It has been a year since the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and it may seem strange to hear mention of new Olympians, however I am not talking of the Olympiate athletes but rather Londolozi’s executive Sous Chef, Siyabulela Kobo. Siya is our Executive Sous Chef and Londolozi Olympian who will be representing South Africa at the 2012 Olympics. Siya is part of Culinary Team South Africa and one of eighteen chefs chosen to showcase their skills and compete against many other countries for the coveted Gold Medal.
Of Xhosa decent and originally hailing from the beautiful Eastern Cape, he moved to Johannesburg wanting to study Mechanical Engineering. In order to support his dream he waited tables in an up market restaurant and on Sundays when business was slow, Siya busied himself in the kitchen and helped the chef prepare the restaurant’s masterpieces. Realizing this new found passion he resigned and took an in house training position at Southern Sun Hotels at O.R Tambo International Airport. He excelled here and was given the graveyard shift. Finishing at seven in the morning Siya would often stroll across to the Intercontinental Hotel, a five star establishment, where he would work for free in return for knowledge and training. After three months his hard work was rewarded and he was offered a full time position.
It was at the Intercontinental where Siya met Jaco Myburgh our current Executive Chef. They formed a fantastic team working side by side. Jaco offered Siya a promotion which Siya declined as he felt he wasn’t ready for the step up. Earlier this year, Jaco again offered Siya the Executive Sous Chef position and this time Siya accepted the challenge and moved to Londolozi seven months ago.
Siya has travelled widely in his quest for knowledge and new ideas, in 2006 he represented South Africa at the Festival of Food which was held in Sri Lanka. A fabulous event celebrating delicious local spices produced in Sri Lanka used in proudly South African dishes. After winning a number of local competitions Siya’s reputation as a world class chef earned him celebrity status on local television as he hosted a series cooking programs for our local network.
Siya’s secret: keep it fresh, keep it simple and keep it local.
So next time you are at Londolozi I hope you try some of Siya’s fabulous food and call him over to find out how the Culinary Team of South Africa are doing in their quest for Gold.