March 2022

In celebration of a lifelong love of food

in Community

In celebration of a lifelong love of food

As an integral part of every Singita stay, our food journey is renowned for its holistic farm-to-table approach, and each culinary experience is an opportunity for treasured time and connection with loved ones.

The creative teams at the heart of the kitchens at all of our lodges and camps craft environmentally sustainable menus that burst with the flavours of the season. Paying homage to regional highlights and recipes passed on through generations, each dish also gives guests an authentic taste of local culture.

Central to all these experiences, our chefs design every daily changing menu, and bring each culinary moment come to life. Their talent and passion are fundamental in infusing our food with meaning, and their mouthwatering dishes make a stay unforgettable.   

Xavier Francis brings his passion for food from Singita Kruger National Park to Sabi Sand in the role of Executive Head Chef, where he plans to continue to celebrate all things local

Excellence & experience

Recently appointed as Executive Head Chef at Singita Sabi Sand in South Africa after a 2-year stint at our lodges in Singita Kruger National Park, Xavier Francis is filled with excitement about his new position. Working in the kitchens of both Singita Boulders and Ebony Lodges, he will be at the helm of a food experience befitting this iconic location. “The level of the food needs to match the incredible setting, look and feel of the lodges,” says Xavier. “The team is phenomenal and I’m so excited about this new chapter.”

Born in Durban on South Africa’s east coast, Xavier’s family instilled a love of food in him as a young boy. His mother was a lecturer and her love of teaching rubbed off on him, while his grandmother’s skill still inspires him. “My grandmother was the most talented cook I’ve ever encountered, and my uncle taught me how to tunnel bone a leg of lamb at 11. To this day, I‘m very family-oriented.” 

With a career trajectory spanning fine-dining restaurants in the Cape winelands and sophisticated urban venues, his experience has equipped him with the perfect range of skills to seamlessly create the exquisite yet unpretentious food Singita is renowned for.

Now bringing his passion and singular work ethic to the kitchens at Singita Sabi Sand, Xavier looks forward to working with his new team and adding his own flavour. “I hope to bring a freshness to the menus – a new way of thinking and looking at food; adding a smile and sense of playfulness to the dishes; and mostly to help each member of the team to grow.”

A desire to celebrate local ingredients and heritage dishes will inform Xavier's approach when creating his new menus - befitting the iconic location of Singita Sabi Sand

Proudly South African

Xavier’s deep respect for South African culture also informs his cooking and his desire to celebrate his heritage is evident in the use of the flavours of his youth. This deep-seated reverence for his country, and the continent, resonates profoundly with Singita’s multicultural guests, and his cooking can best be described as locally inspired, but globally relevant. “I want guests to return home with a memory of a special meal in one of Africa’s most incredible settings,” he says. 

A highlight of working at Singita is having the freedom to craft truly unique dishes with local flavours and ingredients. Says Xavier: “The exceptional quality of the locally sourced produce used in our kitchens is a continuous source of inspiration, and I’d love to create as many proudly South African menus as possible.”  

Fresh seasonal and sustainably sourced ingredients inform all the menus across Singita's lodges and camps

Community & environment first

His quest includes crafting dishes that fit seamlessly into safari life and Singita’s 100-year purpose. “Sustainability will always be at the core of our kitchen’s operations – from where we source produce to how we use it; including how it is farmed and using less glamorous cuts of beef with big flavour. As chefs, we are responsible for the produce we use. We have to source ingredients ethically and be mindful of how much we use and waste."

As Head Chef, Xavier practices a hands-on approach and he takes every opportunity to pass knowledge on to his team. While it’s a highlight to watch them grow and flourish, he also has a continuous desire to learn and innovate, and humility is a value he holds very dear. “One person can’t do everything in a kitchen. You have to embrace the members of your team to achieve something special.”

Xavier's passion for teamwork and passing on his knowledge makes him a natural leader in the Sabi Sand kitchens

To get a taste of Singita’s food journey and enjoy our signature dishes at home, or start dreaming of your next visit to our lodges and camps, order our beautiful Singita Cookbook here >

Julia Freemantle
By Julia Freemantle

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