Monday, 10 August 2009

Chinedum is Hilton apprentice toast

GOOD cooking is the fastest way to a man’s heart. That tells why most women go the extra mile to prepare good meals for their hubby as a way of sustaining their marriages. But what happens where the man is a master toaster?
That, exactly, is the case with Chinedum Godwin, who recently emerged the best student at the Final Assessment and Graduation Dinner organised by Transcorp Hilton Hotel to end its current edition of Kitchen Apprenticeship Programme. The man proved once more that the art of cooking is not an exclusive of women. Held in the serene Zuma Grill Restaurant, the event attracted a lot of dignitaries, some of who became part of the jury. In tears of joy, the Abia State-born undergraduate of Sociology, University of Abuja, told The GuardianLIFE that he was reluctant to enter for the contest as he was barely two years old in hotel business. In fact, he joined Transcorp in 2005 as a Steward without prior kitchen experience. He won the heart of the jury with Nigerian traditional cuisines done to international standard. His menu, coupled with clean appearance, earned him victory in the competition that began about two years ago with over 160 contestants from across the country. “AS a steward I work hand in hand with the kitchen staff; and due to my curiosity, I was able to know what they were doing. When they called for entry for the competition, I was reluctant to enter but my chef encouraged me. About 160 of us wrote the entrance examination for the programme and I emerged the winner.” He added, “I prepared marinated baby leaf and mackerel on seasonal carrot, cappuccino with olives vinaigrette for starters; they had trio soup comprising vichyssoise, parsley and chicken pepper soup, which was complimentary for soup and grilled veal steak with garlic polenta. For the main dish, I prepared sauce hollandaise and broccoli while the dessert was chocolate dumpling with mango and vanilla sauce.”. Chinedum said, “I believe in putting my best in whatever I do and I do my work with all joy. When the opportunity came for me to try this out, I did it with all pleasure even though it was challenging combining my job with academic works.” He attributed his success to determination and the drive to pursue whatever he does with all joy. No matter how odd the job, his philosophy remains that there should be dignity in labour. Among other packages, he is to spend three weeks in Dubai, where he will be further exposed to best practices in the industry. The Transcorp Hilton Kitchen Apprenticeship Programme was introduced in 1996 and has since produced three sets of graduates. The objective of the two-year intensive training is to make neophytes in the cooking profession world class chefs through exposure to basic theories and practice of cooking. This set was groomed under the tutelage of Chef Frank Noak, the hotel’s Executive Chef and mentored by Chef Onah, the best graduate of the first set of kitchen programme.

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