Chef Delight awards launched in Kenya festival

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Diners in Kenya can now download the Chef’s Delight App available on Google Play Store and Apple Store and tell the world about their culinary experience at restaurants. And the app isn’t limited to eateries, but includes bars and cocktail lounges, with up to 200 participating establishments where diners vote on which they think is the best.

The heat is being turned up in the kitchen for restaurants across the country; diners in Kenya can now download the Chef’s Delight App available on Google Play Store and Apple Store and tell the world about their culinary experience at restaurants. And the app isn’t limited to eateries, but includes bars and cocktail lounges, with up to 200 participating establishments where diners vote on which they think is the best.

The Chef’s Delight Awards Kenya 2015 was launched on September 30 at the National Museums of Kenya in Nairobi.

The food-fest at the launch featured of some of the finest restaurants, hotels and cocktail lounges — I ate sushi to my heart’s content, and nibbled on desserts as I strolled along the marquees tasting different kinds of foods like sushi in seaweed paper and sand-sprinkled tiramisu.

“Service is key in the hospitality industry,” said Kenya Tourism Board managing director Muriithi Ndegwa at the launch. “A customer never forgets how you made them feel, and this is a key selling point for this market — our people, our service.”

The Chef’s Delight is an ongoing awards programme that rewards participating restaurants, chefs, bars and bar men. The programme also rewards clients through an initiative called Vote & Win.

It runs from September 2015 to January 2016, and was launched by Ndegwa and Chef’s Delight Awards Kenya 2015 CEO Mansoor Jiwani.

Jiwani is a former Utalii College chef who trained under the Swiss in the 1970s, bringing back a silver medal for Kenya in 1978 from the prestigious International Hotel Schools competition held at the Hotelympia in London.

Restaurants, chefs and bars participating in the Kenya Chef’s delight awards are nominated through a strict selection process by a team of experts in the culinary, hospitality and tourism industry in Kenya. A draw will then be conducted from all the votes collected monthly.

Participating diners will have a chance to win prizes like airline tickets, holidays, restaurant and shopping vouchers, and some from corporate sponsors.

The Vote & Win programme will culminate in a black tie awards ceremony in January 2016. The winners will be judged on six platforms — presentation, taste, ambience, service, overall quality, menu and beverage selection.

Culinary tourism

“As regular diners, we realised that there was a lot of inconsistency in the quality of service of the different hotels and individual restaurants we visited,” said Jiwani.

Visiting many establishments over 10 years and giving feedback that was received positively, he teamed up with six culinary experts. They created the Chef’s Delight Awards that met with the approval of the International Chefs Association, to enhance the quality in the culinary industry in Kenya.

“Nearly every tourist eats out while travelling, and dining is consistently ranked in the top three favourite activities of travellers,” said Jiwani.

Culinary tourism has become one of the fastest growing segments in the travel industry, and is expected to grow over the next decade. Culinary tourists spend twice as much on trips as average tourists. According to the International Culinary Tourism Association, food travellers spend about $1,200 per trip, with 36 per cent going towards food-related activities.

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