Tag Archives: Singita Grumeti Kitchens

The People of Singita: Michael Matera

August 01, 2013 - Cuisine,Experience,Singita Grumeti,Singita Sasakwa Lodge

Michael Matera, sous chef at Singita Sasakwa Lodge

Michael Matera, sous chef at Singita Sasakwa Lodge

You would be correct in assuming that some of the most memorable experiences for guests visiting Singita involve exhilarating wildlife sightings on early morning game drives, the spectacular local cuisine put together by our talented kitchen teams and the breathtaking landscapes in which our lodges and camps are situated. While this is certainly true, what guests remark on most often is the warm and attentive manner of our friendly staff members. The people of Singita are its most valuable asset, as they quietly go about ensuring that each of our visitors experience the most sophisticated luxury safari experience on earth.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing the stories of some of Singita’s most interesting characters, from field guides and trackers to lodge managers and chefs, many of whom have overcome enormous personal challenges along the way. First up is Michael Matera, who is now a chef at Singita Grumeti:

Michael Matera and Frank Louw

Michael Matera and Frank Louw

How did you get started at Singita?
As the oldest son, it was always very important to have a career in order to support the rest of the family. I was working at VIP Safari Club when I applied for work at Singita Sabora Tented Camp, where I was accepted as a grounds attendant. Every day I would clean the pool, look after the camp grounds, fill kerosene lanterns and fulfil any other small duties the manager would give me.

The chef there at the time was called Andy Clay, he noticed my hard work and determination and soon I started helping in the kitchen. Initially I was responsible for cooking the staff meals, as I could not speak English and had limited cooking skills. Andy noticed that I would always work in the kitchen after hours and was very keen to learn, so he very kindly sent me to English classes in Arusha. I gave the short two-week course my all, and on my return was told that I could start working in the main guest kitchen. I was so happy and that is how my cheffing career began.

Michael Matera tending the kitchen garden

Michael Matera tending the kitchen garden

What inspired you to be a chef?
I was intrigued with all the interesting produce that use to come into the kitchen. I had never seen things like lobster, prawns and other exotic seafood before and I found their shapes, smells and flavours fascinating. That is what inspired me to learn more.

What would be the highlight of your career so far?
Definitely being awarded the title of Tanzanian Chef of the Year last year. Nothing can replace that feeling!

Michael Matera tending the kitchen garden

Who is your favourite chef and why?
Gordon Ramsay. He is a very strict chef so when you see him on the TV you know you should always be careful in the kitchen.

What country would you love to travel to for cooking inspiration?
Italy! I love pasta and pizza and all the other Italian food.

The cuisine at Singita Sasakwa Lodge

The cuisine at Singita Sasakwa Lodge

What is your favourite ingredient to cook with?
Coriander, you either love it or hate it. I LOVE it.

What do you love about Singita?
I love Singita for so many different reasons but I think I love it the most because it made me the person I am today. The training, teaching, opportunities, development and love for the staff is hard to find in any other company.

Michael currently works as Senior Sous Chef at Singita Sasakwa Lodge under Executive Chef, Frank Louw. Frank says: “It’s amazing how you can learn so much from someone you are supposed to be mentor to. Michael has the wonderful talent of making every task seem effortless while still achieving extraordinary results. His calm demeanor and ability to listen has taught me a side of humanity that every person should embrace and carry with them. He has proven to not only be a phenomenal chef, student, teacher and friend but an inspiration to so many other young Tanzanians wanting to make a change in their lives.”

Catch up on all food-related posts by reading through the Cuisine category on the blog, including some delicious locally-inspired recipes!

Read More


Not Your Average Camp Cuisine

December 03, 2012 - Cuisine,Experience,Lamai,Lodges and Camps,Safari,Singita Mara River Tented Camp

One of the most remarkable things about Singita Mara River Tented Camp is the exceptional food that is whipped up in the kitchen by our resourceful team of expert chefs. In the Lamai’s hot climate guests are kept cool with light, healthy cuisine conducive to refreshing and re-energising the body. Restorative fresh fruit smoothies, iced Fair Trade coffees and teas, crunchy salads and ethically sourced ingredients, such as organic eggs and grass-fed meat, are the order of the day with luscious desserts and homemade ice-cream adding a touch of sweet decadence.

Chef Donna Patterson, who forms part of the kitchen team at Singita Grumeti, has kindly shared the recipe for her delicious chilled carrot and spicy mango soup. Its bright, zingy flavours and refreshing lightness epitomise the type of beautiful and surprising meals our guests enjoy.

