ONGWEDIVA – Making people smile with his delicious meals is a dream come true for 30-year-old chef, Patrick Idhogela.
Growing up in the Iihanguti village in the Omusati region, Idhogela dreamt of being a mechanic, but he would enjoy every chance he got to help his grandmother cook for his siblings.
“My first job, I started working as a steward at Hilton Hotel. I, in actual fact, did not go to culinary school to learn how to cook, but I would observe the chefs in the kitchen because I was eager to learn more. I always wanted to help the chefs in the kitchen,” he told Youth Corner.
Currently employed as a cook at Blikbeker in Windhoek’s southern industrial area, Idhogela highlighted that the executive chef at the Hilton Hotel saw his willingness and gave him a chance to be a kitchen help, helping the chefs prepare small dishes.
“They later promoted me to chef, and I cooked every dish with love and excitement. My guests were always happy with my food that they would specifically request for their meals to be cooked by me,” said Idhogela with a smirk.
He listed buffet meals, burgers, pizza and salads as his speciality.
The chef maintained that life in the kitchen is easy for him, and that it is not as difficult, as people think it is because he has fallen in love with cooking and does not see himself doing anything else besides being a chef.
“I worked in various kitchens after Hilton, and have since catered for various weddings, confirmations and weddings,” said Idhogela.
He shared that his family and friends have been very supportive of his career choice and have supported him all the way, adding that they never judged him – in fact, they have given him the nickname ‘Our own top chef’, which has greatly motivated him.
Idhogela says he has not experienced challenges in his career as a chef.
“Society thinks cooking is just cooking; they think everyone can do it, and that it is something easy and can only be done by uneducated people, but I can assure you, cooking is just not cooking. Cooking requires passion; one needs to love and know what they are doing to be able to cook and present a dish,” he explained.
In addition to wanting to go back to school to finish his studies, Idhogela plans to own his own restaurant and provide employment to his fellow Namibians.
He encouraged those who would like to become chefs to have a true passion for the art of cooking and to be consistent in their performance.