10 Questions with Royal Chundu Chef, John Siantuba

| Tamlin Wightman

Royal Chundu Chef John

Meet one of the true stars of our culinary family at Royal Chundu

John Siantuba…

 

  1. How did you start working as a chef at Royal Chundu and what is your role today?

I started working as a chef de partie in 2012 and today I am a chef de tournant. My role is to check each and every dish that goes out to the guest.

  1. What has working at Royal Chundu taught you about yourself, life and love?

Working at Royal Chundu has taught me a lot in my life. When I started working at Royal Chundu it wasn’t easy because I had never had to work under such pressure before. The first day at the lodge was so tough, there was a point when I almost gave up, not knowing then how good it was for me. I have learnt how to love myself, my job with all my heart.

  1. What is the key to being a great chef?

The key is that it’s not just about the cooking, but committing yourself to loving what you do and having passion for everything you do.

RC Zambezi sunset

  1. Your favourite dish to make at Royal Chundu?

I love preparing the prawn cocktail, the components that go into making the dish are amazing. The process of preparing it is so enjoyable to me, even the presentation itself for the dish is so lovely.

  1. What inspires you day to day – in life and work?

I admire and would love to become a great chef and to leave a legacy in my career. I love learning new things to better myself.

  1. How do you bring a taste of the region to dishes?

We create our own local dishes with the ingredients we get from our local farmers, for example we have a Zambian tasting menu made from our own Zambian ingredients.

  1. What has been the best day on the job?

My best day on the job is when I heard that Royal Chundu had been ranked number 35 in the world.

Baobab Royal Chundu

  1. What is your favourite dining experience at Royal Chundu?

My favourite dining experience is the baobab dinner. This is a special dinner prepared a few metres away from the Island Lodge. It is set in the middle of the bush and is all about displaying our Zambian style – in the cuisine, the presentation, the atmosphere.

  1. What are some of your favourite local ingredients to use?

Impwa, Munteme (monkey orange), Mubuyu (baobab fruit) and Kalembula (sweet potato leaves).

  1. What do you enjoy most about working at Royal Chundu?

I love working at the lodge. It truly is the best place I have ever worked. It’s so special, being a five-star lodge. I have gained a lot of experience in my career here and my knowledge has been expanded and I have become a better chef.

Baobab

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