Inspiring young chefs to dream big and tackle change
By Franz de Waal, Hostex 2020 ambassador, Owner of Hashtag Hot Caterers, Rome Around Mobile Food Bars, chef, catering specialist, entrepreneur, philanthropist and helicopter pilot
Franz has been in the food industry all his life, starting as a supermarket employee. His passion for the industry and its never-ending transformation knows no bounds. Here, brought to you by Hostex 2020, he motivates young chefs to make their mark on the industry and more specifically, on sustainability, and encourages the rest of industry to enable them to achieve their dreams.
Junior chefs today are no longer confined to stirring stock pots and cleaning freezers, but are allowed to dream outside the box. Yes, I do believe the basics of the culinary art and working the long hours are most essential to build the chain of command and respect for their gift as a chef, but dream big!
The young chefs are our future and they need to be respected and valued – they bring new vision and trends to our older, more experienced ears, particularly as the world of social media, young activists and free thinkers grows daily. We have something to learn from our young chefs and they need to know this; they need to be inspired and believe in themselves. No longer are they restricted to under-rated positions and poor wages.
I have been dreaming big since I was a teenager when I envisioned people buying my food off the shelves; I imagined cooking for my heroes and teaching others who have their own dreams. It is now a reality, but the insight I receive from young chefs around me constantly gives me key guidelines on where to steer my companies.
Young chefs must be hungry to create and follow the latest trends, then choose their avenue and master it.
A crucial trend in the culinary profession is sustainability – both in terms of waste and food product use, to eliminate the greenhouse effect on our planet – and it must be taken seriously by the industry and particularly by our young, up-and-coming chefs. The time for change-making is now and crises such as forest degradation and desertification, single-use plastic pollution, greenhouse gas emissions by food manufacturers, and more, must be addressed.
Young chefs need to be encouraged to study and research these realities, seeking solutions and ensuring that change happens. Their culinary careers are important and must be pursued with passion, but at the same time, there is a strong need for focus on sustainability in our industry, our food experiences, and on our planet.
It’s up to us and the industry as a whole to make sure that our young people aspiring to succeed in the culinary sector – whether as entrepreneurs, business owners, or employees – must have the tools to achieve, insight into the world of food, the right knowledge, and a commitment to a great future. With this, they will be in a much stronger position to add value to their own lives, the industry’s, and the wider global community.
Every leader started as an employee and first added value to their employer before becoming a game changer. This amazing culinary world we work in is not defined by eligibility, gender, race, religion, wealth or circumstance – it is defined by our passion.
So young culinary artists, it’s time to shine – claim your dream and make our planet a better place for the generations to come.
Join Franz de Waal at Hostex 2020 where he, together with James Khoza, President of SA Chefs Association and Hostex 2020 ambassador, will be presenting valuable insight into sustainability in the culinary industry – at IndustryLIVE! on 1 March at 11h30.
For more information on Hostex 2020, visit www.hostex.co.za