• Chefs Unami, Monana and Banusi hoist the country’s flag high
  • The aim is to host a similar food festival in Botswana


The president of Botswana Chefs Association (BCA) Banusi Serema, the organisation’s vice president Monana Motswaledi and Chef Unami Makali of the Women’s Committee of BCA left for Lagos, Nigeria last week to participate in the fifth edition of the West African Food Festival (WAFFEST) in Africa’s most populous country.
The event is an annual gathering of the Associations of Chefs from across the continent that celebrates the rich and diverse culinary heritage of West Africa and seeks to enhance food tourism.
“West African cuisines are often prepared in most of our hospitality institutions and our chefs got to learn the original recipes from their place of origin, including food safety,” the Secretary General of BCA, Chef Thuto Masala, said in an interview.

Preserving heritage and knowledge
“The event was hosted from 9 to14 August in Lagos and is rotated around West African countries. The festival was hosted by the umbrella body of culinary practitioners in Nigeria, the Association of Professional Chefs of Nigeria in collaboration with the National Tourism Development Authority.”
With the event themed “Chefs in Sustainable Tourism,” the food festival ensured that through preserving culture, chefs can preserve heritage and knowledge and ensure that future generations can enjoy nutritious meals in their most natural form.
The event was not only a celebration but an avenue for training in Masterclasses with topics for participants, chefs, food writers, food bloggers, food lovers, and trainers in the industry among others.

“One of the festivities of the event looked into healthy eating habits: vegan challenge,” Masala said. “The event was trying to enlighten people on the importance of healthy eating habits.”
According to Chef Thuto, BCA aims to host a similar food festival where West Africans will get to experience Southern African food and flavours. He said having the three chefs at WAFFEST reflects growth of BCA that could lead to collaborations.
“I would like to urge Batswana and the relevant local institutions to assist our chefs to sell Botswana’s ingredients to the world,” he said. “We could have showcased our offerings but we were restricted because this was a self-sponsored trip.”
As far as the culinary arts and food tourism are concerned, WAFFEST is so well-organised that it attracts the support of the Nigerian Hotels and Catering Institute, the Nigeria branch of the Institute of Hospitality UK, the Hospitality and Tourism Management Association of Nigeria, and the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria.