Dar es Salaam, May 28, 2024 – Carlos Bastos Mella, also known as “Kalito,” has spent the last 20 years in Tanzania, making a significant impact on the hospitality industry in Dar es Salaam. Originally from Spain, Kalito moved to Tanzania in 2004 and is the owner of popular entertainment spots such as Samaki Samaki and Wavuvi Kempu. He is now advocating for the establishment of culinary and hotel management schools in Tanzania to improve the industry’s efficiency.

Kalito’s journey to Tanzania began in 2002 when he first traveled to East Africa, drawn by stories of the region’s natural beauty and rich culture. He found Tanzania particularly enchanting and decided to make it his home in 2004, marking the start of his entrepreneurial adventure.

Initially, Kalito worked as a diving instructor in Zanzibar and later as a bartender at Chui Bay Restaurant. These experiences taught him resilience and fueled his desire to succeed.

In 2007, Kalito co-founded Samaki Samaki, a restaurant known for its creativity and excellence in Tanzanian cuisine. He introduced innovative menus featuring dishes named after local attractions, and the restaurant’s decor celebrated Tanzanian culture, setting Samaki Samaki apart and showcasing Kalito’s commitment to honoring the country’s heritage through culinary arts.

Driven by his passion, Kalito expanded his business ventures, opening Kukukuku and Wavuvi Kempu. Wavuvi Kempu, in particular, reflects his respect for Tanzania’s cultural heritage. Inspired by local fishermen’s recipes, Kalito incorporated traditional dishes into the restaurant’s menu, and the establishment’s ambiance mimics a traditional fishing village, celebrating Tanzania’s maritime heritage.

Despite facing several challenges, including legal issues, Kalito, a father of four, has positively impacted the community by promoting creativity and perseverance. As he celebrates his 20th anniversary in Tanzania, Kalito expressed his desire to become a Tanzanian citizen, hoping to fully integrate into the country he now calls home.

Reflecting on his business, Kalito acknowledged the increasing competition but views it as an opportunity rather than a challenge. “Competitors have grown rapidly, but they don’t pose a major challenge to me. I see it as a chance to stay ahead,” he said.

Kalito also emphasized the need for large culinary schools to teach hotel management, citing a lack of skilled workers in the industry as a significant challenge. He often hires and trains young people, sometimes bringing in consultants to enhance their skills.

“One of the biggest challenges is that many lack the proper skills for this restaurant business because they don’t have the right education. I wish there were schools to teach these young people and make the work easier, but I train them until they meet the standards,” he explained.

Speaking about his work ethics, Mariam Yusufu, an employee who has worked with Kalito for seven years at one of his Samaki restaurants, described him as a caring boss who goes the extra mile to achieve his dreams. “Kalito is more than a boss; he cares about his employees and their welfare. He often travels to gain more knowledge to improve his work. I have worked with him for seven years,” she said.

Ibrahim Kalenga, who has worked with Kalito at Wavuvi Kempu since its inception, views him as a father figure who teaches young people to live with love. “To me, Kalito is like a father; he is a role model who has taught me a lot, and I am proud of his 20 years here in Tanzania.”

As he celebrates two decades in Tanzania, Kalito praised the Sixth Government under President Samia Suluhu Hassan, along with all previous presidents, for their efforts in developing the nation. “I commend all the governments I have seen in power; they strive and work hard,” he said.