Ingredients – what you need:
1 white onion
5 large carrots
1 red chilli (medium heat)
1 cinnamon stick
1 Tblsp olive oil
2 bay leaves
1 ripe mango
1L mango juice
Salt
White pepper
Mascarpone to garnish

Method – what to do:

Chop the onion, peeled carrots and chilli roughly into equal sizes.
In a medium saucepan fry the chopped carrots, onion and chilli for a couple of minutes.
Reduce the heat and add the bay leaves and cinnamon stick lastly cover with the mango juice. Allow the soup to simmer slowly until the carrots are soft.
Blend in an electric processor and strain through a sieve.
Season the soup to taste with salt and white pepper.
Place the soup in the fridge to cool down.
Lastly finely dice the fresh mango and keep refrigerated until serving.
To serve, place the diced mango into the soup and serve in bowls. I like to garnish it with a dollop of mascarpone.

Enjoy!

Chilled carrot and spicy mango soup

Like the sound of this soup? Why not browse more of Chef Donna’s delightful recipes on the blog. Here’s a handy online volume converter you can use to adjust the metric measurements if necessary.

Read More


Crunch This!

March 29, 2012 - Cuisine,Singita Grumeti,Singita Sasakwa Lodge

If you have ever started the day at Singita Sasakwa Lodge with their famed breakfast spread then you will remember the delectable homemade pastries…including Sasakwa’s breakfast seed bars.  That’s Justina Munuo in our photo above displaying mouthwatering morning fare.

This is a recipe that you will want to tuck into your most-loved recipe file and pass from generation to generation.

224g flour (1 cup)

256g sugar (1 cup + 2 Tablespoons)

128g coconut (1/2 cup)

128g oats (1/2 cup)

56g Rice Crispies (4 Tablespoons)

120g honey (1/2 cup)

200g butter (7 oz or almost a cup)

8g bicarbonate of soda (1/2 Tablespoon or 1 1/2 tsp)

50g condensed milk (1/4 cup)

20g sesame seeds (1 1/2 Tablespoons or 4 tsp)

20g poppy seeds (1 1/2 Tablespoons or 4 tsp)

20g chopped almonds (1 1/2 Tablespoons or 4 tsp)

20g sunflower seeds (1 1/2 Tablespoons or 4 tsp)

20g pumpkin seeds (1 1/2 Tablespoons or 4 tsp)

Not for the faint of heart – so close your eyes and fold in the condensed milk and butter – then enjoy these purely delicious squares!

Instructions – melt the honey and butter.  Mix all the other ingredients together and then add the melted butter and honey mix.  Mix well and place into a baking tray, pack down well, and bake for 30 minutes at 170 degrees Celcius.  Cut into squares while still warm.

http://www.dianasdesserts.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/tools.measures/Measures.cfm

The above link is a helpful baking resource for calculating conversions from grams to cups.

Read More


Darling Buds of Spring

October 26, 2010 - Cuisine,Events,Experience

Singita Grumeti Kitchen Tales

The greenhouse has been a long standing project here at Singita Grumeti Reserves, so much so that it seemed like it was always going to be a dream.

This year with the efforts of Frank Louw (Head chef), Sasakwa chefs and a team of gardeners, the greenhouse has become a much longed for reality. A few months ago a buzz began around the greenhouse and on closer inspection you would have noticed plastic buckets, containers, rakes, spades and all sorts of useful apparel arriving.  Containers were moved into rows, holes made, loose stones placed for drainage and covered with top soil, and the essential water source found.  Packets of seeds were secreted down and enthusiastically sown. Beds of soil were tentatively watered, constantly hovered over, and if will power alone could inspire growth the garden would have been blooming in a matter of hours.

Time seemed to stretch on and as all eyes focused on the brown earth, small dots of green finally flecked the soil. These minute green specks  slowly unfurled and as each day  passed the new seedlings distinguished themselves and soon basil shoots, fragrant coriander, delicate dill, miniature carrot tops, lettuce leaves, tomato vines, radish sprouts and baby spinach leaves were all recognizable. Now we are able to pick our own selection of herbs and vegetables to use in the kitchen – our dream come true.

Article contribution by Catherine, Sasakwa Sous Chef, Singita Grumeti Kitchens

Read More


Sign up to receive the Singita newsletter

×