Local chefs from different Cresta establishments across Botswana, and one from Zambia recently took part in the annual Cresta Hotels Chefs Competition. The competition mainly acts as a training exercise for junior chefs. It also acted as a way for them to showcase their culinary skills.
The competition has been going on for eight years, and has united the forces of different chefs across the nation to create a spectacular event which takes place annually. The executive chef who organized the event, Daudi Phire, describes the recent event as a brilliant show that featured various culinary talents.
The competition was separated into six main categories including cold platters, main course and dessert, main course for two people, Pastry, fruits and vegetables, and live cooking. The diverse categories presented a chance for the chefs to practice and show off their skills. Phire says the most exciting part of the competition was all the unique talent that came out. As the Cresta establishments usually only cater to local markets, the chefs don’t get many opportunities to practice with international cuisines. So the competition was finally a chance for them to expand to foreign culinary areas.
The annual competition, he says, has been extremely beneficial to the culinary industry in Botswana as a whole. He says after the different past competitions, chefs have been so inspired by the different cuisines and techniques showcased that they’ve gone on to implement them at their own hotels. Phire also says the competition has led to the establishment of a National Chefs Association. The new venture will include all the chefs in Botswana, and not just ones from Cresta establishments. The objective of the association is to have a national team of the country’s most talented chefs to compete in future international culinary competitions, such as ‘The Chefs World Cup’ that happens every four years.
Phire says the talent showcased in this year’s competition was the best he’d ever seen. Compared to previous years, the chefs this year were more determined and had clearly done more research before the competition. He says the level of skill showcased was at an international level, and that Botswana chefs are now prepared to represent the country in global competitions.