However, this situation has changed as Rwandans have now mastered the culinary profession to such an extent that they can compete at the international level.
One outstanding Rwandan chef who has garnered extensive experience is Eric Kanyemera. With a background working in international hotels and completing various culinary courses, Kanyemera has been dedicated to his craft for the past ten years. His passion for cooking stemmed from his childhood, where he often found joy in preparing meals for his siblings as the eldest in the family.
Although Kanyemera loved cooking, he initially never envisioned it as a lifelong career. Like many children, he pursued his education with dreams of becoming a doctor or a pilot. When he was about to study technology at IPRC Tumba in 2013, he recognized the challenges of securing a stable career in that field. This realization prompted him to switch gears and pursue culinary studies at UTB, seeing it as a profession with promising prospects.
Consequently, he earned a second degree, which proved to be the gateway to his current success.
While starting his culinary courses, Kanyemera actively sought opportunities to immerse himself in the profession. In 2013, he joined the kitchen staff at Bourbon Coffee, later expanding his knowledge by working at Sports View Hotel and Kigali Serena Hotel. As Rwanda began attracting international investors in the hotel industry, Kanyemera saw this as an opportunity and went on to work at esteemed establishments such as Kigali Marriott Hotel, Radisson Blu, and Kigali Convention Centre as one of the chefs.
In 2018, Kanyemera’s expertise led him to become the head of the kitchen at Bisate Lodge. Within a year, he assumed the same position at Magashi Lodge.
His talent and dedication were further recognized when Rwanda hosted the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). During this event, Kanyemera had the opportunity to showcase his skills at M Hotel, which eventually led to an invitation to Europe, providing him with a unique opportunity to fulfill his dream of gaining international exposure.
"I had that opportunity and I grabbed it," Kanyemera has told IGIHE. "I went to the United Kingdom as the head chef of theThe Inn Hotel Jersey, and I also took the opportunity to pursue specialized culinary courses that were not readily available in Rwanda."
His pursuit of knowledge led him to acquire certifications in vegan cooking, UK cooking gastronomy technician, and level 3 certificate of supervising food safety.
Despite the allure of international success, Kanyemera never forgot his roots. "I have my family here, and I feel it’s my responsibility to help and contribute to the growth of this industry in our country," he says passionately. Eager to share his expertise and experiences with his fellow Rwandan chefs, Kanyemera returned to his homeland.
As he takes the helm as the executive chef at Mythos Boutique Hotel’s Atmosphere Restaurant , Kanyemera’s vision for the culinary experience is clear.
He aims to create a dining atmosphere that surpasses expectations and delights guests. "I always try to create something like a fusion," he explains. "I prefer using local ingredients whenever possible to ensure authenticity and availability."
Kanyemera’s commitment to innovation and guest satisfaction is reflected in his approach to menu creation. Understanding the importance of freshness and novelty, he plans to change the menu every few months, ensuring that guests always have something new and exciting to experience.
Besides, Kanyemera emphasizes the significance of teamwork and leadership in the culinary world. "You can’t be a great chef if you don’t have a great team," he states firmly. Recognizing that the success of a kitchen lies not only in cooking skills but also in collaboration and communication, Kanyemera aims to foster an environment where his team can thrive.
Kanyemera’s dedication and passion for his craft have brought him incredible opportunities and recognition. He vividly recalls the moment when he had the privilege of cooking for the President of Rwanda during a visit to Akagera National Park. "It was one of the biggest achievements I ever had in this career," he proudly states. "Hard work always pays off."
As he continues to explore his culinary repertoire, Kanyemera has developed a particular affinity for Italian cuisine. "Italian dishes are one of my favorites," he reveals. "I enjoy creating a fusion by incorporating local ingredients that can easily be found in Rwanda."
With Kanyemera at the helm, Mythos Boutique Hotel can expect a culinary experience that combines passion, innovation, and the flavors of Rwanda. As a chef who has honed his skills both locally and internationally, Kanyemera is poised to elevate the dining experience and leave a lasting impression on guests.