Blogpost: Building lasting connections as a Sushi Chef in Maputo

Jan 11, 2024

Building Lasting Connections: My Journey as a Sushi Chef in Maputo

Introduction:

As a private sushi chef in Maputo, I have had the pleasure of not only creating delicious and intricate dishes but also forming meaningful relationships with my clients. Every interaction with a client is an opportunity to connect, and create unforgettable culinary experiences. In this blog post, I would like to take you on a journey of my travels to clients and the bonds I have formed along the way.

Exploring Maputo's Culinary Scene:

When I first arrived in Maputo, the vibrant capital city of Mozambique, from my hometown of Tofo-Inhambane, I was greeted by familiar dishes from my roots as i ventured into small eateries at Bazar Marketplaces. These ventures, initially driven by my desire to find something to eat due to my laziness to cook, transformed into journeys of exploration.

As I exchanged pleasantries and conversed with servers during these culinary expeditions, I discovered how Maputo gracefully embraces a diverse range of cultures and flavors. The city serving as a captivating melting pot, where the influence of the Vatonga tribe from Inhambane (my mom’s side) and the Vatswa tribe from Inhambane (my dad’s side) is prominently felt.  But that’s not all! There are so many other tribal groups from across Mozambique that contribute to the rich tapestry of Maputo’s cultural heritage. 


Taking Sushi to My Clients: 

Before I arrived in Maputo, I was just a sushi chef with a dream. But now, I’m a sushi chef with a dream and a passport! My clients in Tofo loved my sushi so much that they begged me to make it for them on my days off. And let me tell you, their feedback was so positive, it was like a warm hug from a giant octopus.

So I decided to take my passion for sushi and my extensive experience as a hospitality professional in the Barra beach area and the Tofo beach area and create something truly special. I wanted to create a sushi catering service that would make people’s taste buds dance like nobody’s watching. And that’s exactly what I did! I’m now a sushi superhero, swooping in to save the day with my trusty chopsticks and a smile. Every journey being an adventure, and taking me to different neighborhoods and allowing me to discover the diverse communities that make up Maputo province. 

The Car Ride to my clients Home

Let me tell you aboutThambissa, my great, great, great grandparent. He was a general of the last dynastic emperor of the Empire of Gaza, Emperor Ngungunhana, but he decided to ditch his King and settle in Thambissa - Inhambane, which is located approximately 15 kilometers off the main road from Ka Nhazete, between Guiuwa and Jangamo. And guess what? He named the area after himself!

I bring up Thambissa because his spirit of adventure and innovation may be runing in my blood! When in the kitchen I’m like a sushi warrior, slicing and dicing my way through the culinary world as i stealthily blend flavors and techniques to create new and exciting dishes, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible.

But it’s not just about the sushi. It’s about the journey. That’s why I listen to traditional Timbila tunes during our car rides to the homes of clients. It’s like we’re on a musical safari, exploring the wilds of Maputo province. And let me tell you, when the team and i start singing along to the rhythm of Timbila, it’s like we’re all part of one big, happy family. We laugh, we sing, we break chopsticks. It’s like a party on wheels!

I imagine that this is how Thambissa would have found relief from pre-war jitters and connected with his war comrades. And now, I’m carrying on that tradition. So if you’re looking for a sushi experience that’s out of this world, come join the party! 

Building Trust and Connections:

One of the most rewarding aspects of my work is the relationships I have built with my clients. Over time, we have developed a level of trust and understanding that goes beyond the culinary realm. Being entrusted with 80% of the total catering fee is a rare occurrence in the catering industry. Typically, caterers are only entrusted with 50% of the total amount. However, my clients have been so impressed with my work that they have recommended me to others, which has allowed these others to place their complete trust in me.

They feel no discomfort or hesitation in depositing this amount, even though they are entrusting it to a stranger. This is a testament to the quality of my work and the trust that I have built with my clients. As I prepare the sushi, I also often engage in conversations with my clients, learning about their lives, stories, and experiences. These connections have given me a deeper appreciation for the diversity and beauty of Maputo's people. I have had the privilege of hearing personal stories, witnessing important milestones, and even being invited to join in celebrations.

birds on body of water during daytime



Creating Unforgettable Culinary Experiences:   

My dishes have been said to be a masterpiece, something of an art Museum. A symphony of flavors and a culinary rainbow, with every color symbolizing the rich diversity of Mozambique’s tribes. And i have had my clinets say that i  create sushi dishes that are so unforgettable, they are like a party in the mouth. 

Grateful for the Journey:

As I reminisce about my journey as a sushi chef in Maputo, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the experiences and connections I have forged. My culinary voyage has taken me to meet and connect with fisherman, to the homes of hospitable individuals in Goba, Sommerschield, Polana, Ponta do Ouro, Maracuene, Makaneta, Ponta Malongane, Mozal, Shihango, Triunfo, and the entire Costa do Sol area. I’ve even had the pleasure of interacting with the Senhoras do mercado (meaning ladies of the Bazar marquet) at the vibrant Bazar marketplaces such as Fajardo, Malanga, Zimpeto, and Mercado Central. These remarkable women not only provide me with fresh vegetables for my sushi but also inspire me with their zest for life.

I’m looking forward to embarking on many more journeys, exploring new flavors, and building even deeper connections with the incredible people of Maputo. Who knows, maybe I’ll even find a way to incorporate coconuts into my sushi recipes as a way to pay homege to my home land Inhambane. 

If you are in search of a private sushi chef who not only creates exquisite dishes but also brings a personal touch to your event, I would be honored to be a part of your culinary experience.
Together, let's create unforgettable memories through the art of sushi.

Arigato gozaimasu, Chef Stelio


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