THE holder of the Tanzanian Chef of the Year Award 2012, Michael Matera, has attributed his success to hard work and an insatiable willingness to learn.
The 31-year-old who is one of the chefs at the Singita Grumeti Reserves (SGR) said over the weekend that he started from humble beginnings, as an ordinary cook, but sheer commitment and dedication saw him rise through the ranks. He won the title in December last year.
Speaking at a luncheon held over the weekend, to congratulate Mr Matera, SGR Managing Director, Graham Ledger said the company was proud of the young chef's success. Mr Ledger said nine years ago, Matera was an ordinary staff cook at Sabora but now, through hard work and learning, has become an experienced chef at SGR lodges which for the second year running in 2012 was rated the best hotel in the world.
Matera said that for being Tanzania's chef of the year, Serena Hotels which was one of the sponsors of the competition that brought together 14 chefs from various major hotels in the country, has offered him to visit Uganda where he will stay at Victoria Serena Kampala for two nights and Entebbe Serena for two nights.
Another sponsor, Southern Sun Hotels has offered him to visit South Africa where he will tour a chain of Southern Sun hotels. Southern Sun Hotels will meet all costs, including air tickets, accommodation and will give him 500 US dollars pocket money.
Matera said he is planning to make the visits this month. Explaining how he became hot kitchen chef at SGR, which runs exclusive and high profile lodges, Matera who hails from Mugumu, Serengeti District said he started as a staff cook at Sabora Tented Camp in 2003.
He cooked for the staff for eight months and the company sent him to Arusha for a two-week refresher course and after coming back he was directly sent to the main kitchen at Sabora. In June 2005 he was transferred to flagship Sasakwa Lodge where in August the same year was promoted to Assistant Senior Chef de Partie.
He stayed in that position until September 2007 when he was promoted to become Senior Chef de Partie. In January 2012 he was promoted to become Junior Souse Chef, the position he is holding now at the same lodge.