Kakole Assistant Mosiuoa – Executive Chef in Botswana’s first Relais & Chateaux
Kakole Assistant Mosiuoa, Executive Chef at Great Plains Conservation.
Based the Flagship camp, Zarafa Camp is a Relais & Chateaux property based in Botswana. Hosting the most tranquil natural inhabitance and an array of wild life, Zarafa is the best discretion of the best Five Star Lodges in Africa and hosts the most honest and cultural Food ranges available.
Relais & Chateaux is one of the most famous brands in the gastronomic scene. They now operate their own facility in Botswana. Assistant Mosiuoa works there as an Executive Chef. Read more about this exciting destination here.
After different great chef positions in different countries, today you work as Executive Chef at Great Plains Conservation, Botswana’s first Relais & Chateaux property. Tell us about how you got started as a chef. Why did you decide on cooking professionally?
The decision was circumstantial, I had just lost my father at the age of 17 and at that point it hit me that I had to find a job and help at home as I grew up in a home that was not so well off. Living daily on hand to mouth, life became a hustle going from working in construction as that’s the only skill I knew coming from been taught by my late father. At some I realized that I would have to find a more stable job, something that can help me for a much longer period till I could a sustainable career.
Little did I know that been a Chef would be that career or that life rather, I got into the industry as a kitchen porter/ general assistant as we were called. It was the hardest time ever for me never been exposed to such harsh environments before, the language, the characters, everything was just so strange as I only saw some on TV but never so real. This also was interesting, seing how these people pay so much attention and give so much care to what they do, the emortions expressed during service, the art in presenting the dishes and the orchestra in the whole service process. All this got me feeling like I belong and I wanted a piece of it.
I then started taking a few minutes of my free time and learned how to use a knife, peeled a few potatoes and carrots and learned classic sauces and cooking processes. I would always get into trouble with the Executive as I was hardly on my station, though after a while he awarded the opportunity to become a trainee chef… and this where it all started…
Which culinary school did you attend?
I have never been to any culinary school, my skills come from on the job learning, traveling and eating in different traditional restaurants. When traveling I never go for anything fancy, I look at the birth a specific culture and the people who still practice them…. That’s what draws me, its basically the source of my culinary knowledge…
What will you never forget about your first year as a chef?
The sort of till slips through the order machine and my Chef shouting orders while I’m on a hot grill with 30 steaks, the sound of the till machine just kept going on and on in my mind even when I was at home…
What is the best part of being a chef?
The expression on the clients face after having an exceptional meal
What is the most difficult aspect to being a professional chef?
Sacrifice, you do not have a life. 95% work and 5% social, never been understood…. Been selfish at some point, having to be the strong guy and picking everyone up when they reach a breakdown.
How are chefs considered in Botswana’s and South Africa’s society in the past and how does it differ to the current situation?
Africa itself had never had a recognisable food culture before meaning in the old days, though compared to currently we have grown immensely in terms of cuisine. Our food culture has influences cuisine such as southern America cuisine in places like New Orleans and others alike, we now have Chefs and restaurant that are on the Top 50 best Restaurants in the world… I can say we have grown as a culinary nation and I can foresee greater change in our culinary culture and its recognition….
Which ingredients, recipes and cooking techniques reflect the soul of Botswana and South Africa best?
We are a spice nation, a meat nation. Its always food meets fire, we prefer wood fire than gas or electricity, we Braai(BBQ) almost every time we get a chance. It’s the fire that gives our food distinct flavours. We are farmers, we are organic, it never gets as real as ploughing and harvesting…. Farm to Fork as we may say, we live with it and not adapt to it, its our life as Africans….
What are the constant and varying elements of the Botswana’s and South Africa’s cuisine?
I could say Botswana is wildlife dependant, cuisine wise it is more subtle as opposed to South Africa which has a great spice influence and over a 100 food cultures in 1 country…..
Modern Botswana’s and South Africa’s cuisine, what does it mean for you?
Growth and progress, opportunities for advancement and many…..
After so many different international chef experiences, how would you describe your own culinary style today?
