Lailatu – A True Success
In 2016 the first ever winner of our Asilia Africa Scholarship Fund was announced, Lailatu Winnifred. In this blog post we catch up with her and find out that, unsurprisingly, Lailatu has only grown from strength to strength – we are so proud! From her humble beginnings, Lailatu has moved up to now become a wonderful chef at our Dunia Camp, which is run by an all female staff.
You can read more about our “Give a Child a Chance” programme hereand see how much this opportunity meant to Lailatu in the video below.
How long have youbeen a chef at Dunia Camp?
Ibeen working as a chef for one year and a half now.
How did youget into it from being a waitress?
When I was a waitress, I was inspired seeing the chefs cooking and presenting food to the guests. It looked like a lot of fun!
What is your favourite dish to make?
My favorite food to cook is beef lasagna. Traditionally we don’t cook beef lasagna at home. So when I started to be trained at the kitchen the first food to prepare was lasagna and the guests liked it. I prepared a beef lasagna for six people and my chef said it was the best to be served to guests! For sure the guests loved it and all came back to see our kitchen and who prepared it. Since then I love to cook it and I have become an expert at making it.
What has been the biggest surprise in the catering business?
Finishing up of the food is what surprise me. People take a lot of time to present the food, more than the cooking! You may have cooked a very nice dish, which tastes well but if you do not present it well then no one will choose it on the buffet. Presentation of food is something vital to the kitchen. No matter what, a chef must know how to present the food. And this is what made me to move to the kitchen.
What has been the greatest challenge?
Well – it’s a funny story. So one day the head chef allocated me to cook for the camp staff as the staff cook had an emergency, the first day everything went well, the second day I was cooking Ugali and chicken and of course a sauce to eat with Ugali. After preparation, I took the bowl with sauce to the dining tent so that I can come back and cook the Ugali (Stiff porridge). With all the preparationsI somehow was not able to find the maize flour and the cooking spoon! I looked everywhere and did not find them. The water had already boiled enough ready to put the flour in. Then I had to report to the head chef. We all looked up and finally we found a monkey having the maize flour and the wooden spoon outside the back of the kitchen tent eating it! I had to request for another maize meal and the spoon was left with the monkey. So animals sometimes are a bit of a challenge here!
What doyou think about working in an all-woman team?
I havebeen able to improve my way of thinking andit has made me into a stronger person.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
In five years to come I would like to see myself asnot a head chef BUT a chef trainer!