My name is Tawanda G.S Gatawa, 31 years. I have always had a passion for food and its cooking, for as long as I can remember, even as a young boy. So when I discovered that this was a valid career option it was a no brainer for me. After High School I embarked on a culinary journey that has led me to my current role as an Executive Chef.
I’m a Zimbabwean based in Livingstone Zambia. Culinary roles allow ample room for experimentation with flavours and to exercise a passion for food in the real sense,that is the reason why I pursued a career in the food and hospitality industry.
My brother Tatenda Gatawa noticed my passion for cooking and got me enrolled into a culinary school. After graduating from Kenya Utalii University where I studied Food and Beverage Management, I moved to South Africa to study culinary arts at the prestigious world renowned Prue Leith Chefs Academy where I trained under Chef Lorraine Meany now Head Chef at the Cape Grace in Cape Town South Africa.
Training at Prue Leith Academy were the turning point for my career. The training was intense but filled with passion too. I did my internship under the famous Chef Nicky Gibbs former Executive Chef at the Westcliff Hotel whom became my mentor and role model.
After graduating I was offered a position at The Tart Confessionary Kitchen in Johannesburg South Africa where I perfected my pastries and became the head chef after two years.
I then worked as a facilitator for the Correctional Services Department in Johannesburg where I was involved with training inmates prior to their release to become assistant chefs when they come out of the institution. This role was about more than skills development – I most enjoyed the introduction of culinary art as a positive outlet for creativity and self-expression.
I then moved to Zambia as a consultant for a hotel which was undergoing a difficult turnaround having lost its former glory. After a year of intensive training and practicing, the hotel has since gained two-stars. Working in lodges has a lot of challenges, good ingredients are hard to come by, but I have become a more rounded practitioner as a result of the exposure and defined my own African signature.
My cuisine is a mix of traditional French and English cuisine using local ingredients. My take on African Gastronomy is that it’s on the rise and African chef is working towards putting our Cuisine on the culinary map. This involves a multidisciplinary art which includes learning about African ethnic food along with its context and history, special significance, our food has meaning and a rich history behind it.
As a chef in Africa I use local ingredients to bring out the African heritage to our diners. I have worked as an Executive Chef at renowned 4 and 5 star Lodges, which have exposed me to various challenges in the culinary world and equipped me with ample skills to handle the same professionally.