THE Lesotho Chefs Association (LCA), which won the Best African Dish at the African Food Festival in South Africa last weekend, is gearing up to host 20 countries in November 2018 for the Lesotho Food and Beverage Festival.
LCA was represented by four local chefs in Polokwane, South Africa, on 26 May. They competed against seven other African countries in presentation of traditional African cuisines at the competition held in commemoration of the Africa Day 2018.
The dress code was also strictly traditional regalia and the Lesotho team had also rocked regalia made from cow hides to complement the theme.
According to the president of LCA, Donald Moletsane, the winning dish comprised of bobatsi, nyekoe and potele, along with mangangajane, lipabi, motoho and khemere.
“The dishes we presented have been part of our heritage which is somehow becoming extinct but we presented them in a modern way and that won everybody’s heart, especially khemere (ginger drink),” Chef Donald told Xpress People.
“At the contest, we were able to realise how much other countries are proud of their traditions and their cuisines. I cannot say it was a tough competition for we believed in what we were preparing, which is one of the secrets of preparing the best dish.
“As much as we won, we cannot say the same about Lesotho. We feel it is our mandate as LCA to promote our traditional cuisine and lure local hospitality outfits into offering it on their menu.”
He said they are preparing for the food festival which will run at Maseru Mall on 2 and 3 November 2018 as a tool to promote local tourism.
“Over 20 African countries will come to Lesotho in November to compete in the Lesotho Food and Beverage Festival where they will also be contesting in traditional dishes. It is going to be a big festival which will be followed by a gala dinner featuring those different dishes.
“Each chef association (country) will bring at least four chefs and invite those who wish support them from their own countries and this means there will be a high tourism influx in the country. We will also allow local products to be displayed and sold during the festival.
“The idea is to promote cultural exchange and culinary arts in Africa. There will also be career guidance for local high school students where chefs will do live demonstrations and explain how one can become a chef,” he said.
Chef Donald also said they would take the opportunity to officially reveal the Lesotho Chefs Association’s board, members and its goals.
Meanwhile, four diploma students from Dona@Balos Chef and Hospitality School recently left the country for Ghana where they will spend six months in an internship programme at Zina Safari Lodge and Royal Nic Hotel.
Eight others who are studying towards a certificate at the same institution are also in South Africa for a three months internship at Sunny Side Hotel and Kopanong Hotel Gauteng. Twelve more diploma students are yet to leave for Namibia, Nigeria and Botswana in July for internship.
“We have sent students for internship in various African countries and their reports have been encouraging and the demand continues to grow.
“Three of those who did their internship in Ghana last year got permanent job offers and are currently busy with work permits while others are employed locally,” Chef Donald said.