The Gorilla Highlands (GH) initiative is a project to globally brand and promote the transboundary region shared by Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Instead of a short stop-over to see mountain gorillas, we want to position it as a region that has a lot to offer and should be a destination by itself. GH uses innovative solutions to tell the world a positive story about this part of Africa and bring about economic development specifically targeting the poor.
The main approach of GH is to bring the private sector of the three countries together, create business linkages and personal networks. The central annual event of the initiative is the Gorilla Highlands Silverchef cooking competition, an opportunity for all GH partners to meet their colleagues from the tourism, media and development fraternities while sampling excellent food.
To chefs, GH Silverchef means an event to both challenge them creatively and instil confidence. They learn how to benchmark and adapt to different situations and environments. We give them unprecedented attention by providing a platform to present their skills and familiarisation trips that take them out of their kitchens. They respond with cooperation and camaraderie that makes the event less of a competition and more of a learning experience for every chef involved.
For the Gorilla Highlands region, this is a chance to showcase the quality and variety of her rich food, unearthing culinary excellence that may well surprise its visitors.
GH Silverchef has been taking place since 2015, inviting chefs from an ever widening geographical area. We started in Kisoro (2015) with competitors from southwestern Uganda, in Kabale (2016) we added Rwanda’s districts of Burera and Musanze, and at Lake Bunyonyi (2017) everyone from Gisenyi to Queen Elizabeth National Park was invited.
Gorilla Highlands Silverchef, 4th Edition
Hosted in Rwanda: After three Ugandan hosts, the Marriott in Kigali will be the GH Silverchef venue for 2018.
Date: 28-29 April 2018
National Catchment Area: The Marriott’s many kitchens will allow us to expand the number of competitors to 16, and with that our coverage. Chefs from any restaurant or accommodation provider in Rwanda, Uganda and the DRC are invited, the only condition being that they are nationals of the East African Community or the DRC.
Tougher Challenge: After three years of supplying competitors with lists of available ingredients — allowing advance preparation for the event — we are moving to the next level. At GH Silverchef 2018 ingredients will be secret and force chefs to think fast and show their creativity.
Program: The invitation-only competition day will take place on Saturday 28 April in two shifts. Each GH Silverchef competitor will be allocated to one of the shifts and will have to prepare a two-course meal for five people. Saturday tasting will be joined by especially invited tourism and media professionals from all the three countries, who will also enjoy an internal GH networking event.
On Sunday 29 April 2018, following familiarisation trips for GH Silverchef competitors and guests, the public part of the event will take place at 1pm. A silver hat for the winner, quality cooking/successful participation certificates and prizes will be given out, a video of the competition will be presented and the special edition of the Gorilla Highlands Pocket Guide booklet will be unveiled.
How to Attend GH Silverchef 2018
Chefs: The competition is open to both representatives of hotels/restaurants and chefs wishing to compete independently. Candidates have to apply at www.gorillahighlands.com/silverchef-application-soumission by 9 March 2018; if the number exceeds available slots, the organisers will make the selection by 1 April. Competition fees of USD 200 (includes two nights at the Kigali Marriott, meals, cooking ingredients and the Sunday fam trip) have to be cleared by 14 April.
Owners/senior managers from tourism/media/development/government sectors: If you would like to attend the networking and tasting event on Saturday 28 April and get an in-depth look into the Gorilla Highlands initiative, write to email@example.com for an invite. There are no fees involved and we will do our best to get you accommodation and other discounts.
Everybody else: The Sunday Gorilla Highlands buffet (29 April at 1pm) is meant for the general public. If you are interested in sampling the food and getting to know the Gorilla Highlands initiative, standard Marriott brunch charges apply (RWF 25,000; includes soft drinks, live music, swimming pool access, kids’ sports and bouncing castle activities).
More information: firstname.lastname@example.org, +250 781 462 284, +256 776 558 123
Photo: Abby Bluth, Enock Luyonza, Vincent Mugaba, Kigali Marriott