Meet Chef Bien, a passionate Chef. His passion lies in his job, he thrives in exciting and ever moving environments where creativity can be expressed through food and passed along to guests and colleagues. Position is not paramount for him, however a challenging, creative and continuing developing environment is.
Podcast Keys Notes
Can you pleases introduce yourself and tell us about your background –
My name is Singbo K. Bienvenu and I am popularly known as Chef Bien. I am from Benue Republic and I studied Hotel Management in my country. I have 2 different HND certificates. I graduated in 2004 and moved to Nigeria in 2005. Ever since then, I have been working in Nigeria and I am also opportuned to work with most best Nigeria chefs like chef fregz and others.
What are the major opportunities for a chef in Lagos / Nigeria?
Majorly, chefs would work in hotels or restaurants that really understands what they are doing and requires a chef. The true thing is, not every chef must be a private chef or catering chef. Some of us must work in restaurants and hotels to keep their reputations going up and higher.
What are the growth phases of a chef in the industry?
To be a chef one has to ask and answer some self questions such as;
- Is this really what I want to do?
- Do I have passion for this?
- Am I willing to make certain sacrifices?
And then, there are certain growth steps to follow – steward, kitchen assistant, kitchen support, cook and you might be rotated across various kitchen sections till you earn the place of chef assistant and you can start learning how to plate and represent the executive chef till you become executive chef. But this process doesn’t necessarily apply to person who attended culinary school (Listen to the podcast to learn more).
What are some of the challenges you face being a chef?
Personally, I like my things being done perfectly. So sometimes when it falls short, I feel really really bad. Again, sometimes you may not have available all you need to plate.
What should a restaurant owners look for in a Chef?
The most important thing is, finding someone with qualities of a good team leader. A chef has to have good team lead qualities no matter how good a chef you are.
What should a chef consider before taking a job?
They should look out for their happiness in that job; that’s for me. Some people will focus more on what they will be offered. In my priority, I will ask myself if I will be happy working there; if yes, I will take the job.
What piece of advice would you give someone intending to become a chef?
Like it’s said, “Rome was not built in a day”. So, being a chef, you have to go through a lot of sacrifices and you have to take it as a passion project. You don’t go into it because there are celebrity chefs and you want to be like them. You have to do it yourself, create your own identity and you need to know exactly what you want to do.
Pinterest is a good resource and one can get ideas online and work on them.
- Not every chef must be a private chef or catering chef
- To be a chef one has to ask and answer some self questions such as; Is this really what I want to do? Do I have passion for this? Am I willing to make certain sacrifices?
- A chef has to have good team lead qualities no matter how good a chef you are
- Being a chef, you have to go through a lot of sacrifices and you have to take it as a passion project
- You don’t go into it because there are celebrity chefs and you want to be like them
- You have to do it yourself, create your own identity and you need to know exactly what you want to do.
For more on chef Bien: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chef-bien-0026b948/