French chef Alexandre Coupy, the executive head chef of the Royal Livingstone Hotel, travelled to Lusaka specifically to prepare a gourmet of French meals as part of the Francophonie Week. The 41-year-old, who came to Zambia over three years ago, said it was an honor to present French cuisine during the Francophonie Week, which he prepared at the Southern Sun in Lusaka. He also explained how he became a cook. "I started (cooking) when I was 15. My family had a restaurant in France, and I used to go in the kitchen, not really to cook, but it was the atmosphere; I always loved the atmosphere in the kitchen. And then at 15 I started to work and I really enjoyed it," he said. Coupy underwent French military service in Djibouti. And it was there that his love for Africa was kindled. "I did my French military service - in France we do military service - in Djibouti and I fell in love with Africa. After that I knew one day or another I would come back to Africa," he said. After working in South Africa for 12 years, Coupy applied for the position of chef at the scenic Royal Livingstone Hotel. He arrived in Zambia in November 2007 with his wife and their two young children. "Zambia is home for me. My second born started to walk in Zambia, and the first-born, she started school here in Zambia, and that will always stay in their minds hopefully. Hopefully they will remember. We have a house in South Africa, but the children say 'no, no, let's go back home' because they consider Livingstone their home. Their best memories are in Livingstone; Most of their friends are in Livingstone, home is Livingstone." For the Francophonie Week, Coupy says he had prepared several traditional French meals, as well as some with a Zambian touch. "I try to do traditional French dishes, with Zambian ingredients, which I think is very good. Duck in France is very popular; lamb is very popular; beef is a very popular dish, some French soup as well, some snail and oyster. Those are very nice and exciting; nothing too complicated, but good." "I think it's very good for me to be involved in the Francophonie Week. I feel very much honored to have been called to prepare the food for it," he said. He says he has made effort to train more cooks in other cuisines. "We train in international cuisine because, you know, we need to train people more in international cuisine, not just French. We do Egyptian food, Italian food, we've got some German dishes, and we've got a very good Zambian menu as well. You need to prepare local meals, but you to do international as well," he says. Royal Livingstone Hotel is a very popular getaway for tourists, catering for a variety of dishes from all over the world. Coupy says despite the busy atmosphere that characterizes the hotel's kitchen, he has a dedicated team of chefs and cooks with whom he works. "When you have a good team, it's easy, simple as that. When you have people who are willing, who want to work, it's easy. I've got very good chefs in the kitchen, good guys (who) really want to learn. Some do a lot of hours and never complain, get satisfaction and they bring that into the kitchen and I think that for me is a big plus. It's been such a great pleasure for me."