Nestlé Professional moves to crown Kenya’s top Junior Chef

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Nestlé Professional will today award Kenya’s top junior chef in its move to promote professionalism and creativity in the hospitality industry in Kenya. This comes in light of increased demand for chefs in Nairobi as more international hotel chains set foot in the country.

“Demand for professional chefs is at an all-time high due to increasing interest by international hotel chains to cash in on the present accommodation and conferencing facilities demand by travellers to Africa,” said Paul Nagelkerken, Nestlé Professional, Country Beverage Business Manager.

American chain Radisson Hotels recently announced its planned entry in Nairobi before end of 2014 as other international hotel chains which have just began operations like Kempinski, Emaar Group from Dubai in Maasai Mara, Thai-listed Dusit International, now engage in vigorous recruitment drive which is raising the demand for professional chefs in the city.

The increased demand for chefs in Kenya has not only raised the bar for professionalism in the career, but also demand for chef’s creativity when exposed to a myriad mix of ingredients according to Nagelkerken.

“Just like other professionals, chefs now have a challenge to interact with all food types of foreign and local tastes as consumer preferences and clientele base for international hotel chains expand to include food from other cultures,” he said.

In light of these revelations, Nestlé Professional, the Nestlé business that supplies the out-of-home food service industry, put its best foot forward in 2013 when it launched the Nestlé Professional Chefs Forum aimed at supporting the Chef’s Network and promoting creativity among chefs in the country.

“The forum allowed chefs to battle it out on the best cuisine and recipes, using the MAGGI® Rich Flavours and Cubes range during the Junior chefs competition last year,” said Nagelkerken.

In just under two and a half hours, the chefs were  challenged to prepare a main course dish in an interactive cooking demo using Nestlé products – MAGGI® Rich Flavours and Cubes- and other raw ingredients of choice, all provided by Nestlé.

Part II of the Nestlé Junior Chefs Competition is scheduled to take place this week during the Hospitality and Food Service trade exhibition (HOSTEX), an acclaimed event taking place at KICC between 10th and 13th March 2014.

This year, the competition will bring together three students, two of whom are students at Utalii College and the other from International Hotel and Tourism Institute (IHTI).

The three students will showcase their culinary prowess on Thursday 13th March, starting from 9am at the Tsavo ball room. “The three will have an opportunity to discover and showcase their outstanding skills, and acquire a motivating factor to excel in the country’s hospitality industry,” explained Nagelkerken.

Nestlé Professional has partnered with Papyrus who are the authorised distributors for Electrolux- (Kitchen equipment solutions) and Puratos (Pastry baking solutions) to bring the culinary competition this year.

On Thursday, the judges will assess the chef’s skills, from novelty and innovation, taste, presentation, work speed and ultimately work organization and cleanliness.

The top junior chef on Thursday will win a three day trip to visit the Electrolux Factory in Italy and spend time in the beautiful city of Venice.

“To keep up with discerning consumers and changing lifestyle needs, it is the chef’s responsibility to constantly innovate and refresh their skills. This is the only way we can maintain that edge in service delivery across the hospitality industry,” explained Nagelkerken.

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