If you've visited Tshwene Lodge or Ekuthuleni Lodge before, you may have met Kgadile Molekoa, one of our incredibly talented chefs. Those who know Kgadile, call him by his nickname – Laptop – a name given to him by his friends in high school for always being the one they would turn to for advice. Known for his world-class fillet, amongst many other signature dishes, we chatted to Laptop about his role, his favourite dishes on the menu and more.
Tell us about your role at Rare Earth Retreats
I am part of a team of three chefs who work at Rare Earth's two Welgevonden properties – Ekuthuleni Lodge and Tshwene Lodge. I direct food preparation and plan new menus, all while making sure that our guests are happy and that any special dietary requirements are met.
Describe a typical day...
We arrive at 07h30 each morning to prepare breakfast for our guests while they are on their morning game drive. Typical breakfast options include a full English breakfast as well as eggs benedict and the like.
After breakfast I go through the stock in the fridge to check what we need for lunch. Typical lunch options include beef koftas with tzatziki, tempura fish, chicken kebabs or wraps, accompanied by a healthy salad.
Dinner is a three-course affair around the fire, or out under the stars in summer. When our guests get back from their evening game drive, we first chat about what they saw and what they enjoyed most about the afternoon. Main course options can include pork fillet with mushrooms and tarragon, Steak Diane or ostrich fillet with jus and seasonal vegetables. For dessert, we prepare traditional South African dishes for our international guests to try like malva pudding or milk tart. We also have a lot of guests who are vegetarian, vegan, lactose or gluten intolerant and we love creating new menu items to cater for their preferences.
What makes dining in the bush so special? What can guests expect?
South African food cooked by South African people. Home-baked biscuits, rusks and oatmeal cakes on your game drive, and in your room. Then there are the views – game-viewing does not end after the drive! We once had a cheetah stalk and kill an impala right in front of the lodge and guest were able to view this from the deck.
Do you have a signature dish?
Yes, my favourite is the fillet steak. I have my own style with marmalade onions and a crushed peppercorn sauce. Guests love it and often ask me to write down my recipes or ask to join me in the kitchen to show them how I make something – even how I poach my eggs! I once had an American guest ask me to show her how I cut my fruit for the breakfast platter. My signature dessert is most definitely my lemon souffle. I've had guests tell me that it is the best souffle they've had or that they never liked souffle before, but they loved mine.
Can you give us a few examples of your favourite dishes on the menu?
- Red salad – a combination of red fruits and vegetables
- Mushroom and red wine tart
- Rump steak with mushroom bread pudding
- Chocolate lava pots
- Lemon tart with vanilla ice cream
Keen to learn more about Tshwene Lodge and Ekuthuleni Lodge? Please get in touch with any questions or to book your bush getaway.