Two graduate chefs from the Namibian Institute of Culinary Education (NICE), Uerihepura Mbuende and Mighty-Power Mwashekele, cooked up a storm with their dish when they participated in a live cooking show at the International Green Week in Berlin in Germany.
The live cooking show at the world’s leading consumer trade fair and exhibition for agriculture, food and horticulture from January 15-24 was part of an entertaining and informative programme of events on the topic of agriculture and food supplies in developing countries. It was organised by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) under the slogan “A world without hunger is possible”. The two chefs were very excited to showcase their cooking skills and introduce contemporary Namibian cuisine to the German audience. Their mouthwatering dish – “Namibian style” beef fillet with traditional pap and sweet potato fries – was prepared in front of an enthusiastic and appreciative audience which consisted of trade fair visitors, students, journalists, and members of the Namibian Embassy in Berlin.
Anyone who had a chance to taste the food confirmed that it was delicious and worth the wait. Mwashekele said: “It was a great privilege to be part of the International Green Week. We met friendly people with open hearts and arms and healthy appetites who enjoyed our meals. The feedback we received was very positive and we learned a lot.” Mbuende and Mwashekele’s participation at the Green Week and their stay in Berlin was sponsored and facilitated by the German Investment and Development Company (DEG) and the BMZ, both of which have supported the training programme at the Namibian Institute of Culinary Education NICE in the past. The Namibian chef finishing and hospitality training school has attracted global attention by being featured, for example, on CNN’s famous-African Voices programme and Germany’s ARD, one of the world’s biggest public broadcasters.
Founded in 2006 by the local business personality, Stephan Brückner, NICE has helped many young Namibians to achieve their goals and live their dreams in the booming hospitality industry. According to Mwasheke, “all graduates who pass through the NICE training programme have a good chance to secure employment, both locally and internationally”.
The International Green Week is an annual event which was initiated in 1926 and today hosts about 1,660 exhibitors from around the globe. In its 90th year and attracting around 400,000 visitors, it showcases the global food industry and highlights innovations in the fields of agriculture and horticulture. During their stay in Germany, the Namibian chefs also had the opportunity to experience the exciting Berlin restaurant and food scene which includes esoteric food halls, street food markets, numerous food-related start-ups and gourmet Michelin-starred establishments.
“Berlin was amazing and what’s left of it is just good memories. I will take those good memories and use it to equip myself with strength and motivation to work hard, because the people in Germany are very hard working. I will learn to be more caring and polite. Things that we normally take for granted.” – Uerihepura Mbuende
Asian food was a highlight for Mbuende, as he “never imagined it could be that tasty”. Inspired, he is already considering integrating Asian flavours into his own recipes back home, something that visitors to the NICE restaurant surely can look forward to.