Qamili Dave (Class of 2017): Mastering the art of cooking | Aga Khan Academies

Qamili Dave (Class of 2017): Mastering the art of cooking

Qamili Dave is a passionate culinary arts professional from Mombasa, Kenya who graduated from the Aga Khan Academy Mombasa in 2017, which she joined in Year 1.

For Qamili, being part of the Academy was such an interesting and enriching experience - something she is always appreciative of as it shaped her to be the person she is today. For one, the open and trusting environment cultivated at the Academy helped to elevate her self-confidence as she fondly recalls, “The Academy really helped me to stand up for myself. I felt so safe asking teachers questions and they always encouraged it.” Joining college, she would continue to carry herself with the same confidence, eventually running and winning to become Student Council President at Boma International Hospitality College for two terms.

If there’s one accomplishment Qamili is really proud of during her time at the Academy, it is the exciting opportunity she was afforded to intern at the Serena Beach Hotel Mombasa through the Aga Khan Development Network Internship Programme. This chance, she says, defined the course of her career and future as it is where she became certain about pursuing a career in culinary arts. “Although I knew I loved to cook, I wasn’t sure it was the right profession for me. However, during my internship I realised I was on the right path. It was hands down the biggest stepping stone to my career because I learnt almost all the basics and this made college a breeze,” says Qamili. “The experience also introduced me to the real working environment; how to formally interact with people and some of the challenges I would face while working. All in all, I really enjoyed it.”

Although she has had to move back home to Mombasa after graduating college because of the impact COVID-19 has had on the hospitality industry, Qamili says this has in fact been a blessing in disguise. She has used this time to complete two online Harvard courses - ‘Science & Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science’ in both chemistry and physics. She has also dedicated this time to grow her food page (@chaqula_) on Instagram and explore recipes from different cultures. In addition, Qamili has been helping out her parents with their advertising and signage business ‘Eyecatchers & Daughters’, which she says has taught her a lot about running a business.

“It’s been eye opening and refreshing,” Qamili says of the experiences.

Having found what she believes to be her calling in life, the thing that Qamili loves most about being a chef is preparing a good satisfying meal that warms the hearts of people, especially her loved ones.

For her words of wisdom to current students at AKA Mombasa, Qamili says: “I would tell them to appreciate their teachers and everyone supporting them. I would also tell them to work smart; to be effective and efficient in everything that they do. Lastly, I would advise them to take advantage of the internship opportunities provided by the Academy to get as much exposure as they can as this will really give them insight on the career path that is right for them.”