Carol Mugamba completed the Diploma in Food Preparation and Cooking at our Johannesburg campus in 2008 and is currently employed as the Pastry Chef at the American Table in the Clarion Hotel in Stockholm, Sweden. Carol has a busy schedule these days, but we managed to catch up with Carol and asked her some questions about her career and her studies at Capsicum.
Tell us about your best memory of your time as a student at Capsicum and what was the most useful thing you learnt while at Capsicum?
I have so many good memories, it’s impossible to pick my favourite one. I loved the classes where we had to create recipes using ingredients from the “mystery basket”. Some found this very frustrating while others had fun mixing flavours and sometimes dared to break some culinary rules. It was our version of Master Chef at Capsicum.
The trips to organic farmers markets were very enjoyable too. We used to set up a mini barbeque and kitchen and cook some delicious food on site using some of the fresh fruits and vegetables from the market.
I’ll never forget the Good Food and Wine Show I took part in – wonderful experience. And of course the many get-togethers with other Chefs from the South African Chefs Association (SACA). I can say that Capsicum had the perfect balance between hard work at school and activities outside, so we had a clear picture of what industry was like, in a practical sense.
Tell us about your life since leaving Capsicum and what jobs and positions you have held?
After Capsicum, I went back home (Uganda) and I started a catering company serving mainly at corporate events and office parties. Two years later I went to France to study French pastry and learn more about French cuisine. After my course I moved to Sweden.
Where do you currently work and what position do you hold?
I am the Pastry Chef at the American Table in the Clarion Hotel in Stockholm, Sweden
What do you love most about your job or about being a Chef? What inspires you?
I love the satisfaction I get when I see happy customers taking pictures of their plate as soon as it arrives, and then later saying they enjoyed their meal. This for me is the reason I keep going.
Do you have any advice for someone who wants to have a career in the food or hospitality industry?
It is a wonderful career, with many opportunities to create and discover new things. First ask yourself (and this applies to all professions), ‘’If I wasn’t being paid to do this, is this something I want to do still… every day?” If your answer is yes, then go ahead and get a good foundation. Do a culinary course, then start to explore all the ideas in your brain!
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