- KRC organizes a learning exchange visit for chefs to Kampala
- Fort Portal City Chefs vow to introduce ‘Orugali’ to their menu
- Slow Food Youth Network to create linkage for promotion of local food varieties
By John Murungi Amooti, Godfrey Kakande and Katutu Rose
The hitherto forgotten Chefs and –yet, ironically, a very important sector in our society – as they are responsible for our well-being and the nutritious foods in our bodies, can now sigh with relief. They have found ‘friends’ to help build their capacities and link them to networks to better their operations. Kabarole Research and Resource Centre (KRC) working with its partners Hivos and IIED are supporting the chefs under the Fort Portal Food lab projects to improve their knowledge and skills in the preparation, presentation and promotion of indigenous food recipes.
KRC, in partnership with Slow Food Youth Network, organized an exposure learning visit for members of the Fort Portal Chefs’ Alliance to interact with individual chefs in Kampala and Mukono from the 26th to 28th June 2020. The learning visit was intended to expose the chefs to other more organized chefs under the Slow Food chef alliance. The exchange visit was mooted by the Fort Portal Food Change Lab which has been involved in citizen generated evidence on nutrition for the past two years using household food dairies.
The visit was pre-empted by evidence which revealed that the traditional / indigenous foods have disappeared from the dining tables for most rural and urban households. Although these foods are known to be dense diet and resilient to changing weather conditions, they are still considered to be inferior to fast foods, and with low market value.
During the visit, the Fort Portal Chef alliance had the opportunity to interacted with Slow Food Uganda, visit Mulongo Catering Services in Nsambya whose proprietor Ms . Nakato is a member of the Chef alliance with over 40 years’ experience in the catering business and specializing in serving traditional dishes. Through the chef to chef interaction the chefs from Fort Portal shared personal experiences on how they perceive menus with traditional dishes.
The highly interactive exchange started with a brief preamble from KRC on the essence of the learning visit and the background of partnership and the choice of Slow Food Uganda chapter as the host and facilitators of the visit.
Mr. Kakande Godfrey on behalf of KRC gave a brief on the Fort Portal Food Lab project, the Chef Alliance and how KRC had teamed up with the Slow Food Youth Network to train the Kabarole Chef Alliance on new cooking methods, recipes, preparation and presentation of indigenous food varieties. He appreciated Slow Food for the support and partnership in mobilizing the chefs to form an alliance and promotion of traditional foods.
He further noted that the exchange visit was to help the chefs’ benchmark with other stakeholders in the food value chain and improve their knowledge and skills in cooking methods, preparation and presentation of indigenous food varieties
Mr. John Wanyu an Officer with Slow Food Alliance gave a synoptic shot into the background, mission and activities of the body in promoting sustainable food diets for all through mobilizing and supporting local food activists and food alliances to promote and preserve a healthy diet. .
Slow Food Uganda chapter is part of Slow Food international, a global, grassroots organization, founded in 1989 to prevent the disappearance of local food cultures and traditions, counteract the rise of fast life and combat people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from and how our food choices affect the world around us.
Since its beginning, Slow Food has grown into a global movement involving millions of people in over 160 countries, working to ensure everyone has access to good, clean and fair food.
These communities share the association’s principles and cultivate common interests, starting with food production and consumption systems and promoting ways of life that respect all people and the social, cultural, and environmental contexts in which they live and work. In Uganda, Sow Food has been active since 2006 working on projects like; the food communities, presidia, 10,000 gardens and empowering regional coordinators in order to promote the right to good, clean, and fair food for everyone at all times.
Slow Food believes food is tied to many other aspects of life, including culture, politics, agriculture and the environment. Through our food choices we can collectively influence how food is cultivated, produced and distributed, and change the world as a result
With 6 presidia and 310 food gardens, Slow Food Uganda defends the right to food sovereignty for all people and safeguards biodiversity and traditional food value chains. We have developed a strong network in Central Uganda, a sturdy, credible presence in Western and Eastern Uganda and laid new strategies in the Northern. In line with our global strategy, Slow Food Uganda addresses all aspects of food value chains, believes in diversity and works with all people working in their different capacities and capabilities towards building a better food system.
The exchange learning visit was used as an avenue to freely share experience and information among the chefs. These included information exchange by a prominent chef trainer from Buikwe District, Ms. Nantabo Milly who implored chefs to always prepare dishes that they are sure of to avoid costly mistakes and to protect their reputation.
Another interesting experience sharing was Mama Mulongo, the host who elaborated on the need to preserve indigenous food varieties and also train the young generation on the benefits accruing from eating indigenous food diets. She shared with the participants her experience in the catering industry spanning over 40 years and has travelled world over showcasing Ugandan dishes. The highly experienced chef also decried the usage of cooking oils in many restaurants in the country. She emphasized cleanliness, timeliness, hygiene focus on healthy food handling habits.
An after training evaluation revealed that the exchange learning visit addressed knowledge gaps among them Chefs leant new recipes after going through interactive sessions,Chefs learnt improved food recipes and production skills of indigenous food varieties and the KRC staff were able to study the food systems in other areas like Mukono and Kampala to help in planning and management of the Fort Portal Food Lab Project
Imperative to add, the exposure visit also helped the chefs to learn Customer relations –and how to market the various indigenous food varieties prepared in restaurants and homes
As part of the Lessons the newly trained chefs will cascade down the newly acquired knowledge to better their preparation of recipes upon return and use the knowledge and skills to improve the cooking habits and customer relations
The exchange learning visit has been documented and the experiences, lessons and best practices will be used to pass on the skills to other interest groups in the indigenous food value chain –as almost all hotels in the newly created Fort Portal Tourism City move to introduce ‘Orugali’(Indigenous Food varieties) on their daily menu
In a related development KRC in partnership with Hvios and iied recently introduced a very educative Show on TV West to market the Orgali concept and also promotes indigenous and sustainable diets