Regional tourism, conservation, media and development professionals from Rwanda, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo, last weekend gathered in Kigali for an invite only culinary competition where they sampled different chef’s food, while networking at the Kigali Marriott Hotel.
The competition attracted 16 chefs from the three countries with Rwanda, the host country, having the majority, with 8 chefs, Uganda 7 and one from Congo.
The chefs showed off awesome skills in preparing a two-course meal. Each chef had to cook enough for five people, catering for vegetarians too and the meat element had to be chicken and beef. Unlike previous years, the competitors did not know what ingredients were awaiting them.
Due to the smaller size of the kitchen, the chefs prepared their meals in two shifts, with one batch battling it out in the morning, and the other in the afternoon and presented their food before a panel of five judges, including a representative from Rwanda Development Board, Uganda Tourism Board, a representative from Congo, GH Silverchef competition 2017 winner, Allan Mukasa. They were headed by regional travel blogger Prof. Wolfgang Thome.
At the grand finale, that took place on Sunday, the chefs were awarded certificates of participation and good cooking. The overall winner was a Rwandan, Ramadhan Sindayigaya, who was crowned with a silver hat and a certificate of excellence.
Sindayigaya was the first runner up of last year’s competition that took place in Uganda.
The event also saw a junior competition where children showcased their culinary skills with the help of adults.
The Gorilla Highlands Silverchef competition was launched in 2011 to promote culinary excellence in Uganda.
Rwanda was brought on board two years ago when the geographical ‘reach’ of the Gorilla Highlands was expanded in a bid to promote the idea of having young chefs from resorts, safari lodges and hotels come together, start a network, test their skills and create a fellowship of young professionals.
It is the first time DR Congo participated in the competition.
At the event, Miha Logar, the brains behind the Gorilla Highlands project, revealed that the project was shifting its operations to Rwanda because of its stability and being at the centre of the region.
“The three countries have different amazing cultures yet they share the same region of gorilla highlands. We want to bring our different experiences, Rwanda with its homegrown solutions, Uganda’s entrepreneur spirit and Congo’s hospitality together to learn from each other,” he said about the purpose of the competition.