For the first time ever, Botswana will join the World Culinary Competition to be held in India in February, where a young chef Kaone Kwati will compete against other 50 young chefs from different countries.

The 23 year-old Kwati is a student at Boswa Culinary Institute of Botswana in Maun, and he cannot wait to be in India for this competition. He has been honored with an opportunity to be trained by one of the best chefs in the country, Ziyaad Brown who is the Executive Chef at Xigera Safari Lodge, where Kwati was being trained.

For the aspiring young chef, hard work, perseverance and passion for culinary as a whole has landed him this opportunity. He told this publication that he does not take it for granted that he would be representing Botswana at Young Chef Olympiad (YCO) a global chef competition. He said that this is a stepping stone in his career, especially that he is about to complete his Diploma in a few months time.

“This is not just a competition to me, but also a learning curve as I’m being exposed to different experiences. I’m very grateful to be trained by the best Safari Lodge in Africa, and especially chef Ziyaad, who is one of the best few in the country,” he said. Kwati said being trained under a five-star hotel of Xigera’s magnitude made him nervous at first, but the training changed his mindset as he now sees things differently. “The training has changed my mindset. I’m now familiar with the standard of the competition because training at Xigera has exposed me to the best that the cullinary industry could offer. At school, we do not deal with deep sea food but I got to learn about different types here. I have also learnt how to make spices from scratch, about dry aged meat and just life experiences in general as I’m working with experienced people here,” he said, further adding that he spent almost one month at the Safari Lodge so far.

He reiterated that he has been able to see how the industry works at a global level, and this gives him the confidence that he will do well at the competition because he is now thorough with time in the kitchen. “Xigera has helped me immersely, because we don’t get to learn about some things at culinary school,” he said.

He anticipates exposure of different backgrounds where he would also express his culinary ability. The competition is divided into four segments including; sets of recipes, vegetarian dish, chicken dish and grand finale dish.

Having been in the industry for over 15 years now, Brown said this Global culinary competition is a relevant opportunity for Botswana. He is of the view that Botswana is still not known for its culinary ability. “Historically,

Botswana is not known for its culinary culture and I hope this competition will change the perceptive and expose Botswana food art culinary,” he said. He added that the competition offers education and culinary offering, as well as expectations according to global standards and trends.