Trust Ndlovu to feed you

15 July 2010 - 13:09
By Zenoyise Madikwa

The experience of hosting hundreds of visitors taught him the 5-star touch that is required to be senior chef

ZIMBABWE-BORN chef Trust Ndlovu of Montecasino's Southern Sun Mondevino Restaurant says he and his team stimulated the taste buds of hundreds of foreigners from around the world during the World Cup.

The father of two says they cooked up a storm and the experience of hosting hundreds of visitors taught him the five-star touch that is required to be senior chef of the Mondevino Restaurant's calibre.

The man from Tsholotsho village in Bulawayo says the World Cup helped them step up their game.

He says as a result of the experience the restaurant gathered, during the world showpiece, local foodies will still be in for a treat and can look forward to a gourmet's paradise.

"Having a fan park in our vicinity helped put us on the gourmand's map. We attracted people of various cultures and backgrounds.

"The experience of serving foreigners has left a lasting legacy in their service.

"We serve a very refined market that knows its food. They keep us on our toes all the time," he says.

Ndlovu's career started in 1997 when he moved to South Africa and worked as a cook in a restaurant. He admits he does not have any formal food training, but has learnt his skills from the various chefs he worked with.

"Moving to South Africa was the best thing I ever did for my career," he says. "The experience I gained working in the kitchens of high-profile Italian restaurants has carried me through many other kitchens in my time.

"This is where I gathered the skills I am applying as a head chef. I did not have any formal training, but through dedication I made it."

Ndlovu says it takes a long time to become a good chef.

"You start as an apprentice to get broad-based grounding before specialising in certain dishes and then growing into a highly-skilled artisan with a distinctive style before finally earning the esteem due to a chef," Ndlovu says.

He says he has sought tutelage and has ridden on many chef's tail coats. He adds that generations of culinary masters are developed through this system.

His approach to food?

Ndlovu stresses that the taste and texture of every dish is his main priority. He offers a personal commitment to quality, value and culinary creativity.

Ndlovu, who enjoys cooking for large numbers of people, says serving antipasti is his favourite pastime.

"What I love about antipasti is that it has a little bit of everything and it is very informal.

"You can have it in a very relaxed setup and it has many different selection of items."

He says what he likes about antipasti is that it is ready-to-eat food, which suits every taste and meets every budget.

What are his duties?

He says as a senior chef he is the boss of eight people.

"My duty is to manage all the other chefs and cooks, plan the menu and ensure that food leaving the kitchen is always delicious and beautifully presented," he explains.

"I identify regular guests and do special requests for them. We also cater for corporate events, private birthdays and pre-theatre private bookings."

He adds that his responsibilities are huge, but so is the autonomy.

"What is nice about this job is that you are able to operate your kitchen as you see fit, with little or no supervision, to produce the highest quality cuisine," Ndlovu says.