Regional culinary competition comes to Kigali

Guests and chefs tasting dishes at last year’s Silverchef competition in Kabale, Uganda.

Regional culinary competition, Gorilla Highlands Silverchef, competition will for the first time take place in Kigali, on Saturday April 28, at the Kigali Marriott Hotel, bringing together 16 chefs from Rwanda, Uganda and Congo,

Tourism, conservation, media and development professionals from the three countries will come together for an invite only event where they will sample chef’s food and network as vital matters concerning the region, such as how to best promote the region for the sake of its social and economic development, will be discussed.

At the competition, chefs will be grouped into two shifts with one batch battling it out in the morning, and the other in the afternoon. Unlike previous years, the competitors will not know what ingredients are awaiting them.

The chefs will prepare a two-course meal, of restaurant cuisine, for the panel of five judges that will include representatives from Rwanda Development Board, Uganda Tourism Board, a representative from Congo, GH Silverchef competition 2017 winner, Allan Mukasa all headed by regional travel blogger Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Thome.

The grand finale of the regional cooking competition will take place the following day, open to everybody with a brunch at the Kigali Marriott Hotel that includes cuisine inspired by chefs’ competition entries, a raffle with attractive prizes, cooking challenge for kids assisted by top chefs, live music and the crowning of the Gorilla Highlands Silverchef 2018 winners.

About the culinary competition

The Gorilla Highlands Silverchef competition was launched in 2011 to promote culinary excellence in the South West of 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 that Congo will be participating in the competition. This year, Rwanda the host country will have 8 representatives, Uganda will have 7 representatives and 1 from Congo.

Miha Logar, the brains behind the Gorilla Highlands project, shared that the competition will not only be about feasting and showcasing the top cuisine of the Gorilla Highlands region, but rather an occasion to engage top stakeholders.

“In terms of culture, history and environment, Rwanda, South western Uganda, and eastern Congo are the same. We talk about gorillas because they are the unique selling point of the region but in reality we are about community tourism and culture and more than just gorillas.

It matters so much to have a chance to come together and meet other people and we try to downplay the competition bit of it and focus the benefits. Chefs compete seriously and professionally but the point is what happens around it,” he said.

He added that after a couple years of hosting the competition in Uganda, they wanted to move it to Kigali. It was by coincidence that Kigali Marriot Hotel requested for the competition to be hosted in Kigali.

“Recently we have been seeing Rwanda as the center of the region, especially being a stable country. Every year since we launched the competition, it has improved and people who attend become a part of it. This year’s number of chefs is by far the biggest number.

To the chefs, it gives them network, exposure, new knowledge, opportunities and boost their careers. That’s about the chefs personal benefits but it needs to make sense to the hotels as well and I hope that it raises everybody’s standards. If we focus on food it means that it needs to be improved overtime at all levels, highlighting the tourism offer that we all benefit from as a region,” he said.


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