Travel

Uproar over Somizi’s Department of Tourism cook-off event

By Clinton Moodley Time of article published 41m ago

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Minister of Tourism Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane’s cook-off with Somizi Mhlongo at the Hang Awt Restaurant in Tembisa, Gauteng on May 17 has drawn much criticism on social media.

Many people questioned how the event would boost tourism in the country.

Travel influencer and successful podcast host @MsLeloB commented on a post by Kubayi-Ngubane asking: “Minister, How does this event help rebuild tourism?” (sic)

Chef Lesego Semenya also shared his views. The seasoned chef commented: “I have hosted many a celebrity cooking show. That is not the problem, the question here is how is this event helping our industry right now at this moment? How does it showcase SA chef talent and food knowledge? There are many ways of mixing well known faces with a goal and plan.

“We could easily turn South Africa into a culinary tourist destination but sometimes it feels like we professional chefs are on our own in fighting to do that. With the pandemic so many skilled and talented chef students are sitting at home. They could easily have been showcased.” (sic)

Another social media user called the event “out of touch”.

User @GottaHaveMC commented that Mhlongo is a “celebrity cook” and not a chef.

“There’s professional chefs who have dedicated their entire livelihoods to this, gone to school & sitting at home with no platform for them to showcase their skills, they will not benefit at all from this, this event is out of touch.

“How do celebrity cook shows being a “trend globally” impact the millions of South Africans in the sector that have lost jobs ??? How does this improve hotel occupancy or restaurant seat turnover ????” (sic).

According to the Department of Tourism website, the event is aimed to “showcase some of the skills, and innovative entrepreneurial ventures that are critical in growing and sustaining the hospitality industry.”

It revealed that the event will feature exhibitions by young entrepreneurs and those who started businesses in their communities after completing skills development programmes implemented by the Department of Tourism.

Kubayi-Ngubane responded to the criticism in a tweet on Sunday night.

“This event is the last pre-budget event we are hosting since last week. Do you have feedback on other events that we held so that we can use this as part of the debriefing session with the team. If you didn’t notice other events also do indicate,” she said. (sic).

The event will be hosted ahead of the Tourism Budget Vote 2021 that will take place on May 17 in Cape Town.




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