It’s not easy becoming a chef in a male-dominated industry especially in the land of the brave. Candra Tlhabanello who studied to become a chef in Cape Town shared with Entertainment Now! the challenges women face in the industry. " Women have always been seen as these sensitive Barbie dolls that can’t get their hands dirty. Well, that theory is slowly but surely being changed. It’s an amazing feeling to be part of this group and I am excited to see just how far I can carve and shape myself in this profession,’’ she explained.
The Namibian tourism industry, which employs roughly 120 000 people has almost come to a grinding halt because of the severe effects of Covid-19. Chef Candra was lucky enough to find new employment with Meke Namindo at her spa and leisure centre named Mekenificent in Windhoek West. ‘’But I do believe that I have lost a lot of opportunities that would have furthered my career during this year, but Covid-19 is not something we expected, so all we can do now is keep pushing forward," she said.
The head chef said she studied for three years in Cape Town at Cape Peninsula of Technology: Granger Bay Hotel School, then returned home to complete her final practical at Hotel Thule. ‘’I was so blessed that I got offered a permanent position of Sous Chef (second in charge), just two months after joining the team. I was the youngest, black female in a kitchen that was dominated by 99% males. My head chef was Martin Doeseb. I had the most amazing time there, but as usual, we can’t stay at one place for too long,’’ she narrated.
In the near future, Chef Thlabanello wants to build a homeless shelter where she can cook and house the homeless. If things go according to plan, she would also like to open a chefs’ kitchen for kids (junior master chefs) where kids can start cooking from a young age.
‘’My goal at the end of this journey is to know that my hands fed people. That’s all I ever wanted to do. To feed the hungry. Whether I’m known for it or not.. In Afrikaans they say..”my hande is my brood” You sow what you reap. -Being a chef is so amazing, the look on people’s faces when they eat your food and truly enjoy it is a feeling that I can’t explain. Food brings joy, comfort and love,’’ she ended.