Where food is involved, we don’t really bother with intros, that’s how food gets cold, dig in!
I grew up in Highfield, Harare in a family of 6; my parents, 3 brothers, 2 sisters and myself being the fourth born. Did my primary studies at Rusvingo Primary School and my Secondary studies at Churchill Boys High School.
Pursuit of Passion
The journey started when l decided to quit my Secondary Advanced Level studies to embark on pursuing culinary studies in 2015. So, I applied through the Government of Zimbabwe for a 3 years apprenticeship program to train with Holiday Inn Harare. On completion of this program, I then furthered my theoretical studies with the School of Tourism and Hospitality in Bulawayo; the home of most great chefs in Zimbabwe.
When you are a child, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” is always a frequent question people ask you. l don’t remember a single day telling anybody that l want to be a chef. Moreover, no one was a chef by then in our family that l would say l’m trying to emulate. But after l realized that the only way to be connected to every race on earth – which is everyone’s goal even God’s, is through a HUMAN NEED, something they can not leave without such as FOOD; I became inspired to pursue a culinary career. So we can safely conclude that the strong bond and love between humans and food is what motivated me to become a chef.
My family has been extremely supportive especially my parents. I am forever grateful because it’s not the same support l got from my friends and other people l knew outside my family. Possibly because it’s just something they were not anticipating l would do. That is to drop out of high school and start pursuing culinary studies of all the school programs, as if l had no other better program options to pick from.
My becoming a chef is something my friends never envisioned would be a part of my dreams. So the passion and energy to achieve something became my driving force to continue regardless of other people’s expectations and opinions. Nonetheless, l believe that my friends were right for not supporting my choice to some extent. The responsibility was solely on me to stand for my decision and prove with results which I’m glad l did.
So to every young person out there, never think your parents, family or friends don’t love you enough when they fight your decisions. It’s your responsibility to define, explain and prove right your career choice to the. That’s how real passion for something is tried and tested and every successful brand today has gone through that.
You can only be great when you start appreciating those that are great already. There is also no shortcut to attaining lasting success. So the first thing l did when l decided to be a chef was to google “Who is the best Chef in the world?”. The top name popped up and from that moment on I started following the steps of Gordon Ramsay. I followed all his cooking tutorials to dot and still follow him today. Truth is there is nothing new under the sun. Everything we are striving to be, someone somewhere is a better version of it already and only those who are humble will follow the great and become even greater. I’ve learnt agrrat deal from Ramsay which has successfully brought me this far. Furthermore, besides following the most renowned chef, Holiday Inn Harare Chefs helped me so much in polishing my basic cooking skills to perfection. They are the genesis of what l’m doing now. I also recall that during my training process with them l would get paid and use that money to invest in my skill so that it becomes more improved than yesterday whilst others were buying new clothes and phones. This contributed to my learning process and success extensively. Not forgetting to mention Uebert Angel as another major influence in my journey.
Education is an essential tool that successful people can’t do without. Learning how to cook and understanding the origins of it made my journey easy. I remember when l was a trainee at Holiday Inn Harare, l was only entitled to do 2 weeks per section but l would push for 3 months just to get more equipped. Reason being my biggest fear was getting exposed to the world without enough knowledge to sustain you up there and eventually you then fall.
The only problem with education when you start getting better no one commends you. But make one mistake and all your trainers will be there to pin point at it. However, being corrected is necessary because if they do tell you “you are now perfect “ you stop learning.
Overcoming Career Obstacles
Being a chef is definitely not as glorious as it seems on TV and on social media. Working under constant pressure, standing on your feet for long hours, enduring the pain from cuts and burns, heavy lifting, noise, heat, smoke, discouragement are just a few things you must go through as a Chef.
How did I overcome all these obstacles? Well, there are over a billion different careers on this planet but all share one common denominator and that is PASSION. Anything done with passion will always be successful. Doesn’t matter if it’s even thievery, as long as that thief has passion and is determined in stealing, he/she will always succeed. This truth has been my driving force through thick and thin. Passion is the only thing that will promote you to another level when you are faced by obstacles.
Knowing one day l would turn my passion into a business brand that will compete with other food outlets and restaurants that are local, l had to engage myself into more culinary competitions whilst l was still a student. Earned my first award in 2016, 1ST Prize at RIO-SET Culinary Competition. Then in 2017 l participated in the national chefs competition which was hosted by Zimbabwe Chefs Association and managed to win a bronze medal whilst representing Holiday Inn, Harare. I then got selected to be in the national team which was to which was going to participate in the South Africa for African Chefs competition -an annual culinary competition in honour of Nelson Mandela. l participated in 2 of the categories and won a gold medal in the Student Skills Challenge category and a silver medal in the BBQ Shisanyama Challenge.
In 2018, Zimbabwe Chefs Association hosted the National Chefs Competition again for all the Hotels, Restaurants and Culinary School’s. My culinary friends, Chefs Clayton and Ashbright and I formed our team called Fine Dining to participate. The Fine Team won a gold medal in the top live cooking competition against well known hotels and restaurants in Zimbabwe. Additionally, l won a silver medal for Best Restaurant Platters whilst representing Manna Resorts. Also note worthy to mention is my recently launched signature mobile restaurant called BBQ’ue.
However, when all is said and done, the greatest achievement will always be a satisfied customer. That’s my every day battle if not everyone’s in business because a customer is the only boss that can fire everybody in the company from the chairman down on. How? By simply by spending his/her money somewhere else so maintaining a satisfied customer base is an on going race.
The biggest misconception about being a chef that society believes is that “It’s a low paying job”. This misconception is popular in most African societies.
I personally believe that being a Chef is not a job, it’s a passion. So it is how you define it that makes you either rich or poor at the end. I strongly believe that any product or service that meets a human need will never go down. The world has over 7 billion people and under normal circumstances these people get hungry each day. This means that each day as a chef l have 7 billion opportunities to explore my skill to someone somewhere. Therefore it is my responsibility to come up with a profitable service that meets that need.
Biggest Career Lessons
- Be humble and you will learn more. Show them you are too intelligent to be teachable and you will learn less.
- Choose what you love not what people call “ right”- nuggets of wisdom from my father. And l’m glad l managed to choose what l love. The greatest feeling any person can ever have is to love what you do.
- Do It Now. Don’t Be lazy. Ignore the salary they pay you when you’re training and focus on gaining more knowledge. I believe those are the only 3 phrases that differentiate successful and unsuccessful people.
- Completing my new book titled “Behind The Restaurant “ which centers around how to become a great chef.
- Launching soon is the Fine Dining MasterClass. I’m In which I’ll be teaching home cooks how to prepare world class restaurant dishes in their own kitchens.