To Peace Nankunda Butera, ending up in the kitchen was not another option.
As early as 14, she was keen on what went on in her aunt’s kitchen. She readily availed herself to chop onions and any other ingredients that would be needed in the preparation of meals.
“I always admired my maternal aunt because she used to love cooking. Her food was always out of this world. I wanted to prepare tasty meals like hers and she offered to teach me,” she recollects.
Soon, family members noticed her zeal and started supporting her by putting together resources that enabled her to enrol for a diploma in Hotel Management and Catering at Makerere University Business School in Kampala.
She applied for internship placement at Nile Hotel in 1993. “My supervisors must have been impressed because after three months, I was hired as a cook,” she recalls. Her heart hungered for more so she continued proving herself.
When Nile Hotel was bought by the Serena group, the new management upped the standards. Butera was one of the key staff members that were retained. She was taken through training that took place in five African countries, as well as at five star hotels in South Africa and Turkey.
When she returned to Kampala Serena Hotel, management was impressed by her skills and promoted her to the position of Executive Sous Chef. Some of the highlights of her career include being chosen to prepare some of Queen Elizabeth II’s meals.
This was during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, which was held in Kampala, from November 23 to 25 in 2007.
She is glad to have been trusted to prepare meals for among other high profile guests including President Bill Clinton and his family.
Every year, Butera is entitled to 14 days of leave during which she travels to different destinations of the world, with her family.