Singita Game Reserves has appointed Zimbabwean-born chef Sara Rickard (26) as Sous Chef at Singita Pamushana Lodge in the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve in South Eastern Zimbabwe. This move is a return to home soil for this passionate young chef, who has worked aboard luxury yachts and at some of South Africa’s top hotels and restaurants in Cape Town. With her deep-seated love for the African bush and her penchant for traditional cuisine, she is set to bring refreshing new flavours with a delicious international ‘twist’, to the dining experience at this award-winning Relais & Châteaux lodge.
Rickard describes her unique cooking style as ‘wholesome’, without much fuss and frills, yet bursting with flavour. She loves taking advantage of the freshest seasonal ingredients available at local markets to enhance the flavours of her dishes. Rickard strongly believes that a successful chef is only as good as the team in the kitchen, and enjoys enhancing the skills of her fellow kitchen employees to develop skills at every level.
For Rickard this return to her roots after ‘sailing the seas’ in search of culinary excellence, signifies the pinnacle of a career spanning some six years, during which she has gained invaluable international experience. With her heart set on becoming a chef ever since completing her advanced A Levels in Zimbabwe in 2004, she enrolled at the Silwood School of Cookery in Cape Town and graduated with her Cordon Bleu Grande Diploma in 2007.
Since then she has carved an impressive career as a top notch chef, having trained at award-winning restaurants such as Terroir Restaurant at the Kleine Zalze Wine Estate in Stellenbosch; The River Café in Cape Town’s Constantia Valley; and the Cape Grace Hotel at the V&A Waterfront. Then followed a stint as Chef de Partie at Ellerman House Hotel in Bantry Bay, where she worked with Former Executive Head Chef Jonathan Gargan, honing her skills under his expert guidance. Her desire to expand her culinary influences then saw her heading for foreign shores to prepare delicious cuisine for the guests and crew aboard three luxury yachts in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean, before joining the Singita team, to return to her country of birth.
With her flair for infusing locally inspired dishes with international culinary influences, guests at Singita Pamushana Lodge can look forward to a world-class dining experience in one of the world’s most dramatic wilderness settings, prepared with characteristic flair. There is no doubt that her signature dish that consists of crispy duck breast served on pomme boulangere with glazed carrots, roast baby beetroot, a red wine reduction, orange marmalade and fresh thyme, will be served with the same passion and delight that has earned the Singita team no less than 15 ‘Best Hotel in the World’ awards, and each of their four idyllic destinations in Africa the global reputation as a ‘place of miracles’.