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Chef Japan Shaban Gahwita

I am a young Rwandan entrepreneur and professional Chef by career. I am 30 years old and have been a Chef for the past seven years; every second of the journey is a constant learning experience. With a vision to promote Rwanda through food, I decided to make cooking my daily job.

What made you want to pursue this career:

My passion started at a young age. I always had a love affair with food; wanting to try new dishes from all over the world was my dream. When I was young, my friends would go play games outside and I had more fun staying in the kitchen watching, smelling, learning, and tasting my mother’s home-cooked meals. Seeing my parents and others cook influenced me to pursue this career. Simplicity was always the key, using simple ingredients to create flavorful amazing dishes.

Culinary career and credentials:

I had the chance to join one of the best schools in Southeast Asia. It is called Taylor’s University and is located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I earned a bachelor’s degree in Culinary Art and Food Service Management. I did a dual degree – one in Malaysia and another one in Toulouse, France.

I had the opportunity to intern and work with hotels and resorts such as Shangri-La, Marriott and Le Fouquet de Toulouse. But I now work for Singita Volcano National Park.

Favorite cuisine to cook and objective:

Due to the fact that I went to Malaysia, I find myself pulled to a mixture of flavours and cuisines, including Malaysian, Japanese, Indonesian, Thai Chinese, Indian, and influences from Europe; and marrying all those with African flavours and ingredients. I also joined the Chefs Manifesto Project with over 700 chefs from around the world, helping deliver suitable food. And it has helped me understand how important it is to promote my country’s plant-based ingredients and good food for all goals, to eradicate hunger in the world.

You can follow me on Facebook (Search for Jap Gahwita) or Instagram (@chefjapshaban), where I regularly update my profile with photos of my own creations and the amazing meals you can get from fresh, locally-grown products with no GMOs.

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