Living and working in one of the world’s great conflict zones is not usually synonymous with every day comforts – or food to write home about. And yet, this is what the staff at Chelsea Village, which is in the heart of Mogadishu’s MIA zone, manage to achieve.
Apart from extremely high attention to the security of its guests, Chelsea Village, which opened in 2015 has earned itself a reputation for its warm hospitality, comfortable accommodation and surprisingly delicious meals.
Undeterred by the inability to shop safely for local ingredients, fresh produce and pantry items are mainly shipped in by the Chelsea Village team and bring a versatile menu of popular Italian, Mexican and Indian dishes to life.
According to Camp Director, Costa Yanniakis, quality service delivery is possible in hard places.
“Not only is our kitchen set up and equipped to a very high standard, but Chelsea Village chefs are well-trained and used to working in challenging locations,” says Yanniakis.
Head Cook and pastry specialist, Umakant is surprised by my question that asks if there is running water and electricity at the camp.
“Of course, we have everything. Hygiene processes are also of a high standard. I always follow the HACCP process in the kitchen, like cleaning, sanitize, temperature control and good storage methods,” says Umakant.
Chef Walter is Kenyan, catering runs in his family but he also has a Diploma in Hotel Management from the prestigious Utalii College in Kenya.
“I first landed up in Mogadishu when I served in the Kenyan Defence Force, so I have experience with hard places through my forces training, but I got this job online through CTG in 2015.
It’s rewarding. My favourite part is interacting with guests on my breakfast duty. When they tell me how much they appreciate it, it makes my day.” Says Walter
What makes the quality and success of Chelsea Village so unique I ask? That would be the caring management team, concludes Umakant.
“Barbeque may not be road to world peace, but it’s a start.” Anthony Bourdain