Matthews Manyike – Head Chef at Simbambili Lodge
Matthews hails from Maputo in Mozambique, where he was born on 3 February 1970, and spent his youth raising cattle and running chores with his siblings in between his school work.
From Mozambique to Manyeleti
In 1985 his family relocated to Hoedspruit in South Africa, where Matthews attended Manyeleti Primary School.
In 1997 he started work as a stable hand in Hoedspruit. His new boss, Mike Cowden, who was then the manager of Thornybush Collection's Simbambili Lodge, was so impressed with him that he offered him a job at the lodge instead. So, Matthews came to work within the reserve carrying out general maintenance and gardening work.
Labourer to chef
Without further ado, Matthews was whisked off to Thornybush Lodge for training. Following 3 months under the watchful eye of Lodrick, he was unleashed on the kitchens at Simbambili as assistant chef. During this three-year stint, he learned as much as he could from his gifted colleagues about cooking great food.
Matthews was given the opportunity to take over the reins as head chef when the current chef, 'decided she was tired of cooking'! In his role as head chef, Matthews now finds himself in the position of mentor to up-and-coming young chefs, and encourages them to watch and learn just as he did on his road to success.
After 19 years at Simbambili, Matthews has become an integral part of the happy family at the lodge and his knack of conjuring up five-star meals in the middle of the wilderness is admired by guests and colleagues alike.
Looking for some cooking inspiration with African flair? Keep an eye out on the blog for recipes from our chefs!