… and the Gorilla Highlands Silverchef 2018 is …


(Posted 29th April 2018)

(Chef Ramadhan wearing the Silverhat with Marriott Kigali’s Executive Chef Eduardo delighted to see one of his rising stars win the competition)

The Gorilla Highlands Silverchef Competition is now in its fourth year.
The first such event was held in 2015 at the Travelers Rest Hotel in Kisoro, before moving in 2016 to the town of Kabale and was hosted a year ago at the Birdnest Resort on Lake Bunyonyi.
This year did the event rise to a different level when the Marriott Kigali Hotel hosted the 16 competing chefs letting them use their state of the art kitchens.

Isabella Masozera of Gorilla Highlands explains in a two minute video clip what the event is all about and how it evolved over the years:


Young and rising chef Ramadhan Sindayigaya, first runner up a year ago when the competition was held at the Birdnest Resort near the town of Kabale in Uganda, clearly saw that result as a personal challenge and indeed, a year later he once again tested his skills against 15 other competitions from the entire Gorilla Highlands region.
This year, for the first time, did Congo participate too with two chefs from leading hotels in Goma and Andre Ngoja-Ngoja, Chairman of the North Kivu Hotel Association came on board to serve as a judge.

(Judges in action with Mr. Ngoja-Ngoja on the right and Silverchef 2017 Allan Mukasa on the left. Picture courtesy of Charlotte Beauvoisin)

As the listing of participants goes to show did they come from very reputable hotels such as the Lake Kivu Serena, the Park Inn by Radisson in Kigali, the Protea Hotel in Kampala and the Grand Legacy in Kigali.
The title this year was therefore hard fought over and the secret basket of ingredients developed jointly by the Gorilla Highlands organization and the Executive Chef at the Marriott Kigali, came as a surprise to all the participants, first seen when they entered one of the five kitchens they were assigned to to prepare their two course meal.

(Chef Ramadhan surveying his basket of goodies from which he was to prepare a two course meal)


Participants in the event certified for ‘Quality Cooking’  and top three chefs:


Ramadhan Sindayigaya, Marriott, Kigali (Rwanda) – Gorilla Highlands Silverchef 2018 and best Rwandan chef
Mukungu Akimu, Grand Legacy Hotel, Kigali (Rwanda) – best Ugandan chef
Manishimwe Jean Bosco, Lake Kivu Serena Hotel, Gisenyi (Rwanda)
Musasa Marcellin Tshite, Virunga Lodge, Volcanoes National Park (Rwanda)
Odeke Silver, Cephas Inn, Kabale (Uganda)
Jean Bosco Birindwa, Ihusi Hotel, Goma (DR Congo) – best Congolese chef
Otim Amos, Protea Hotel, Kampala (Uganda)
Emmanuel Murwanashyaka, ParkInn by Radisson, Kigali (Rwanda)
Sam Mbabazi, Bunyonyi Overland Resort, Kabale (Uganda)
Paul Mulyampiti, BirdNest Resort – Lake Bunyonyi (Uganda)




All other chefs were recognized with either Certificates of Participation.

What was also noticeable, like in past years, was the level of camaraderie which instantly developed among the competing chefs and the participants, present and past, have started to form a network to exchange ideas and keep themselves informed about new openings and change of work places.

Alongside the adult chefs were children for the first time able to test their kitchen skills as part of the programme, which also included a city tour of Kigali for the participants of the event.

(Childrens cooking competition – they were asked to create a pizza – which took place earlier today at the Cucina Restaurant at the Marriott Kigali Hotel. The top three got cash prizes to reward their creativity. Twitter photo by Steven Odeke)

(Also present as observers and giving a helping hand were students of a local hospitality institute training to be chefs)

The competition ended in the early afternoon at the Marriott Kigali Hotel when certificates of participation and certificates of culinary quality were handed over to the participants before the top three were announced.
New this year was also that the Uganda Tourism Board, a supporter of the event since its inception in 2015, awarded special prices for the top chef from each of the three countries with the winners getting paid for all inclusive trips to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Gorilla National Park, to Murchisons Falls National Park and sponsored by the Rwanda Development Board also a trip to the Volcanoes National Park, trekking permit for the gorillas included.

Miha Logar, the ‘Inventor‘ of the Gorilla Highlands concept and of the Silverchef competition, has seen his ideas and visions more than validated this weekend as in particular the media interest in Kigali was very significant. Television and radio interviews are already airing and the local newspapers no doubt will carry the story tomorrow, that young Rwandan chefs claimed the top price and the second runner up position.

(Winning starter by Chef Ramadhan)

(Winning main course by Chef Ramadhan)

The event in 2019 will be heading to a new venue, and given the huge exposure the Gorilla Highlands Silverchef competition is now generating, will no doubt corporate sponsors begin to line up and support the event which will in the future rotate through the three countries.

Watch this space therefore for the upcoming announcement of the Gorilla Highlands Silverchef competition venue and sponsorship opportunities becoming available.
This publication, www.ATCNews.org, remains a key media partner of the event for next year too.