MASERU-BASED Dona@Balos Chef School and Hospitality clinched regional and continental culinary accolades during competitions held in South Africa and Namibia.
According to the institution’s Managing Director, Donald Moletsane, 12 students competed in the Nelson Mandela Culinary Cup which was held in Johannesburg from 21 to 29 September 2015. They were up against students from 12 countries including South Africa, Namibia, Congo Brazzaville and Morocco, among others, and clinched the third place overall.
Moletsane said they were also runners-up in the competition’s Barbecue Braai category after preparing Sephaphatha and chicken livers.
He said they then left Johannesburg for Windhoek, Namibia for the African Culinary Cup (ACC) which was held from 1 to 4 October 2015. The ACC brings together the best National Junior Culinary Teams from across Africa and the Middle East. Among the nations represented at the competition was Namibia, South Africa, Egypt and Mauritius.
Moletsane said the Dona@Balos Chef School and Hospitality students also won the Best Skilled Development Certificate at the AAC.
“The judges were amazed by the fact that students pursuing a certificate course were able to hold their own against people with 10-years’ experience in culinary art,” he said.
“Because of the award, one lucky student who travelled with us will be able to enrol at a polytechnic college in Namibia. We are going to hold competitions to decide who will go to Namibia.”
Moletsane also revealed that he had been appointed as a director for southern Africa by the Culinary Association of Southern Africa.
“The directorship means that I can train chefs, attend international culinary events and be a judge at international competitions,” he said, adding that they intend to meet with officials from the Ministry of Education and Training to discuss the holding of a culinary competition next month.
Moletsane, however, bemoaned the lack of support for the culinary sector by government and other stakeholders.
“The students need support from government and other agencies. During the competitions in SA and Namibia, other teams were supported by their ambassadors, while ours were not there,” he said.
“Added to that, the students from other countries were booked in hotels while we slept in the car. However, they remained strong and motivated and that is why I am going to pay tuition for three of them to do a diploma in Culinary Art at Dona@Balos.”