Chef Samwel Olang – Diani Resort and Diani Sea Lodge

Thursday, April 15th, 2021 00:00 |
Chef Samwel Olang - Diani Resort and Diani Sea Lodge.

Harriet James @harriet86jim

How did your passion for cooking begin?

My passion for cooking was inspired by my maternal grandmother. She was born and raised in Rusinga Island where she used to cook fish.

She loved experimenting a lot with different ingredients, such as lemon leaves as a spice.

Another time, she cooked tea with millet husks,  which tunred out great and inspired me to also try out things while cooking when I was alone and pursue cooking as a career too. 

So where did you train as a chef? 

After high school, I worked briefly as a messenger for a university professor, Robert Abakuk Obudho and managed to save some cash, which I used to enroll myself in Escoffier School of Culinary Arts in 1996.

The school later  relocated to South Africa. I interned at International Casino, Toons Tree restaurant and because of my excellent performance, I was permanently employed there.

After that I have worked in several hotels, including the Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited, in a cruise ship in Dubai and Medina Palms, Watamu, before I came here.

What are the challenges of being a chef?

First and foremost you don’t get to have family time, you are always away from your family. Secondly, you don’t sleep well, it’s like being in the military, stress is the order of the day.

How did the pandemic affect your career?

When it started, we were all devastated because there were job losses everywhere due to lack of guests.

As chefs, we had to find a way to survive through the situation and most us cook and sell food from home. 

I had to adapt very fast to be able to stay afloat and, so  I bought a gas oven and began right away.

It is unfortunate that most of my friends lost their jobs, especially the ones that work on the cruise ships and there was nothing I could do to help.

I really hope that we soon find a cure and this becomes a thing of the past. 

When you are not cooking what are you doing?

 I love watching food shows, watching football and relaxing with my favorite teachers while enjoying a glass of whisky.

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