Tag Archives: Singita chef

The People of Singita: An Update on Michael Matera

November 14, 2014 - People of Singita,Singita Grumeti,Singita Sabora Tented Camp

Singita Sabora Tented Camp, Tanzania

Towards the end of last year, we kicked off a series of profiles on some of the members of our team. These #SingitaStories introduced blog readers to the amazing women who run Singita Sweni Lodge, an ex-poacher who became a pastry chef and one of the most respected wildlife trackers in the world.

Dining al fresco at Singita Sabora Tented Camp

The first in this series was the story of Michael Matera, then Senior Sous Chef at Singita Sasakwa Lodge. Michael worked his way up from the position of Grounds Attendant at Singita Sabora Tented Camp to assisting in the staff kitchen, where he learned the basic cooking skills that would set him up for a career as a chef. After many long hours at the stove, lots of extra lessons and taking an English course to improve his language competency, Michael was promoted to the main guest kitchen. He flourished here and was subsequently named Tanzanian Chef of the Year, and Senior Sous Chef under Executive Chef, Frank Louw.

Michael Matera and Frank Louw

Michael Matera and Frank Louw

We are very proud to report that Michael continues to be an asset to the team at Singita Grumeti. After another year of hard work and dedication, he was recently promoted to the role of Chef at Singita Sabora Tented Camp. This is especially significant as Michael is the first Tanzanian to hold this position, and as Frank remarks, “makes him an inspiration to so many other young Tanzanians wanting to make a change in their lives.”

The cuisine at Singita Sabora Tented Camp

Michael’s experiences have inspired him to pass on the knowledge and enthusiasm he has developed for cooking over the past ten years. He says: “Training is my passion. I love seeing staff growing in front of me and knowing that I had a small contribution to their new future”. This philanthropic attitude is a striking reminder of one of Singita’s core principles; to make a tangible difference in the lives of the people living and working in and around its lodges.

Michael Matera and his kitchen team at Singita Sabora Tented Camp, Tanzania

Michael Matera and his kitchen team at Singita Sabora Tented Camp, Tanzania

Warm congratulations to Michael for this wonderful achievement! We’ll be sure to keep you up to date on his progress at the lodge. You can read all the “People of Singita” blog posts here, and also watch the #SingitaStories videos on our Vimeo channel.

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Al Fresco Dining: Sundried Tomato & Peppadew Dip

September 12, 2013 - Cuisine,Experience,Kruger National Park,Singita Lebombo Lodge,Singita Sweni Lodge

Dining Al Fresco | Singita Kruger National Park

Dining Al Fresco | Singita Kruger National Park

Singita Lebombo and Sweni Lodges lie in the southeastern reaches of the Kruger National Park, on South Africa’s border with Mozambique. Situated on 33 000 acres, Singita’s private concession is an isolated piece of pristine wilderness where a unique wildlife population thrives across four distinct ecological-zones. This area is especially well-known for the remarkable concentration of the ‘Big 5’ and a number of particularly formidable prides of lion.

Dining Al Fresco | Singita Kruger National Park

Dining Al Fresco | Singita Kruger National Park

Daily game drives with professional guides and trackers provide the perfect opportunity to get up close to Africa’s incredible animals, and the late afternoon bush stops in particular are a wonderful opportunity to spot a great variety of wildlife while sipping a sundowner. To accompany a cold drink or crisp glass of wine, our kitchen teams prepare a delicious snack-time spread. Items on the menu can include crisp fried tortilla with sundried tomato and peppadew dip and creamy guacamole, a selection of local and international cheeses, fruit and preserves, smoked crocodile and springbok carpaccio, homemade breads, watercress salad and smoked salmon trout from the Franschhoek Valley.

Dining Al Fresco | Singita Kruger National Park

If the sound of that makes you hungry, here is the recipe for the wonderful sundried tomato and peppadew dip for you to make at home, from head chef at Singita Kruger National Park, Archie Maclean:

SUNDRIED TOMATO AND PEPPADEW DIP RECIPE

Ingredients – you will need:
400g sundried tomato, chopped
100g peppadews, chopped (if you can’t find peppadews, substitute with any pickled peppers or capsicum)
1 small onion, chopped
150ml vegetable stock
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Method – what to do:
Put a deep frying pan on a medium heat and add a little olive oil
Sweat off the onion in the olive oil until it begins to soften
Add the tomato and peppadew, and cook gently for 2-3 minutes
Add the stock and boil until it is reduced by half
Remove from the heat and then blend together until smooth (use a stick blender or food processor)
Season with salt and pepper, then allow to cool and serve

We’re giving you a taste of the eating al fresco in the African bush in our current blog series – read the first article from Singita Sabora Tented Camp! If you need to adjust the metric measurements, here’s a handy online volume converter.

