Meet Samson Sibanda, Head Chef at Ngoma Safari Lodge in Botswana.
After training as a chef at Bulawayo Polytechnic he worked as Chef du Partie at the acclaimed Vic Falls Safari Lodge where he also learnt his amazing plating skills, before being whisked away to Ngoma Safari Lodge.
Trip Advisor rates Ngoma as the no.1 destination in Chobe and the food plays a huge part in the rating as well with compliments from around the world. And Samson has everything to do with this. Everything from the muesli to the chillie sauce is made right here. We had the opportunity to chat with the jovial Executive Chef to find out more about how he does what he does.
Samson admits he loves everything about the kitchen and having being trained in the traditional French style of cooking he is always looking for new ways to innovate old dishes or try new ones. Though his pastries are absolutely divine, it is not baking that is his favourite.
Samson credits his sister with his success because after their parents died it was she who encouraged him to pursue his passion for cooking, which he got from his mom and grandmother. His sister helped him enrol at the polytechnic and currently his dream is that she and her husband one day visit him where he works so he might cook for them, not just an ordinary meal but a spectacular one where she can see his level of expertise in French cuisine.
During his downtime Samson likes to keep it simple and enjoys a great family barbecue and of course, it’s not him that’s the Kitchen Boss at home. His wife cooks family meals and he loves her cooking. His advice for homecooks is to have a passion for cooking, respect the ingredients, don’t overcomplicate dishes and most of all ‘take your time’
Samson clearly loves being at Ngoma and this is even more evident when he speaks about Jared the lodge manager. He says he loves working with Jared who always encourages his ideas and is most supportive when Chef wants to try new things.
From here the world is certainly his oyster and Samson dreams of spending time on a cruise ship to learn different things – we can see his happening and with his sunny demeanour , excellent cooking skills and great attitude he is set to soar!
- Must have ingredient: Cumin – Elevates any dish to another level.
- Favourite kitchen utensil: Knife – and he has a favourite paring knife that goes where he goes.
- Every kitchen must have – Herbs, whether chopped, freshed or dried
- Secret to a happy kitchen – Happy staff = Happy environment
- What makes your heart smile – An empty plate
- Greatest motivator – Jared (Manager at Ngoma)
- Celebrity Chef he admires – Gordon Ramsay, loves his innovation
SAMSON QUICK QUESTIONS:
- Butter/Margarine – Butter, adds a richness to a dish
- Olive Oil/Sunflower Oil – Olive Oil
- Sugar/Spice – Spice
- Bread/Rice – Bread