Over 500 chefs from across West Africa converged in Lagos for the 5th edition of the West Africa Food Festival (WAFFEST) themed “Preserving West African Flavours: The Chef’s Roles in Sustainable Food Tourism”. The annual WAFFEST hosted by the Association of Professional Chefs Nigeria is a prominent culinary event that celebrates the diverse cuisine and food culture of West Africa.
The chefs and other food industry professionals showcase, explore, and honor the culinary traditions, flavors, and innovations across the region.
Speaking at the event, Mrs. Funmi Osineye, Head of Nestlé Professional Business in Nigeria said, “We are excited to support this event celebrating the diverse culinary traditions, flavors, cuisines, and styles of West Africa. We are delighted to collaborate with food enthusiasts, and professionals transforming the business of food across the region to ignite the passion for culinary excellence”. On his part, the President of the Association of Professional Chefs, Paulinus Okon said, “The objective of WAFFEST is to celebrate the culinary flavors, sights and sounds of West Africa. Our role is to promote the indigenous West African dishes and to train aspiring and upcoming chefs to build professionalism in their career. The transfer of knowledge from experienced chefs to aspiring chefs is a significant reflection of how our culinary traditions and cultures have been transferred from one generation to the next”.
Chef Okon also commended the “Mentor-Mentee Challenge”, a competition created by Nigerian chefs during the Association’s National Summit in 2021. In her comments on behalf of other participants, the winner of the 2023 WAFFEST Mentor-Mentee challenge, Chef Anedo Miracle, from Nigeria, commended the organizers for investing in the capacity development of chefs by enhancing their culinary skills and knowledge. “As a new entrant in the culinary space, I am delighted at winning the Mentor-Mentee challenge because I know that mentorship is key to my success in this profession! My mentor helped ignite my creativity in preparing the winning dish for the competition. I hope to someday become a mentor to pass down my culinary skills to junior chefs”. WAFEST 2023 featured various activities including cooking demos, workshops and tasting sessions, competitions and awards, provided a platform for culinary experts to exchange ideas, share best practices, showcase skills, and network with other
Nestlé Professional and MAGGI, one of Nestlé’s leading brands, are sponsors of this year’s event. food displays and exhibitions of indigenous recipes, masterclasses and mentoring classes. It also Representatives of Chefs’ Associations from about 19 member countries, including Benin Republic, Togo, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Mali, Senegal, Gambia, and Burkina Faso, also participated in the festival. WAFFEST celebrates the rich and diverse culinary heritage of West Africa and seeks to enhance food tourism in the sub-region.