Being in the kitchen is also about being creative to be successful and competitive
In a profession that is highly dominated by men, Masa Square Hotel recently appointed their first female executive chef, Mellisa Ngoni. As a renowned Motswana chef with a wealth of experience in the hospitality industry, Ngoni is responsible for keeping the hotel’s restaurants at the center of the city’s culinary conversation.
Chef Ngoni oversees the hotel’s kitchens, including Don Carlos restaurant, Carlitos, as well as Absolut lounge and bar. She also oversees the hotel’s in-room dining and banquets, the catering for events ranging in size from small meeting to large weddings of more than 500 people.
“Being an executive chef is a top post in the kitchen management structure. Kitchens are fast paced environments and executive chefs make the tough decisions regarding food and service very quickly. Although this field has been highly dominated by men they have done a great job of paving the way for us and some of us were groomed by these men,” she said adding that she would like to see more women assuming her role in the future.
Chef Ngoni’s gastronomy is centered around Italian dishes and a smaller part of her passion goes to our Setswana cuisine which she believes is the best seller because the food is organic and healthy. A firm believer in living a healthy lifestyle, the Chef has also created a new menu that caters for the health-conscious. She also recommends the Arrabiata and Carbonara pasta dishes to guests who have never dined at her restaurants. “Being in the kitchen is also about being creative to be successful and competitive. To stay ahead, your culinary art needs to take center stage not forgetting to make your meals healthy, have flavour, easy to digest and nutritious,” she advised.
Moreover, the Chef took over the kitchen at a time when the city’s culinary community has more competing options and for Ngoni that just means working hard to provide guests with the most memorable and authentic food experience. “Sometimes it is advisable not to bring too much change that will shock your guests. Plus, I work with a qualified and motivated team of chefs who also bring in their creative skills to create magic,” she revealed.
Chef Ngoni holds a Diploma in Food Principles and Practices of Culinary Arts from H.T.A School of Culinary Arts in South Africa, a Diploma in Food Preparation and Culinary Arts (British Council), Certificate in Food Preparation and Culinary Arts (British Council) and Foundation in Hospitality , Hotel Management & Catering. Ngoni has a background in conducting internal training for the kitchen brigade which produces high standards in Food hygiene and safety. In 2013 she took part in developing a program of Culinary Arts for Botswana‘s Technical colleges.
“These are exciting times for the hotel as we welcome our first ever female chef. We look forward to sharpening our culinary team in terms of both knowledge and high skill, in order to provide guests the most memorable and authentic experience at Masa Square Hotel,” said the hotel’s General Manager, Greg Soutter.