As guests sip their drinks around the campfire a figure clad in a chef’s uniform emerges from the dark shadows and patiently waits for a lull in the conversation. Suddenly there is silence and anticipating eyes focus on the bearer of good news.
“Good evening. My name is Joshua; I am your chef. For your dinner tonight we have Thai style prawns for the starter followed by beef fillet in mushroom and red wine sauce on a bed of garlic mash accompanied by Mediterranean vegetables. Our dessert is chocolate mousse and we also have a selection of Kenyan cheeses with crackers. I hope you are going to enjoy!”
What is a day in the life of a bush chef like? It starts at 4am preparing a picnic breakfast, if guests choose to spend the morning out on a game instead of coming back to camp for breakfast.
Fresh bread, muffins and pancakes are baked daily. On certain days Joshua and his team are making a cake for afternoon tea or biscuits to accompany the coffee brought to guests’ tents for the early morning wake up call. On other days he is preparing his special salad dressing (which remains a secret) or his signature muesli.
Lunch is a lighter meal starting with cold cucumber soup, followed by a chicken salad as well as other salads. The meal is concluded with strawberries and crème fraiche – just enough to lull guests to sleep for a brief afternoon nap before the evening game drive.
Joshua takes great care in the presentation of his meals – plates are warmed in basins of hot water before he artistically adorns them with his wares: “the guests must delight in what they see as well as what they eat” he quietly chuckles. He is meticulous about hygiene and a tidy kitchen saying more assertively this time “cleanliness comes next to godliness”.
The true wonder of this is that the magic he spins each day is done not in a well equipped hotel kitchen but out in the bush in a temporary kitchen tent. In the rare moments when he is not busy in the kitchen, Joshua is sitting under a tree feeding his soul and finding new ways to be creative as he combs through recipe books.