1) What are your full names, your age (if you don’t mind), your current position and what does a day in it look like?
Dixon Ndichu,29, Executive Sous Chef at Kiriri Garden Hotel in Bujumbura.
My day starts at 6.30am, I hit the gym and do some little physical workouts. At 7.15am, I get to the office, schedule the days operations from breakfast, make internal & external requisitions, ensure I run a night audit on food sales, shift scheduling and plan food production for the day. On other days, owing to my love for continuous improvement, I supervise and conduct trainings on the go for the cooks.
2) What 5 words best describe you as a person career wise?
Punctuality and good planning must define a good chef. I have tirelessly held my team(s) together through problem solving, work unity and execution for better results. My style of leadership has been inclusive and free to all with top notch transparency and honesty.
3) What are you most proud of accomplishing throughout your career?
My passion, love and interest for what I do has been a pillar for my success. Like any other job being a chef has been challenging and fun at the same time, but what I have never let go is the passion for what I do.
I am humbled to be recognized through award(s) a few times in my career line; –
- I was awarded as the Best Performing Chef of the Year by the SACA (South African Chefs Associations.)
- I have also had the privilege to cook for all the East African Presidents and the first families.
- I have also been covered twice on a Kenyan National Newspaper – Daily Nation on the Meet the Chef Column.
- I have again had the pleasure to be covered by Harriet James on Travel Wise a column in the Peoples Daily National Magazine.
All these recognitions have been very instrumental towards my long-term career goal of being a recognized as a brand chef.
4) What would you do differently in your career if you had a chance?
If I was to do this again, I would still do it the same way.
The passion I have for what I do is quite huge like I earlier expressed. I have always wished to outdo renowned names like the British restaurateur Gordon James Ramsey. It has been my dream to be an African version of him since most of the things I do are in a way inspired by him. I really admire what he does on his shows showcasing culinary prowess.
Traveler Chef is also one I have great admiration for.
Given a chance, however, I would pick up from where the late Anthony Bourdain left, explore different cuisines globally, interact and grow wide following in the industry.
5) What advice do you have for that young man or woman who wants to venture into a career similar to yours? Where would they start?
For starters, any person interested to join this profession;
- MUST have passion for the kitchen environment and service to people. Venturing into the hospitality industry is an amazing, explorable but still a challenging experience. For any chef, good food should be a personal affair and you have to love every bit of what you do, accept criticism from your clients and ensure you take things positively.
- MUST endear themselves to individualism in meals and creativity. Have your own way of doing thing. Do it simply and make it bear a signature of being amazing. Simplicity is genius!
- MUST plan with the end in mind. Succession planning in the hospitality industry is something that rarely happens and that should be your legacy. You should build and mould leaders in the next generation.
- MUST embrace transparency and integrity as the major virtues that will you up the career ladder. Being a chef would require you to make some of the hardest and brutal decisions and integrity will be an integral bit of it.
On the question of where they need to start, a run on google will show one available educational facility, the courses available, there duration and the cost etc.
Parting shot: A well trained chef is a sought after chef!
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