BCA Advocates For Regulatory Authority In Culinary Arts

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The Botswana Chef Association (BCA) has called for regulation and autonomy of the sector. Motivating the matter at the Bojanala tourism cluster stakeholder and skills exchange workshop in Maun this week, BCA Secretary General Thuto Masala highlighted that the association’s mission and the urgent need for a regulatory body is overdue, indicating that, across the globe, culinary professionals benefit from regulatory bodies that ensure standards, provide guidance, and address industry challenges.

Masala further indicated that these entities empower chefs, allowing their voices to be heard and fostering growth. However, locally the culinary landscape has been largely dependent on government departments. 

According to Masala, BCA recognises the limitations of this arrangement and aims to transform this narrative as their vision includes establishing a dedicated regulatory board that will oversee the culinary sector. This board would provide essential guidance, address challenges, and ensure fair compensation for chefs. By having their own authority, chefs can shape the industry’s future.

Masala challenged government departments to help deliberate on the matter as soon as possible before the three-day workshop in Maun. The meeting that was attended by BCA representatives, Dr. Fernando Siamisang (Director of HRDC Planning – Demand), and officials from the Ministry of entrepreneurship, aims to chart a way forward regarding the matter.

Institute of Development Management (IDM) Culinary Arts Senior Consultant Kopano Bogopa revealed that BCA needs to be regulated more so that they are part of the critical player in the value chain, indicating that the autonomy of the association will elevate their profession, ensuring that chefs receive the recognition and remuneration they deserve.

“It’s time for Botswana’s culinary stars to shine brighter than ever before. We are tired of talking,” she asserts. “It’s time to act and take charge of our industry.” Bogopa highlights the pressing issues of low payment structures that plague chefs across the sphere. The industry’s potential remains untapped due to inadequate compensation.

Meanwhile, Boswa Culinary Institute Chief Executive Officer Rebecca Pheko, highlighted another challenge of hiring qualified lecturers, indicating that the Botswana Qualifications Authority (BQA) mandates degree-level instructors, yet no local institution offers such qualifications.

“We’re stuck with diploma holders,” Pheko laments. She urges the authority to revisit these regulations, emphasising the need for relevant expertise. “Hospitality and Tourism lecturers,” she asserts, “must align with the culinary arts, indicating that hospitality and tourism lecturer cannot teach at culinary institute because they are two different professions.

According to Pheko, the autonomy of the BCA can address such challenges without having to engage third party, so as to get the right pathways towards achieving their desired goals in the culinary arts industry, indicating that the HRDC should advice or inform the BQA of their complaints.

The director of Human Resource Development Planning-Demand Dr Fernando Siamisang revealed has promised to engage with the BQA on the matter.

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