HARARE: The Nando’s Grillers Challenge has grown bigger and better; participants have said following an intriguing and tight contest held at the organisation’s Harare Avondale branch.
The competition’s third edition saw Simbarashe from Bulawayo scooping the first place after a cook off with Victoria Falls’ Adrien Ziracha. Simbarashe grabbed a ticket to represent Zimbabwe at the Nando’s Grillers Challenge international stage to be held in Malaysia.
“I want to thank my managers, supervisors and everyone who supported me through this journey. Above all I want to thank the Lord almighty,” said Simbarashe in his victory speech.
“Of all the grillers challenges that I have been to, you guys pulled out all the stops. Today was amazing. I must say the whole team did well,” said Simbisa Brands Managing Director, Waren Meares.
Acknowledging the competition’s growth, Nando’s Zimbabwe Country Manager, Steve Chamboko also gave guests the historical background to the birth of grillers challenge.
“This grillers challenge has been different and there has been a lot of excitement. Just to revisit how this competition was conceptualized back in 1989, the founders of Nando’s decided to come up with something different.
“They then came up with a concept that would make the customer see their food prepared unlike the usual style back then where waiters would just bring food from the back. The concept then also took into consideration the people who make the chicken for whom we are gathered for today. This grillers challenge is however a stepping stone to the international grillers challenge for which our victor here will represent us,” Chamboko said.
Competitors took time to share compliments on their journey through the contest.
“This is a wonderful experience that does not only improve your skill but instills that sense of familyhood which is key in all tenants of life, either social or work related. It’s is wonderful to be here,” said a contestant, Oliver Ndambakuwa, a griller from Mutare.
“I never expected to make it for the final being a female competitor. It was also exciting to see a fellow female scoop second place in the finals. It shows inclusivity regardless of gender, a development we should always hail on the part of Nando’s. Improvements in the competition and the competition level itself are also notable development we applaud as grillers,” added Tarisai Mpofu, a Kwekwe based griller.
Confirming the development, Nando’s Marketing Manager Sandisiwe Buhle said it has been a busy three months for the fast food powerhouse as they moved across all their branches holding preliminary rounds that came up with the ‘best’ grillers, through adjudication, to battle it out in the finals.
“It’s been quite a journey and we have been on this for almost a month now going around Zimbabwe selecting the best grillers we could select at the time. We got down to 16 grillers from our 15 Casas and from these one will be representing us in Malaysia,” Buhle said.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe has come second twice in the previous international competitions they attended and is hoping to bring back the trophy home this year.