I could say it is an expression of my experiences through a fusion of cultures….
As Executive Chef at Great Plains Conservation, Botswana’s first Relais & Chateaux property South Africa today, what is the culinary direction/ set up there?
We are based in an environment where cooking has never been regarded a career, a lot of change has been seeing in the industry and positively there has been good response and growth within the industry in general…..
Zarafa Camp is known as the best Five Star Lodges in Africa and hosts the most honest and cultural Food ranges available. What are examples for the most honest and cultural Food ranges?
Basic cultural foods such as our Seswa( pounded meat), Tswii (Stewed Water Lilly Roots mostly Meats with a choice of preferred meat) , Morogo( spinach or kale), chakalaka (spicy beans) and a whole lot more other exciting flavours….. As I mentioned we are the spice people….
What are the greatest challenges of running a Lodge restaurant?
Logistics, having to plan for weeks and weeks in advance. Just going through day to day and servings…..
Nominated as Botswana’s first Relais & Chateaux property, you get a great honour. How does it impact your culinary work?
It brings a certain sense of fulfilment, resembles growth and also motivates one to do more….. its inspiring…..
Assuming to be part of/ with the nature is one of the most fascination part of being a Lodge chef; what else does fascinate you at this job?
It feels like an everyday vacation, putting aside the loads of work. When you get that 5 minutes moments when you are alone and in this beautiful place bosting such tranquillity you realise how fortunate your are in this that most people save all their lives to visit and you get paid to be there…
Can you share a signature dish with us?
Every dish is a signature dish, we do not write recipes… all our dishes are drawn from experiences, memories and emotions…. So each and every dish becomes unique in its own way
Can you share one of your last creations with us?
I can’t say its much of a creation nut rather an expression drawn from the love of flavour and culture:
Starter – The Waterford Chenin Blanc
Tofu | White Miso| Neri Goma | Shitake Mushrooms | Daikon
Lavender| Honey Pot| Chenin Blanc Swartland Reserve Pearls| Candied Lime
Main – Pinot Noir
Confit Chicken & Kale| Asian Perking Duck| Quail| Skins| Rainbow Beets| Rooibos, Soy & Ginger| Puffed Black Rice
Chocolate Cloud | Nespresso Mocha Mousse | Botmaskop Gastric | Mint
Frians Au Chocolate
What are some of the lesser known spices and vegetables you use?
Wild Jasmine Creeper, Water Lilly Roots, Giant Wild Mushrooms ….
What are the current trends / developments you see in Botswana’s and South Africa’s culinary world?
Vegan influenced Dishes.
What does work mean for you?
Life, my work is my life, it keeps me happy, it gives me emotions and experiences that I can never exchange for anything in the world…
What is most important in your life?
There are lots of trends in the international culinary world. What are the real important developments you see and would like to become more important?
Cultural awareness, acknowledgement of our Roots and expressing them through cuisine…..
Did your career as a chef change you as a person and if so, how?
Yes it did, it opened my eyes to respect nature, culture and processes… taught me to care for anything alive and give thanks for all that God gives to us in our daily lives…
What do people often misunderstand about the job of a chef?
That its easy and that anyone can do it, its not always considered a recognisable career….
Any place in the world you would like to work as chef one day?
If you would have the time to write a cookbook, what would it be about? Lots of cooks are interested to work in Africa and especially at a Lodge. Do you have any tips or recommendations for them?
My Life Through Food….. Working in Lodges is isolation, you need to be strong and willing….. Fulfilment comes with commitment, all is possible if you believe
Is there anything we haven’t talked about that you want to mention?
The reality of succeeding as a Chef is been who you want to be and not been like someone else, be firm and always know its not what you do that matters, but how you do it…..
Thank you so much Assistant!
From Zambia to Botswana, Victoria Falls and wildlife reserves deepest, wildest Africa. A journey taking you to the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls, on the banks of the Zambezi River in front of hippopotamuses and elephants. A safari extending through the Okavango…For more information: https://www.relaischateaux.com/us/botswana/good-to-know-duba