I am Merlin Cédric Ondo Ella, I’m from Gabon I am 33 years old and residing in Libreville, the capital of Gabon. After my secondary school studies, I got registered at the Institute of Vocational Training Saint Angel of Libreville in hotels and restoration in order to obtain a qualified training in Culinary Arts.My culinary journey started at the age of 11,after the separation of my parents,my father got married to another woman,I was not well fed,so I had to start cooking my own food.I returned to my mother’s house after the death of my father,she had no fix job,thus feeding us wasn’t that easy,this pushed me to Enroll into a culinary institution.She was my source of encouragement,I obtained training from two different institutions, in culinary and in Pastries, I wanted to become a professional chef, I have also done internships in different restaurants to acquire more knowledge.I have also worked in renown Hotels and restaurants in Gabon such as The Intercontinental hotel now Radison Blu.I also obtained training from le Meridien Re-Ndama,Hotel L’Alize,and restaurant LA MAMOUNIA where am presently working as a sous Chef.
I love cooking contests and televised culinary programs.I have been an ardent follower of top chef,kudos to all the young and talented chefs fast becoming fond of African gastronomy.I am very impressed by the talents and humility of a young gastronomy chef Dieuveil Malonga,he is to me the pride of Africa.I have had the luck at my level to represent my country, Gabon, in the star chef competition in 2014. My journey was stopped at the quarter-finals. In 2015 I represented Gabon in HAAPI in South Africa where I came out 1st runner up, got the opportunity to rub shoulders with several talented chefs and people who are well recognized. I am also the Founding President of the Association of Gabonese cooks’ and member of the ‘African union of the cooks’.For me, African cuisine must be revisited while respecting the fundamental techniques and by providing a personal touch to make a difference. I love Afro-fusion cuisine as that of chef Malonga and Loïc Dablé. In Africa, we have a huge attic of flavors, I am trying to know through my dishes because I love creativity. I find this very original.We have, on our continent, several starchy foods rich in fiber and other vitamins , why eat potato when we have cassava?
To me, “universalize” the African gastronomy must be done during international forums. And as a member of the Association of Gabonese cooks we are doing everything possible to transmit culinary art across the country by offering revisited Gabonese and African dishes ..
I have never been in Europe, but I am sure that it will be difficult to find in shops ”ODIKA” sauce while it is very easy for us to find in Gabon and more widely in Africa, sauces such as béarnaise, the bechamel, and hollandaise. We must encourage the consumption of our dishes in a 5 star restaurants.