IT was 28°C / °F and partly cloudy in Dar es Salaam as I rode zigzag to avoid being washed in temporary ‘oxbow lakes’ which were flourishing in the city as a result of recent downpour on my way to Mwananyamala A Estate my intention was to meet a man, word was doing rounds in Bongoland that his traditional dishes’ preparation was classic.
For many who are familiar or may have heard of Mwananyamala A being mentioned in the city, eyebrows would stand and think of an area, where babies are born after the famous Mwananyamala Hospital in the environ without any expecting that the same location is home to World Class Chef, Fred Uisso lying low with not fully tapped and milked brain.
Meeting the chef at his Afrikando Restaurant, it was a surprise that the Tanzanian has a lot of skills in local foodstuffs’ preparations to the extent that the world reputable organisations including World Gourmet Society had recognized and awarded him with different medals and certificates.
This was another unsung hero. Narrating his story Mr Uisso states that in 2016, he was the first African to have been spotted with a unique talent to prepare traditional dishes in a competition that was organised in the US that in the run-up made him become the fourth winner and awarded with a certificate and medal he dangles in his office.
“At the World Food Championships Orange Beach in 2016 International Division, I emerged the fourth best person and only African. Thereafter I was nominated for a judging course at the Food Champ University Tennessee in US and awarded a Diploma in Food Management and International Culinary judge also awarded a certified gold card presided over by over 50,000 judges,” he says.
His flashback also goes to how the Gourmet Society Restaurants rigorously tested his capacity and knowledge to prepare Tanzania traditional dishes and identified him as the second best chef in a competition that was organized in Monaco, France.
Asked how he grew the appetite in food industry and climbed to such success, he says that a fully functioning and complete man should be happy and enjoy by eating his taste, adding that you are what you eat.
“We all reveal our most elementary social, economic and emotional truths in the ways that we cook, eat and serve food. So why not ask those who changed the world what they were eating while they did it? “Many successful people in life and paying businesses are mostly in the hotel industries, because food takes the central part of living,” adds Mr Uisso.
The Chef says that for over 17 years locally visiting different regions in the country to learn and know much their different foodstuffs, he believes he has a vast knowledge in domestic dishes worth sharing with visitors especially tourists, who want to know much about Tanzania dishes.
“After the strenuous study, I was invited at the Nelson Mandela Culinary Challenge for a competition and with four local rural and ordinary Tanzania mothers, I became the first winner in barbecue and also shiro cuisine as the best chef in meat roasting of wild game,” he says.
That was with the background that hunger for freedom traces Nelson Mandela’s journey in food reminiscences and recipes from the corn grinding stone of his Mvezo birthplace, and simple dishes like umphokoqo through wedding cakes, prison hunger strikes and presidential banquets into a retirement deliciously infused with the Mozambican seafood dishes of his third wife Graça Machel.
In further explanation, he says that Tanzania is blessed with a vast greenland that produces natural foodstuffs, which ought to be the country’s trademark and attract visitors.
He says that now with the brand new airplanes purchased in the country to ease air transport and improve tourism industry, the government should consider serving Tanzanian dishes in the flights as a way to promote the country culture and foodstuffs.
“I have been to several parts of the world and in many flights a passenger is served with biscuits and cosmetic foodstuffs mixed with curry and pepper, why not have Tanzanian dishes like roasted meat that is delicious and salivating at a glance. “The government should think of ways of how to improve comfort and food in the flights and the best people to reach for a piece of advice are reputable chefs, who are Tanzanians like myself,” he points out.
Mr Uisso further says that to help young people coming up Tanzanians with the skills, which in a way would guarantee some employment; he has dedicated his time and resources to teach and train them online how to practically prepare fresh dishes.
“Unlike many tourism institutions, which train our youth in hotel industry and charging them high for theories, I would be training them practically on how to prepare any food of their taste,” he says.
Shedding light on how to improve tourism and hotel industry in Tanzania, he appeals to the government to reduce charges it imposes on an institution or an individuals, who would opt to hire foreign experts. “It is not that local Tanzanians are inferior in the business, but think of a case where one has come out of School in Standard Seven in a local rural set up and knows nothing on spoons and forks arrangement to a visitor you esteem.
“Our brothers from South Africa and Kenya ventured into the industry with a lot of strategy long ago before us, and once we hire their nationals for a period at a considerable free to the Immigration, our citizens will gain much. I want to give my consultancy in food industry for the growth of culture and tourism in Tanzania that is my country,” he says.