The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe Chefs Shine At SA Culinary Fest

Zimbabwean chefs raised the country's flag high at the recent Happy All African People Imbizo culinary festival in Bramfontein, South Africa.

David Lupenga from Crowne Plaza, Aida Mambo and Alice Dumba from Meikles Hotel who were headed by Brighton Nekatambe from Elephant Hills Hotel constituted Team Zimbabwe. They scooped a gold medal for coming out tops in the live cooking competition and a bronze for being third in the green cooking competition.

"The competition was stiff as we found ourselves competing against presidential and executive chefs from other countries. We were not intimidated, but did our best that we ended up being the best in the category that we won," said Nekatambe.

The five-day festival saw seven countries -- Morocco, Mauritius, Lesotho, Ghana, South Africa and Zimbabwe -- battling it out in a competition that was meant to promote African dishes on the international scene.

"It was a learning curve for all the participants in terms of equipment and skills as we got to exchange notes and recipes. We also gave our Zimbabwean dishes a firm representation by using sweet potatoes, mopani worms and okra," said Chef Dumba.

The chefs added that they were going to share their knowledge with local chefs especially at the upcoming Sanganai/Hlanganani expo.

"Dietary trends are changing and we should move with the times too. The most impressive lesson, however, was the cooking green technique where we are encouraged to cook at molecular level.

"These are meals that are light and balanced without compromising the nutritional value," added group member Lu- penga.

The inaugural festival was organised by African Chefs United. It has also been dubbed the Nelson Mandela Festival in honour of the iconic leader. It will take place in South Africa again next year before being rotated to other countries.

The chefs that represented the country are also among the best in the country. They have multiple awards in their names and have made headlines in various local culinary competitions.

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