Tag: Chef Elijah Amoo Addo


Marwako saga: Chef Elijah’s reflections

For the past two weeks radio stations, TV stations, friends, colleagues and pals on social media have been calling and mailing me for my opinion on the Marwako issue, given the fact that I have been working in commercial kitchens since I was 14 years old and have had the opportunity to rise through the ranks of a kitchen cleaner to the manager of commercial kitchens.

Earlier, I had decided to be mute on the issue but now I think sharing my reflections will go a long way to educate people who don’t know what goes into the food they enjoy  in restaurants and hotels within our hospitality industry.

We live in a world today where social media has made it possible for people to easily share their sympathy for the problems of humanity  with the touch of their mobile devices. Flood explosion at Circle and  social media  is flooded with millions of  sympathies and solutions. Someone commits suicide and we share sympathies till another thing happens. This and many other  social issues that society face will always trend on social media. Social media is a good tool for us to express our emotions but we must remember that there is life beyond social media and it is called “reality”.

Our world today  needs people who will step into the problems and pains of our world to offer solutions rather than stand outside of the problems .We have tried sympathy for so many years, now let’s try empathy.

There is this secrecy pact most chefs and cooks can identify with. “What happens in the kitchen stays in kitchen.” Right from the day I took the job of a kitchen cleaner in  Lagos, Nigeria at  the age 14 years, I  became familiar with  flying plates, knives, forks, pepper and all kinds of things in a kitchen.

I remember a particular Sunday night –  I was in a rush to go home to prepare for school on Monday and in my haste threw away the sauce my headchef had prepared. He insulted and threw plates at me, and at that poin  I started crying and shouted out “do you think if my mummy was alive, I would be a cleaner here whiles my mates are in school?” Did my chef care? No, but the following day he invited me to his office and apologizes for his actions because I reacted to his actions immediately and that was how he became the mentor who helped me to realize my potential as a scientist in cooking. How many Ghanaian vocational schools teach the realities of commercial kitchens? “You don’t prepare an antelope for a battle and put it into the midst of lions in a jungle.”

I never understood why chefs and kitchen supervisors across the world are so heartless until I became a Sous Chef at Chase Restaurant in 2011. The pressure and silent psychological trauma that the profession came with can turn -45 degrees to 20 degrees in 5 minutes.

Away from the kitchen, I am the Elijah you know but back in the kitchen I’m a different kind of creature. All chefs and cooks are synonymous with that law of nature. The pressure of ensuring consistency in food quality to beat competition from other hospitality companies, meeting your monthly G.P on food costing to ensure profitability, dealing with the failures of ingredient suppliers, dealing with staff  problems, buying and maintaining very expensive kitchen equipments, meeting health and safety standards in the kitchen are a few of the many hurdles kitchen managers have to deal with daily.  In an attempt to address the stress, employers will tell you that is why you get two day’s off work every week to overcome the stress, but that is not enough

Management and customers  will not accept any of this as a excuse if there’s problem with the food they ordered. Most times chefs have had to sleep over in the kitchen to be on top on issues  and that is why most chefs turn to smoking, drugs and alcohol as a way of  overcoming stress.

This is why some hotels and restaurants in Ghana will go the extra mile to bring in expatriate chefs to manage their kitchens with the perception that local chefs can’t handle the pressures in a kitchen.  I remember while serving as secretary of the Greater Accra Chefs Association, I suggested at a  tourism forum that Ghana Tourism Authority should help the association to have a counseling unit that works with hospitality companies to support kitchen staffs to overcome pressures associated with the profession.