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Al Fresco Dining: Banana and Date Loaf

August 22, 2013 - Cuisine,Experience,Singita Grumeti,Singita Sabora Tented Camp

Dining Al Fresco at Singita Grumeti | Singita Sabora Tented Camp

The Serengeti is a vast and precious wilderness, spanning 12 000 square miles of seemingly endless grassland. The Great Migration makes its way across these plains, passing through Singita Grumeti, a private wildlife reserve established to protect the indigenous biodiversity of this important ecosystem.

Dining Al Fresco at Singita Grumeti | Singita Sabora Tented Camp

Singita Sabora Tented Camp is one of five Singita properties in the reserve and is designed as a nostalgic, 1920s-style explorer’s camp. The accommodation is full of character, offering a surprisingly luxurious and enchanting safari in the rugged terrain of the surrounding savannah. The elegant simplicity and laid-back romance of the camp is apparent in every moment of our guest’s experience, including meal times which often take place in the open.

Dining Al Fresco at Singita Grumeti | Singita Sabora Tented Camp

It’s difficult to describe the feeling of being seated at a dining table in the shade of an acacia tree in the middle of the Serengeti. The whir of nearby grasshoppers vibrates in the air as the sun rises through the African sky, and you’re handed a cooling glass of homemade iced tea while a herd of zebra casually graze in the distance. Executive Chef, Frank Louw, and his team help to make such moments at Singita Grumeti possible and here he shares a popular recipe for banana and date loaf.

Dining Al Fresco at Singita Grumeti | Singita Sabora Tented Camp

Dining Al Fresco at Singita Grumeti | Singita Sabora Tented Camp

BANANA AND DATE LOAF RECIPE

Ingredients – what you’ll need:
2 cups (300g) self-raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
125g pitted dates, chopped (substitute with dark chocolate if you like)
1/2 cup (115g) caster sugar
1 cup (250ml) milk
2 eggs
1 cup mashed banana (about 2 large, or three small)
80g cinnamon sugar (optional)
Butter, to serve (optional)

Method – what to do:
Preheat oven to 180°C and line a 24 x 13.5cm loaf pan with non-stick baking paper.
Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and nutmeg into a large bowl.
Stir through the dates and sugar.
Combine the milk, eggs and banana in a separate bowl.
Fold into the date mixture until well combined and pour into the loaf pan.
Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the loaf comes out clean.
Cool for 5 minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Slice and serve with butter if desired.

Check back soon for more snapshots of al fresco dining at Singita’s lodges and camps. If you need to adjust the metric measurements, here’s a handy online volume converter.

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The Singita School of Cooking

February 20, 2013 - Community Development,Cuisine,Experience,Kruger National Park,Lodges and Camps

Joyful and her classmates at the Singita School of Cooking Joyful and her classmates at the Singita School of Cooking

Life at Singita is a constant exercise in gratitude for the environment and the people that make the lodges so incredibly unique. Singita is the custodian of over half a million acres of natural bush in Africa and works actively to protect and maintain this land and its wildlife in their original state.  We partner with the people who live on the outskirts of the reserves to understand the intrinsic value of these pristine areas and experience the benefit of preserving the land for future generations.  Singita and the people from local communities are working symbiotically to provide a better experience for the eco-traveler, whilst ensuring a better future for the land, the wildlife and communities within each region.

 

This story is the first in a series which will offer some insight into the genuine upliftment, improvements, restoration, heart-warming successes and joy brought about by caring and the daily miracles that keep unfolding to transform lives, largely thanks to the people who visit our lodges and are committed to making a difference.

Joyful Nghala, like all intelligent and aspirant young girls, matriculated from high school with dreams of a golden future. The realities of living in a part of South Africa with rampant unemployment soon hit home however, and she was forced to find work that didn’t promise much prospect. Despite her having to work in less than inspiring jobs, Joyful never lost the wonderful spirit for which she is so appropriately named.

A chance stroll to the local post office gave Joyful the lucky break she had been longing for. It was there that she spotted the advertisement encouraging interested parties to apply for places at the Singita School of Cooking (SSC). Joyful duly applied and successfully navigated two tough interviews and a cook-off to receive an invitation to attend the school, where she began classes in May last year.

