Mastery of culinary skills takes root in Mogadishu

Photo courtesy of CNN



As Mogadishu fast opens up to the world, thanks to improved security and political stability, young people are busy building their human resource capacity to cater for the increasing market demand.

Chefs in the capital whose penchant for finesse and mastery of culinary skills have endeared many to seek the same knowledge.

Zahra Ahmed Mohamed, director and founder of Domestic Institute that offers catering services in Somalia, says it’s high time Mogadishu opened up to the world, making culinary diversity critical.

“We need to make food which meets international standards. We cannot rely on the rudimentary skills we got from out kitchens at home to impress people who don’t know about Mogadishu and even the locals themselves who yearn for something different from their mother’s pot,” Zahra told Xinhua.

It is with this kind of thinking that Mohamed has been able to impart professional cooking skills to over 100 trainees in the last one year.

Mohamed said cooking goes beyond the traditional concept of women’s roles at home. Instead, it is a new form of empowerment which ensures that women can be able to earn a living out of their culinary skills and positively contribute towards the development of this country.

“The role of women in Somalia has for ages been confined to home keeping, but we want to change this and elevate women to compete favorably in the job market with their male counterparts,” she said.

The food Mohamed’s institute offering to teach is diverse, ranging from the popular Somali camel meat to pancakes, cakes, rice, and fish among others. And Italian cuisines as spaghetti and macoroni served with meat become common delicacy.

Leyla Osman Ali, 24, is one of the trainees at the institute whose love for cooking was nurtured once she joined the training.

“I found a hobby and discovered talent in cooking here. I would like to transfer my skills here to the market and earn a living out of it. Most of the hotels employ foreigners because the locals do not have any professional training,” said Leyla.

Like Leyla, Sabrin Ibrahim, another trainee, noted that her skills will secure her a job. “I am confident that once I finish this course, I will be in a position to get a job in many of the hotels in Mogadishu.”

Most of the professionally-run hotels in Mogadishu employ staff from neighboring Kenya, but with these would-be chefs, things are bound to change. And for once, the country can find a way to self- reliance in terms of human resource.

Many years of civil war and subsequent militancy significantly destroyed the education sector in Somalia, hence a shortage of professionally trained human resource.

Analysits say that improving security situation and opening up of the city to investors could reverse these trends, and make the country a haven not just for investors, but also tourists.

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