My ‘African cuisine’ hits the spot, says Jody

2015-07-14 06:00
Jody Africa (26) is currently a chef at the Westin Hotel. He says hard work and perseverance are the keys to success in any industry.

Samantha lee

Jody Africa (26) is currently a chef at the Westin Hotel. He says hard work and perseverance are the keys to success in any industry. PHOTO: Samantha lee

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Croissants, crepes, foie gras, macaroons and gateau are easy enough to make, but this local still prefers pap and wors.

Chef Jody Africa from Woodlands says nothing beats a plate of his ‘African cuisine’.

After completing his studies at Northlink College in 2008, Africa pursued his love of food as a career option.

He says: “Growing up, I always liked eating good food,” he says. “But my mother was not a very good cook,” he jokes.

“I don’t believe that I was born with the passion for food. It is something that developed over time.”

Africa says his passion really developed in his second year of study.

After several internships he is second in charge as a chef de partie at the Westin Hotel in the city centre.

“I worked my way through the ranks. At the moment I am not really cooking but doing more of a managing role,” he says. But this is something he enjoys too.

“I like to learn and later be able to teach as well,” he says. He believes in developing young chefs and leaders of tomorrow and play his part in the evolution of food.

In such a short time, Africa has grown and risen above his circumstances.

But the Woodlands son has not forgotten his roots.

He says his main inspiration was his older sister. “I grew up in a broken home and a bad neighbourhood, but I was determined to be someone and not be influenced by the negative influences. My sister was a level-headed person and a strong rolemodel and I wanted to be the same,” he says.

His ambition is to move into another one of his passions while still pursuing a career in the food industry.

“I don’t believe that you only have one passion in life,” he says.

The 26-year-old says his first love is animal health. He has plans to embark on a four-year course to become qualified in the field of animal behaviour.

But for now he plans to enter more competitions and learn from other great chefs.

“I enjoy new challenges and acquiring new skills and knowledge, which is the main reason why I was excited to be participating in the Cape Legends inter-hotel competition,” he says.

Africa says he believes in willpower and encourages the youth to believe in themselves. “No matter the circumstances, know your goals and what you want and then work toward it. Never allow influences to take over your mind,” he says.

Africa believes his faith in God and his active prayer life have helped him achieve success.

“This is not a glamorous job and it takes a lot of hard work,” Africa says.

“Make up your own mind and push peer pressure aside. No matter how hard it is, do not let it impact your goal and never be afraid to work toward it. It is not easy but you will get there if you know what you want.” V

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