The Wise Man of the Kitchen. The Silent Wonder. The Teacher. The Supporter. There are many words for Eric Ubisi, but for me, he is my right hand man, a man of great integrity, wisdom and knowledge. Each and every day, Eric guides the Chefs in the kitchen to work in harmony with good communication and love for what they do.
Eric grew up in the Timbavati on Hans Houheisen’s farm, adjacent to Ngala Game Reserve. As a small boy, Eric was always helping his Grandfather in the kitchen doing whatever there was to do, he also loved being outdoors, helping in the garden. Eric started school in 1976 at Welverdiend Primary School, he then went on to Mahlale High School where he completed his Matric in 1990. He then got a job at a small dealership working the tills and selling clothes, food and general home ware for 3 years.
As he much preferred to be outdoors, he became a long distance taxi driver, shuttling many people from Acornhoek to Giyani in the Northern Province. Shortly after that, he was sent to Halfway House in Johannesburg where he studied at the Steers Franchise for 6 months. It was here he realized he needed to get into a kitchen!
Through the past 10 years, Eric grew in skills and confidence and took over as Sous Chef of the Private Granite Suites in 2008. In 2012, Eric was promoted to being the Executive Sous Chef and this is where our relationship truly came Full Circle!
Over and above being the Executive Sous Chef at Londolozi, Eric started a school in 2003 called Xalamukani meaning “Wake up and see the Sunrise”. Eric strongly believes that you must gain a good education from when you are young, in order to succeed in life. Xalamukani now looks after 73 students from the age of a few months old to 5 years old, where they then proceed to Junior School.
Eric has 6 Children from the age of 5 to 23 – each of them are gaining good educations outside in the community. Hopefully we will see them in the Londolozi Kitchen one day following in their Father’s footsteps!
Written by Anna Ridgewell