Punishing the management and supervisor of Marwako as a deterrent will not bring to an end the occurrence of kitchen manager’s “boiling over their staff” incidence in the hospitality industry. It happens in every hospitality company across the world. In regards to this issue what I think all stakeholder’s within the hospitality industry in Ghana should do are as follows:

–          Chefs, cooks, kitchen staffs and managements of hospitality companies in Ghana should come out and accept that it is a problem that happens in the profession and form a consensus towards addressing it

–          The Ghana Tourism Authority and Ghana Tourism Federation should work with the Chefs Association of Ghana and other stakeholder’s within the hospitality industry to establish an anger and emotional management unit that gives training to people who work in the industry

–          Management of hospitality companies in Ghana should allow their kitchen staff especially young cooks and chefs to join and attend programs and training of the Chefs Association of Ghana

–          Ghana Tourism Authority and it’s partners should make it compulsory for all expatriates who intend to work in commercial kitchens in Ghana to register with the Chefs Association of Ghana as members in order for them to be giving  support and training on working with Ghanaians.

–          Stress management in Africa should be a core principal focus of all stakeholder’s in society

 By Chef Elijah Amoo Addo

An invite to the longest food table on UN World Food Day

Food for All Ghana programme in partnership with Go for Hope Foundation under the auspices of the Ghana Tourism Federation and the Food and Beverage Association of Ghana is inviting you for this year’s Food for All Ghana UN world food day advocacy program.

The main objective of the Food4All UN World Food day is to recognize and advocate for the UN declaration on human right to food and ensure that the spotlight is put on the inefficiencies within our food supply chain that creates food wastage and hunger in Ghana.

The 2016 edition is scheduled to take place on the Saturday 15th October, 2016 within  La Dade-Kotopon municipality under the theme: Climate is changing. Food and agriculture must too”. An attempt will be made to break the current Guinness world for longest table while 5,000 vulnerable children and the elderly will be fed, inspired and supported. Through this project the public will be educated on the environmental and economic impact of food wastage in Ghana.

Food for All Ghana is a shared social responsibility. Hope to see you there!

Chef Elijah Amoo Addo nominated for the 2015 Future Awards Africa Prize

_MG_7830 (2)Chef Elijah Amoo Addo, Founder and Executive Director of the Food for All Ghana Campaign has been nominated for the Future Awards Africa Prize in Community Action 2015 for his exemplary leadership and hard work towards creating sustainable means of nutrition for the vulnerable in Africa and working with his team to build West Africa’s first food bank in Ghana.

 

The Future Awards Africa, now in its 10th year, described by the World Bank as “The Nobel Prize for young Africans”, and FORBES International as the “most important youth awards”, is targeted at recognizing young Africans between ages 18 to 31 doing incredible work in various fields; with 11 categories including the ultimate prize, The Future Africa Awards Prize for the Young Person of the Year. It has produced over 150 winners and over 1550 nominees since its first edition in 2006.

 

Chef Elijah, a professional chef and food stylist quit his job in a prestigious restaurant in Accra, to advocate against food wastage and hunger along the food supply chain, after coming in contact with a mentally challenged man who goes round scouting leftover food from street vendors to feed his also mentally challenged colleague on the street.

Through his Chefs for Change Ghana Foundation, he initiated the Food for All Ghana campaign, a food recovery initiative DSC_5877aimed at creating sustainable means of nutrition for the vulnerable in Ghana and with a vision of building food banks in Africa with the first in Ghana.

Elijah with his team and Trigmatic (Goodwill Ambassador of the campaign) has for the past one year been recovering food to feed the mentally challenged, street kids and vulnerable organizations. They have recovered food to feed over 50,000 vulnerable people and organizations such as the Accra psychiatric hospital, Osu children’s home, Teshie Orphanage, Kinder Paradise and many vulnerable society in Ghana.

Food for All Ghana campaign has been championing their objective of food recovery using programs such as the Feast of Hope, Share your breakfast community feeding train, the hunger marathon and this year, they became the first organization in Africa to attempt the Guinness world record for the longest table on UN World food day, a feat they couldn’t achieve, however they built the longest table in Africa.

IMG_6808Chef Elijah notably called “Doctor in the kitchen” strongly believes that Africa is already producing enough food however inefficiencies within our food supply chain is given rise to huge amount of food wastage.

”If we could recover half of the food going waste along our food supply chain, we will be able to feed the hungry in Africa. Hunger in Africa could be eradicated with homegrown solutions such as Food for All Africa.”