Anyone who enjoys cooking has probably wondered about what it might be like to work as a chef at a high end eatery. And let’s be honest; much as we all enjoy a perfectly-cooked meal, very few will endure the time it takes for one to cut their teeth in the world of professional cooking. Besides the formal education in culinary arts, for many, the knowledge and skills are simply gained during those long hours in the kitchen. However, those who want to reach the pinnacle of the profession could be well served by choosing a culinary degree in addition to an apprenticeship. Though he is Rwandan, Fred Ntare started his career in Kenya because it is where he was born. While young, he says he had many choices but later in life, decided to become a chef, to the surprise of his parents who wondered why he chose that against many career options. Kiyimba joined Park Inn from Intercontinental Hotel in Kenya in April 2018, and has loved every day of working at the hotel. “I went through college in Kenya where I was taught everything about becoming a chef which takes time. It requires countless hours of hard work, especially in the early years. “Paying your dues is definitely what aspiring chefs must do to reach the upper ranks of the profession,” says Ntare. He narrates that after school in 2006, he did three internships in one of the best hotels in Kenya and it is here that he horned his skills in the kitchen. “I spent most hours in the kitchen; I would work from morning to 9pm as if I was being paid a salary. However, the exposure to professionals in the kitchen is what matters, and over time I worked my way up the ladder to the more appealing tasks. “The time I spent toiling in the trenches of kitchen helped answer the big question: Is this what I really wanted to do? And that was a yes,” says Ntare. According to him, additional training under the tutelage of a professional chef, whether it’s through an internship, apprenticeship or simply through day-to-day work, will sharpen the skills and knowledge every chef needs. “I started as a casual and after I went to a level called a polisher and later I jumped the other step and went straight to senior position because of the passion and love that I had for the job,” he narrates. Ntare says that he loves to stay in one place and that way he gets and acquires the needed knowledge. “I am a person who does not move from place to place. I love to leave a legacy and you can only do that when you stay longer in a place. His advice to those who want to become chefs is that cooking is an art and one has to be dedicated and passionate about it. Cooking people have to go to school and learn the art of cooking. “Formal education is not required to become a chef. However, a degree from a culinary school may offer exposure to a wide range of skills and ideas that can’t be found anywhere else. A culinary degree may also be an advantage when looking for a job, as it provides background learning,” he says About working in Rwanda, most specifically at the Kiyovu-based Park Inn, Ntare says it is one place that he found very conducive to work. “Rwanda is a very beautiful place to work and I believe that I will stay for some time. “I love cooking local delicacies here and what drives me is the love I have for cooking and the joy on a client’s face when he or she is enjoying my menu,” he adds.