I am thrilled to have a double opportunity today: to introduce the first Rwandan tour made specifically for local foodies, and to tell you about the restaurant we have just opened in Kigali!

It is true: I am back to my motherland after a Sheraton sous chef job in Conakry, Guinea… It was a truly enriching experience but now I am really happy to be with my family again.

Coconut Celebration — Chef’s Rama’s special at Nyurah Restaurant in Kigali; photo by Miha Logar

First things first, I am a guest writer on the Gorilla Highlands blog because I want to help my friends launch the Gisenyi Foodie Treat, a two-day culinary experience. The eating feast begins at the Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel in Kinigi, the site of the 2019 Gorilla Highlands Silverchef annual cooking competition. For pandemic reasons it won’t happen this year but the organisers will still tell you everything about it as you sample lunch prepared by one of the top participating chefs.

Chef Rama with the silver hat of a Gorilla Highlands Silverchef winner; photo by Miha Logar

Let me share my personal GH Silverchef story: this event gave my career a huge boost in 2017 at Lake Bunyonyi, Uganda, when the Marriott staff saw me compete and offered me a job. The year later I won the competition in Kigali, becoming the first Rwandan winner. This victory played an important role in giving me the chance to test my skills in West Africa in 2019-2020.

Chef Rama advising on best serving approaches at Nyurah Restaurant in Kigali; photo by Miha Logar

Since its humble beginnings in 2015, GH Silverchef has managed to become a regional event every food lover knows about. It has helped take Rwanda’s culinary industry to another level — and now I want to push it to the next level still.

Kitchen supervision by Chef Rama at Nyurah Restaurant in Kigali; photo by Miha Logar

I am in Kigali again to teach the next generation of cooking professionals, working at a restaurant that has no match in the country. It’s called Nyurah (let me help those who don’t speak Kinyarwanda: the name comes from the verb “satisfy”) and it’s devoted to sustainable and organic meals of the highest quality while also providing training possibilities for Vatel Rwanda students. We opened in the new BPR building just yesterday.

Sambasa entrée by Chef Rama at Nyurah Restaurant in Kigali; photo by Miha Logar

The idea is to bring fresh food directly from the farmer to your plate, creatively presented and affordable (no meal is over RWF 17,000). To make this happen, I have spent weeks connecting with producers around the country. For example, our sambasa fish come straight from Gisenyi — the very place where you reach the peak of your eating pleasure on the Gisenyi Foodie Treat, served by a Moroccan/Sudanese chef. (See the rest of the program here.)

I wish I could go on that tour with you but the next few months will be exceptionally busy for me. I have to get Nyurah off the ground and then look for the next challenge. I remain a Marriott man at heart, so we will see.

Tilapia fish by Chef Rama at Nyurah Restaurant in Kigali; photo by Miha Logar

text: Ramadhan Sindayigaya