Minor Hotels celebrates International Chef’s Day with South African Chefs making their mark globally

by Tia

International Chef’s Day, celebrated on 20 October, is a day dedicated to honouring and recognising the culinary talents that bring delectable flavours to our tables. Minor Hotels proudly joins in this celebration by introducing you to four of our exceptional chefs, each with a unique culinary journey and passion for their craft. These chefs have made an indelible mark on our properties and, more importantly, on the palates of our guests.

Chef Thapelo Mafatshe – Avani Pemba Beach Hotel, Mozambique

Chef Thapelo Mafatshe’s culinary journey began at a young age, watching his mother at a local bakery in the Northern Cape agricultural town, Jan Kempdorp. He helped with mixing dough and baking, igniting his passion for cooking. In 2003, he transitioned to a career in hospitality as a barman at Sun City Hotel in the North-West province where, while he watched the chefs at work during the Million Dollar Golfers tournament, his culinary ambitions were sparked. Thapelo’s persistence led to an opportunity for unpaid training in the kitchen, a pivotal moment that opened doors in the culinary industry.

His passion for cooking stems from the fulfilment he experiences when creating dishes. The joy he feels seeing his creations on a plate then relished by hotel guests is immeasurable. Working at Avani Pemba Beach Hotel, allows Thapelo the opportunity to engage with people from around the world, learning different languages, and exploring new cuisines.

As a chef it is difficult to pin down one favourite dish on the menu he created but Thapelo recommends trying the traditional Mozambique dish, Matapa & Prawns which is served with a South Africa staple, pap. Matapa is a delightful blend of fresh cassava leaves, ground peanut, coconut milk, and sometimes garlic, typically served with rice, fish, or shrimp.

The way he sees it, through his career the world is his oyster, and his culinary bucket list is long, but he intends to travel the world and experience different traditions and cuisines.

Mutsa Mahwehwe – Anantara Bazaruto Island Resort, Mozambique

Mutsa’s fascination for the culinary world started at a young age, watching family members cook and experimenting in the kitchen. This passion for food and cooking led him to pursue a career as a chef. He received formal culinary training at the South African Academy of Culinary Arts, providing him with a solid foundation to embark on his culinary journey. For Mutsa, cooking is more than a profession; it’s about creating exquisite dishes that can turn an ordinary dinner into a cherished memory.

Working at Anantara Bazaruto Island Resort, Mutsa enjoys the freedom he is afforded to innovate, and create unique culinary experiences for guests. His go-to recommendation is their signature beef carpaccio, a culinary masterpiece that captures the essence of the resort’s cuisine.

But this young and ambitious chef intends to serve up his culinary dreams wherever his career takes him. His goal is to master the art of hospitality management while traveling to different regions to explore local cuisines.

Kondja Nependa – Avani Windhoek Hotel & Casino, Namibia

Kondja’s culinary fascination piqued her curiosity in 2007, motivating her to delve deeper into the enticing world of food and master the art of crafting delectable dishes. Her culinary journey commenced in 2014 when she enrolled at Namibia University of Science and Technology. She went on to build on this foundation, when she furthered her culinary education by joining Silverspoon Academy in 2016.

Her passion for cooking is fuelled by the joy she sees on her family’s faces and those of the guests after savouring her dishes. Being in the kitchen means she is exposed to constant learning experiences where her colleagues at the hotel serve as a wellspring of inspiration. This young female chef finds the feedback from guests regarding her culinary creations invaluable, providing her with daily opportunities for improvement and unwavering motivation.

Kondja enjoys good quality ingredients prepared simply and if she had to make a recommendation to a guest it would be Caesar salad for a lighter option and T-Bone steak or succulent lamb chop for a heartier dining experience when visiting Avani Windhoek Hotel & Casino. Her dream is to embark on a culinary journey to France or Italy, immersing herself in their rich cultures and delving deep into the art of crafting various pasta dishes and savouring the authentic flavours of these enchanting regions.

Rob Nkhata- The Royal Livingstone Hotel by Anantara, Zambia

Nurturing a passion that began in his secondary school days, chef Rob Nkhata at The Royal Livingstone Hotel by Anantara discovered his love for the culinary world back in 2006. On school trips, he eagerly took charge of preparing lunch packs for his classmates, setting the foundation for a remarkable journey. In 2011, he embarked on formal culinary training under the guidance of Chef Annie Luzungu, eventually enrolling at Lusaka Trade to pursue a catering course. His culinary lineage traces back to his great-grandfather, a chef, and he carries the baton of this family tradition with pride. As a chef at the hotel, his favourite part of the job lies in the ability to bring joy to guests through his culinary creations. Witnessing the smiles on their faces brings him immense happiness. For those visiting this award-winning property, he highly recommends savouring the Oxtail Ravioli, a culinary delight that encapsulates the essence of the hotel’s cuisine. As for his culinary bucket list, it’s a dream shared by many aspiring chefs – to meet the renowned Chef Gordon Ramsay, a culinary icon who continues to inspire chefs worldwide with his passion and expertise.

On International Chef’s Day, we salute these remarkable chefs for their dedication to the culinary arts and for bringing the world of flavours to our guests. Join us in celebrating their passion and creativity at Minor Hotels, where every meal is an unforgettable experience.For more information about Anantara Hotels visit www.anantara.com. To learn more about Avani Resorts & Hotels visit www.avanihotels.com

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