Get to know the "muffin 'man" at The River Lodge

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Thulani Silinda is our 'man' on the ground when it comes to baked goods. Find out more about this whizz of the mixing bowl below:


In her role as Chef de Partie, Thulani is responsible for all the wonderful pastries, cakes and muffins that come out of the kitchens at The River Lodge. Anyone who has been on a safari to Thornybush Lodge, will remember the aromas of freshly baked bread punctuated by the sweet smell of the African bush, and agree that she's doing a fine job.

Thulani started out life in the small village of Welverdiend, about an hour's drive from the reserve. It was here that she spent many days and years with her parents and 2 older brothers.

Mixing it up

Inspired by her love of people, Thulani discovered her true calling when she enrolled in a Human Resources course at the FET College at Mapulang, where she excelled.

During her lessons, she couldn't help noticing the distracting aromas ensuing from the Hospitality Faculty's catering classes. The penny dropped, and she realised she could make a living out of her talent for cooking! Thulani returned home to plan her next move, knowing in her heart that her sweet smelling pastries would rise to inspire any who tasted them.

Driven by her new-found passion, she accepted a scholarship to the Wildlife College in the Eastern Cape - armed with little but burning ambition, and hopelessly under age.

On the rise

Fearing that she had set off in the wrong direction again, she returned to her home town. She was fortunate to land a position as a cooking instructor at the Basapa Culinary School.

Before long, Thulani heard of an opening at Singita's Cooking School and leapt at the chance to apply. She pipped almost 400 applicants to the post and was one of only 7 candidates chosen to prove their worth.

Thulani's dedication and drive earned her promotion after promotion.

Pursuing Perfection in Pastries

Thulani met and married the man of her dreams, and soon enough two beautiful sons were added to the family. There was only one thing missing.

This talented chef longed to escape out of the Hot Kitchen to explore the delicate world of pastries.

Gradually she worked her way in this direction earning more and more time in this specialised field and eventually getting her dream job at The River Lodge with the Thornybush Collection.

Here she inspires us all with her infectious enthusiasm as she goes about her day nurturing and teaching her fellows. These days, it's Thulani's turn to distract everyone in range with the delicious smells of baking coming from the kitchen.

Meet Thulani and test out her talents on a visit to The River Lodge, the muffins are in the oven!

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Tuesday, 26 September 2017