success was his drive to succeed.
Stemming from their belief that anyone can be successful, the couple are rooting for the underdog and enjoy seeing young people from otherwise disadvantageous backgrounds proving their worth in the academy’s massive open plan kitchen. One of their prodigies, currently a chef in Melborne Australia, also started as a drop-out like Tom, and went on to open the Nest Hotel in Lüdertitz before the age of 21. When it comes to their students, the pair instilled a discipline that is evident from the first moment one enters the large spacious and very modern kitchen, where young people in white uniforms all greet you with a “Good Afternoon”, a discipline which Tom says is an important part of learning to be a chef.
Being in the service industry is about exactly that: service. Its about making people comfortable, to make them enjoy the experience, and in the process there’s the potential of a waiter earning more in tips than what the chief earns. “Waitering in Namibia has never been seen as a profession”, says Tom, but he is adamant to change that. They are, as Tom says, guests’ first point of contact with a restaurant. Tom is still struggling to convince restaurateurs and laymen alike of the importance of well-trained waitrons. According to him, “good service is good business.”
For more information about the short and professional courses available at Silver Spoon Culinary Academy, please visit their website here.