The National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR), last week in Abuja, announced names of the Culinary Schools that emerged frontrunners of the 2nd NIHOTOUR Culinary Schools’ Cooking Competition. The Cooking Competition is held annually to herald the annual NIHOTOUR Gastronomy Festival which holds at the prestigious Abuja International Conference Centre. The cooking competition aspect of the Gastronomy Festival was introduced in 2022, as one of the signature events of food festival.
The cooking competition held from Monday 8th to Friday 12th May 2023 in Abuja. This year’s edition had nine Abuja-based culinary schools competing for the usual top three positions including Red Dish Chronicles Culinary School; Abuja Culinary School; Owande Catering School; Chef’s Academy; Masterminds Catering & Culinary School; Godmario Centre for Culinary Art; Pristine Culinary & Catering School; Topkraft Culinary Academy; and Glory International School. Each culinary school was represented by two student chefs who displayed their culinary skills in diverse gastronomic areas such as table d’hote menu, misen-place, knife handling skills, preparation, production, and presentation.
At the end of the 5-day marathon cooking competition, Red Dish Chronicles Culinary school came first, Masterminds Catering & Culinary School came second, and Chefs Academy came third. Traditionally, these top-three winners will be given some mouth-watering prizes during the Gala Night of the NIHOTOUR Gastronomy Festival at International Conference Centre Abuja on the 17th of June. Award prizes includes large-scale kitchen equipment, paid foreign trips, and fully funded culinary development training courses, among others.
In arriving at the selection of the original nine participating culinary schools and eventual top-three winning culinary schools, the Competition Technical Planning Committee considered and ensured, among other things, that only bonafide students of the participating culinary school compete, not their instructors or technicians; and also that the schools have befitting kitchen, with necessary equipment, capable of hosting the cooking competition for the contestants – since the assessment will be carried out in the contestants’ culinary schools.
The 2023 NIHOTOUR Cooking Competition Technical Planning Committee is comprised of representatives of NIHOTOUR Hospitality Studies Department, representatives of Association of Professional Chefs of Nigeria (APCN) and two experts from Hospitality private sectors, who served as the Panel of Judges, namely Chef Bitrus Maiwayo and Chef Samirah Ajayi.
The Management of NIHOTOUR had weeks ago announced the dates and venue of this year’s Gastronomy Festival as June 16th and 17th 2023, to hold at the Abuja International Conference Centre. This year’s Gastronomy Festival is the third consecutive food and beverage exhibition and sampling event, initiated and annually organized by NIHOTOUR, since 2021. The theme for this year’s festival is “Culinary Arts: The Gate Way to Growing Tourism Destination”.
NIHOTOUR Gastronomy Festival is conceptualised and programmed to upskill Nigerian gastronomes and culinary artists on the technicalities, and emerging global best practises, of processing, preparing, presenting, packaging and promotion of foods, especially Nigerian traditional cuisines. Understandably, NIHOTOUR’s objective of investing in such mega Gastronomy Festival is, among other things, to improve the expertise of personnel in the industry, especially those in the eatery, restaurants, and hotels sub-sectors, across tourist destinations in Nigeria.
The National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR), a parastatal of the Federal Government established by an Act of Parliament to train, certify and register personnel in Nigeria’s hospitality, travel, and tourism sector.