When I arrived at Londolozi at the beginning of 2012, one of the first Chefs that greeted me was Solomon – “Solly for short”, is how he introduced himself! In the past 5 years, Solly has grown to become an integral part of the Londolozi Kitchen team. If he is not cooking up a storm or chopping rapidly, you will find him dancing a small ‘jig’ around the kitchen, normally hand in hand with his best friend Tom! Solly became one of the first chefs to achieve his ICDL (International Computer Driver’s Licence) with our Good Work Foundation in 2013 and went on to inspire a further 5 chefs to follow suit. Solly is an amazing father to Refine (12), Briskly (3) and Salmao (2) all who when they see him come up to the village after a day’s work – run with joy and big smiles into his arms!

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Q: What is your story?

My parents came from Mocambique and I was born in Pretoria in 1982. I am number 11 in the family! I left Pretoria in 1989 and we came to Mpumalanga to a village called Mabarule. It’s where I then did all my schooling. After I finished school, I worked at a project called Working for Wetland as a supervisor for three years. One day my brother Jabulani, a Granite Camp butler and I were chatting and he suggested I should join him at Londolozi, so I did. I started in the kitchen as a trainee in 2008.

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Q: Where did your first taste and experience of food come from?

When I arrived at Londolozi, I realised I actually quite enjoyed cooking and tasting different dishes. It was here in this kitchen that my love of food became greater and I pushed myself to become a better chef each and every day.

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Q: What inspires you?

The chance to learn every day with Anna and my kitchen team, learning new things, reading new books, watching food shows on the TV and looking at the Internet.

Q: Tell us about your choir!

I am the founder of a great choir called Mabarule Youth in Action. I started this in 1995 with a group of a friends in my community who agreed with me that it was time to get rid of crime, substance abuse, unwanted pregnancies and other not such great things. We gathered the young boys of the community and taught them how to become a choir. We would sing and dance at many functions in the surrounding areas such as weddings, parties, church gatherings and perform at other game reserves. In 2003, we realised we needed some higher voices to make our choir better, so we decided to ask some ladies to join us on our great path of uplifting members of our community. The donations we are fortunate to receive from some of our performances goes to the orphans of our community, to ensure they are safe at all times.

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Q: What do you LOVE about cooking!

The thing I love most about cooking is learning to create new dishes. Currently I am learning about different vegetarian dishes for my guests at Founder’s Camp.

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Filed under Cuisine

About the Author

Anna Ridgewell

Executive Chef

A lodge like Londolozi, although famous for its wildlife, is about far more than just that. The superb culinary experience which awaits every guest at Londolozi is thanks to the continued efforts of Anna, who has been instrumental in the development of new ...

View Anna's profile

2 Comments

on Solly: The Touching Story of a Londolozi Chef

Join the conversationJoin the conversation

Kristine Dong
Guest

Keep these interviews coming! I love to hear all about the chefs and where they came from!

Sally
Guest

Next time we are at Londolozi I would like to shake Solly by the hand – what a star!

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