Chef seeks food, hospitality policy to standardise industry’s practice

Miss Kelechi Onyeulo

Miss Kelechi Onyeulo

A culinary connoisseur, Miss Kelechi Onyeulo, has said that the country needed national food and hospitality policy to standardise practice in the sector to bring at par with international yardstick.

Onyeulo, who represented Nigeria at the February 2016 Young Chef Olympiad in India, made the assertion in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Lagos.

The creative arts graduate from Redeemers University, Ogun, who spoke with NAN on her experience at the Olympiad, said that standards could be achieved when the government sees culinary culture beyond eating food.

The hospitality industry, she said, had huge potential of further developing the economy and was one of the major determinants to the wellbeing of individuals as well as a means of communication.

Food is not just eating, it is a culture and a means of communication; it is another medium on its own that could boost the country Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Onyeulo, is currently studying at the Culinary Academy, a hospitality consulting, lifestyle, recreational and academic organisation founded by Ms. Tiyan Alile.

The connoisseur said the institute was a platform which gives culinary students the opportunity to learn, teach and network with the best culinary schools worldwide.

The hospitality business can bring so much revenue to the country if it is standardised and regulated; this is what India is practicing and their economy is good for it.

My experience in India exposed me to a lot of things; the people are genuinely interested in hospitality and they do it professionally with so much joy.

Nigeria has yet to discover what hospitality can bring to our economy, especially with our diverse rich dishes and cultures,’’ she said, lamenting that Nigerians did not eat healthy when they had all it takes.

We need a national policy on hospitality business to moderate the practice in the industry and food business. We need education on what hospitality entails.

Parents should stop discouraging their children from getting interested and involved in culinary business.

Culinary skills and art is an integral part of hospitality and it is a worthwhile profession.’’

She said: “In Nigeria, there is no regulatory body that oversees the food vending business and this makes it a business for everyone; we have many substandard food vendors.

The business of food vending should strictly be for professionals who understand the science of food.

There is no standardised cooking method and many food vendors are cooking in an unhygienic environment; the health ministry needs to monitor the kind of food served to the public.

The food that comes to the public must be regulated; it must be clean, healthy and not infected. Hotels and restaurants should be made to observe the best hygienic practices’’.

The 23-year-old chef said that hygiene practice was not just clean food; it includes clean environment, spices and the quality in the food.

She advised that the Ministry of Health and that of Hospitality should work together to achieve this.

Onyeulo said that cooking was an art that could use food in different expressions.

Although food is one of the major determinants to the wellbeing of an individual, it can also be a means of communication.

Food is not just eating, it is a culture and a means of communication; it is another medium on its own.

A chef understands the basics and science of food; eating is not just to fill the tummy but it has great impact on the soul and health.

Nigeria needs to get to that level where the culinary world or hospitality industry will see it as serious or important, so, we need to start teaching this to our children right from the basic level ,’’ she said.

Onyeulo called for the inclusion of Home Economics — Home Management, Food Nutrition or Clothing and Textile — and Agricultural
Science as compulsory subjects in all schools across the federation. (NAN)

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