Joyful at work in the SSC kitchen

There has been no looking back for Joyful since she was given the opportunity to learn all the relevant cooking skills under the expert tutelage of the Singita School of Cooking staff. All areas of professional cooking are explored in the school and students learn by doing. The aspirant chefs prepare food for the staff at Singita in a dedicated kitchen and are given opportunities to learn from the highly trained and skilled chefs who produce the Relais & Châteaux-standard food on a daily basis.

Joyful at work in the Singita kitchen

Joyful continues her education at the SSC where she receives many compliments both from her enthusiastic teachers and those with whom she works in the school kitchen. She is reported to have a healthy competitive attitude and a particular flair for culinary language, with her newly-acquired French vocabulary featuring regularly in her menus. She is already an asset to the Singita family and is on track to become a great chef, probably working in our very own kitchens one day. The Singita School of Cooking would not exist were it not for the generous support of our guests, some of whom have given abundantly to ensure that the futures of Joyful, and many others like her, are indeed golden.

Haute cuisine at Singita Kruger National Park

The Singita School of Cooking is located on site at the staff village that serves Singita Kruger National Park, the home of Singita Lebombo Lodge and Singita Sweni Lodge.  It was established with the aim of encouraging the development of culinary skills amongst local youth from neighbouring communities.  Each year, 8 to 10 students are selected – based upon clear criteria including showing a real interest in cooking – to participate in an 18 month long training programme. You can also find out more about the Singita School of Cooking here.

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Summertime in the Bushveld

January 06, 2012 - Cuisine,Sabi Sand

Warmer weather goes hand in hand with lighter styled food at Singita Boulders Lodge this season, such as salads and chilled soups.

Utilizing the wonderful fresh produce from our new herb garden, we have tossed some vegetables together to make a delightful creation:

Easy root vegetable recipe

1 bunch beetroot

1 bunch parsnip

1 punnet baby carrots

1 sweet potato sliced

Basil pesto for dressing

Goat’s cheese (optional)

Rocket leaves

Trim the roots and leaves off the vegetables, keeping the skin on for extra nutritional value.
Dress the vegetables with olive oil, pepper and salt.  Roast the vegetables for 8-10 minutes at 180°C
Deep fry the sweet potato chips until crispy while vegetables are roasting.
Arrange the vegetables on a plate, dress with basil pesto and garnish with sweet potato crisps, leaves and goat’s cheese

Chef’s tip – by Loraine Pienaar:  Roast the different kinds of vegetables separately because cooking times may vary and the beetroot will colour the rest of the vegetables.


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Getting Fraiche with Prawns

July 21, 2011 - Cuisine,Sabi Sand

Relax in warm winter sunshine on the deck overlooking the Sand River with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc.  Chef Loraine Pienaar at Singita Boulders Lodge has created a zingy starter for you to try at home, while reminiscing about your stay at Singita Sabi Sand.

CHERMOULA PRAWNS WITH PAPAYA DRESSING AND POTATO SALAD

12 prawns cleaned and deveined

CHERMOULA

Chermoula is a traditional Moroccan dipping sauce that originally would have been made using a mortar and pestle. It is quite acceptable to use a food processor these days.

1 bunch fresh coriander (cilantro)
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp coarse sea salt
2–3 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
½ roasted red pepper (fresh is best but canned also works)
juice of 1 lime
3 tbsp olive oil

Instructions

- Blend all ingredients in a food processor
- Marinate the prawns in the Chermoula for at least 2 hours

    POTATO SALAD

    2 Large potatoes (+-650g)

    3 Sprigs spring onion sliced finely

    2 ½ tbs Crème fraiche

    - Peel the potatoes and dice into even small blocks
    - Blanch in salted water until al dente and cooled
    - When potatoes have cooled, add crème friache and spring onion, mix well.

      PAPAYA COULIS

      ½ medium sized papaya

      ½ red chilli chopped finely

      1 tbs sugar

      100 ml white wine

      2 cm cinnamon stick

      - Boil all the ingredients together until the papaya turns into pulp
      - Puree in a food processor and strain through a fine sieve

        Putting it all together

        - Pan-fry the prawns in olive oil until pink and season with salt, pepper and lemon juice

        - Arrange the potato salad onto 4 plates and stack the prawns on top

        - Dress with papaya coulis, garnish with fennel (optional)

          Bon Appetit from the kitchen at Singita Boulders Lodge.

          (For more Singita recipes, take a look at the Singita Facebook page where there is something for everyone.)

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