I get really excited by young talent, and by good food, so was heartened to see that the future of food is in good hands when attending the third annual Cape Legends Inter Hotel Challenge awards celebration. This national platform for aspirant chefs and sommeliers in 25 hotels gives them the opportunity to be mentored, and to then compete for some fabulous prizes. More importantly, they get the opportunity to learn from others and forge their own foundation in an industry that applauds talent and hard work. Culinary tourism is part of our future, and it is wonderful to see that much of the growth is in areas like Gugulethu and Soweto. Visitors to our beautiful country like to see the origin of our local food, and to meet those who are creating and developing African cuisine.
It seemed fitting that the winner in Woman’s Month was a woman. Traditionally there has been a perception that most top chefs are male, so it was to huge applause that winning candidate chef, Charmainne Deacon, of Cape Grace, will enjoy a brilliant opportunity of a three-week working visit to the stunning Shangri-La Hotel, a lush oasis in the heart of Dubai. Also wonderful to note that her mentor is a woman!
Talent, creativity, skill and enthusiasm are always rewarded, but not always in public. To know what you are good at and to pursue a career path which will pay homage to your talents, is what breeds self-confidence. Perhaps you too are passionate about food, or nature, sport, or finance? To know what gets you excited and engaged is a good start to plotting your career path. Something or someone must surely make you feel enthusiastic.
- If you are struggling to make a decision about your career, then start by making a few lists. Start with one that lists what you are passionate about.
- Follow it with a list of your good qualities – attributes that define who you are – like creativity.
- Write down your skills – what do you do really well? Is your writing above average, are you good with numbers or perhaps even a good listener?
- Never under-estimate the value of making a list of your contacts. They could be your friends or even the parents of your friends. Often it is a good idea to get exposure to an industry that excites you by merely asking a few questions of someone who is established in a particular business sector.
Remember, if you don’t do anything, you won’t get anywhere. There is no substitute for a good attitude and making an effort. Follow Charmainne’s example, and just do it!