By Elias Hakizimana.
When I first saw Chef Weston Magochi, a Kenyan experienced man in culinary arts for 17 years, I was attracted by his enthusiastic charisma and eloquence when approaching people and cheering good moments after work, I was enjoying my weekend after long-moment at work.
As we talked to each other, I revealed he might have gathered deep knowledge about hotels’ services and especially in food and beverage production then from there I found an opportunity to ask him more about his package and what he can contribute to Rwanda’s hotel’s food services as an experienced Chef in kitchen operation and food production.
Chef Weston is in Rwanda for a couple of months to explore further opportunities in Hotel industry.
Born 42 years ago in Kenya, in the sloops of Mount Kenya, he completed his secondary school education in 1995 after which he joined commercial college in Nairobi where he majored in Hotel and Catering Management which took him two and a half years with Diploma qualification in Hotel Management.
He also joined Institute of Commercial Management (ICM) London for his hotel and catering management diploma qualifications in single subject diplomas in Food and Beverage Management and Restaurant services.
“My inspiration to join hospitality industry started in my early primary education where I was interested in home science which was a subject in the primary level. Home Science dealt with all aspects of cookery and cloths making,” Chef Weston told The Inspirer.
“After my primary education level, there used to be a hotel manager who happened to be our neighbour and he was well off in his career. So, I made my mind that one day I will serve in this noble profession,” he said.
He continued saying that “But my Dad was a business man, with many catering joints that included Pubs and Butcheries. So, I started cooking and preparing Samosas and Chapatis in my early age, I was 15 years old,” Magochi said.
In 1998, he joined an up-market specialty Restaurant in Nairobi as a Restaurant Supervisor. In 2000, he joined Serena Hotels (Tsavo National Park in Kilaguni Lodge as a cook where he worked for four years. “where my mentor who later became the Interior cabinet secretary in Kenyan Government and later the current governor of Kajiando county Hon. Joseph Ole Lenku inspired me to join the kitchen brigade in Serena Hotels,” Weston noted.
From 2004, he worked in the Seventh Wonder of the World MASAI-MARA National Game Reserve as a Chef in an expansive Tourist Resort (David Livingstone Resort). Afterwards, he went back to Nairobi/Mombasa where he worked in a chain of specialty restaurants and helped in grand opening of Lambada International Club in Mtwapa-Mombasa.
In 2007, Chef Weston joined BAMBURI Beach Hotel as a Sous Chef, where he worked for over nine years. In 2014, he joined Sports View Hotel-Kasarani-Nairobi as a senior Sous Chef. In 2017, he started consulting for Woodlands Catering Solutions in Kigali-Rwanda where he later joined as an expatriate Chef in setting of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).
“I believe, culinary art is all about passion, without passion, to produce even a simple dish always becomes a disaster in the kitchen and to the guest meal experience,” said Chef Weston.
About the needed good customer service delivery in hotels, Weston said “Satisfiers are not always dis-satisfiers,” which means that the guest meal experience starts when he/she steps in the dinning.He said that the appreciation of a guest in the restaurant /dinning complements whatever comes from the kitchen(chef).
What he says about food production
“Due to diversity of eating trends, good cooking methods and recipe analyzing is paramount,” he said.
He further noted that service delivery should be timely and according to the guest’s needs, adding that the selling tool in the dinning i.e the menu should be in fingertips of the kitchen brigade and the waiting staff in the restaurant. There should be a flow of every aspect of operation,” he said.
All he puts in mind for a well-managed hotel is accountability of standards operating procedures (SOP)s.
“In order for an establishment to have a strong market share in the industry, SOPs are inevitable, they brand the establishment and are set to guide all levels of management in the hospitality industry. In the kitchen, the head chef is in charge of the SOPs in his department. For accountability, every head of department is required to constantly review, train the staff and put them in motion in line with the proposed budget and eventually file them for future reference,” said Chef Weston.
Another important thing he mentioned is the HACCP: an internationally recommended certification in the hospitality industry which means Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point.
He said this should be taken care of, as it entails the process that food items go through from the receiving bay to storage up to the preparation and eventually to the guest.
“The recommended temperatures when in storage, issuing, preparation/dispatch should be adhered to in order to prevent contamination. The HACCP records should be timely reviewed, recommended and the required action taken to reduce the hazard,” Chef Weston said.
He added that such records should be systematically and alphabetically arranged with dates of action and be filed for reference.
Chef Weston Magochi said he is ready to serve Rwanda’s hospitality industry as he believes the country is always performing with best innovative platforms and well-trained professionals to serve the guests diligently.
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