From Haggling at West African Markets to Global Food Innovations

Dear members, you haven’t heard from me for some time — and that was because I was absent and overwhelmed! I did not expect to be going to West Africa abruptly, but that is what happened!

When I presented my life story to you, I noted my stint at the Sheraton Hotel in Conakry, Guinea. I was honoured when they remembered me while dealing with a critical situation. The economic impact of the pandemic had terribly disturbed their daily operations (for instance, they lost expatriates who held key positions) and they invited me back to restructure their kitchen and restaurant activities. They flew me from Rwanda to Guinea, and I thought it would be for two weeks only. It ended up being a whole month of training, establishing standards, negotiating with open air market vendors … you name it.

I might have stayed even longer but there was a new job awaiting me in Kigali! I had been confirmed as the Sub-Saharan Africa Culinary Chef of Griffith Foods, a global company with a brand new office in Kigali. Let me introduce my new employer to you: Griffith Foods has almost two centuries of experience in global product development, and they specialise in high-quality food ingredients. Seasonings, sauces, dressings and value added coatings are their forte. They are also committed to sustainability and local sourcing, and thus totally in line with what I believe in. 

The game has changed for me — from a hotel kitchen I am moving to a kitchen lab!  I will be missing my regular customers, but I’ll expand my customer base in a new, rather dramatic way. We are going to be making things that will sell all over the African continent, and beyond.

This week I am mostly dealing with kitchen equipment providers who are going to furnish my Griffith Foods area where I’ll conduct tests, trials and experiments. I’m looking at the specifications, prices, and everything else that will assure quality, and eventually superb flavours. But in the long run, my role is a mixture of research, development, new technologies and trends, networking across Africa, working with providers, etc.

For example, in Musanze District where our Gorilla Highlands Experts team is based, a sister company is growing chilies and my job will be to utilise them to best effect. With Griffith Foods I will get the time to express myself through cooking innovation, and my aim as a chef has always been to demonstrate how to eat good and sustainable food!

I intend to be pairing culinary legacy with the newest technologies to pioneer the future of food, and I promise to take you with me on this exciting and tasty ride!

… By the way, have you seen my member-only In-Sights: Regional Cuisine with a Twist?

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