Renowned chef opens first sports café at Kigali Arena

Wednesday December 02 2020
Coco Reinarhz.

Chef Coco Reinarhz is opening his first restaurant in East Africa at the 10,000-seater Kigali Arena. PHOTO | COURTESY


Renowned, award-winning chef Coco Reinarhz is opening his first sports café in East Africa at the 10,000-seater Kigali Arena.

Kaffé sports café will be opened in early 2021, and will cater for visitors coming to the Kigali Arena and also the entire Kigali community.

Coco Reinarhz attended the École Hotelière de Namur in Belgium and Institut Supérieur de Gestion Hotelière in Namur. He also comes from two generations of accredited chefs. He has worked in Belgium, Holland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast and South Africa. He is also the owner of Sel Afrique Pty Ltd. Born in Burundi, chef Reinarhz combines his classical French training and skill with the panorama of spectacularly expressive, but previously overlooked African food in a modern way.

He earned recognition as a top restaurateur. His restaurant, Sel et Poivre, was selected as the American Express Fine Dining restaurant and he also earned the Platinum Award Wine List from Diner’s Club in 2008. He then earned Diners Club Diamond Award for Sel et Poivre Restaurant in 2013.

Chef Reinarhz is a member of the elite Chaîne des Rôtisseurs and Disciple de l’Ordre d’Auguste Escoffier. He has also co-authored an award-winning cookbook titled To the Banqueting House, African Cuisine and Epic Journey.

He has also been a celebrity chef on hit show Master Chef-South Africa and was the main judge for the LB Cook-Off Show on SABC3. The restaurant deal includes a seven-year management agreement between QA Venue Solutions and the Rwanda government to manage the Kigali Arena.


"We will cater for all kinds of guests, from fusing some of the best African and global cuisines to offering tasty fast foods. My goal is to work with local talents and partners to provide holistic dining experiences.

"We want people to come with their families and friends and enjoy the overall experience,” said chef Coco Reinarhz.

He will also partner with other food and beverage vendors to provide world-class hospitality at the facility.

“Our goal is to have as many people coming here to receive the best quality services. This will keep the Arena vibrant,” he said.

The Kigali Arena management plans to invite other local, regional and international businesses to partner with it to set up shop at the facility.

Like other sports and entertainment facilities, the Kigali arena has been idle for much of the year, after many of the scheduled events were suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.