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02 June, 2023

From Scotland with love – and flavour!

Royal Malewane

Discovering a passion

Although it might be hard to believe when you experience his cooking, Archie fell into being a chef almost by accident. Whilst working as a barman at a pub in Perth, Scotland, he stepped in to help one evening when the kitchen was short-staffed.
It turned out to be a serendipitous moment – almost as soon as he was inside the kitchen, Archie fell in love with the atmosphere and the team spirit. Feeling that he had found a place where he truly belonged, Archie moved to England to pursue his dream and undertook a 3-year apprenticeship as a chef.

While many chefs have a signature dish that they tend to fall back on, Archie takes a different approach. He loves the challenge of coming up with new menus each day, and keeping things fresh and interesting for guests at Malewane Lodge. However, if pressed, he will admit that the truffle mushroom, pea and parmesan risotto is one of his favourites, thanks to the fact that it is rich and cheesy with lots of butter (we can vouch for just how tasty it is!).

Flavour always comes first

Archie’s approach to each dish begins of course with flavour, and then he moves on to consider the textures. He aims to create moments that impact the senses on many different levels, and this naturally includes the presentation of each dish and ensuring that it is a beautiful ‘canvas’. As he says, we all eat with our eyes first.

Archie explains that being a chef in South Africa can be demanding due to the very high reputation of South African cuisine, but also liberating thanks to the sheer variety of outstanding produce that’s available year-round.
He points to a trend of South African chefs travelling overseas to gain experience and returning home with enhanced knowledge and skills as another reason for the exceptional standards of food preparation and presentation in the country, as well as the fact that Cape Town’s reputation as a cuisine hotspot attracts talented chefs from all over the world.

Bushveld cuisine at its best

After 15 years in SA, Archie has adapted his cooking style to incorporate local elements wherever possible, especially as guests expect this in a bush setting. However, he still describes his style as classic European – although with a distinctly South African twist to many of his dishes.
When it comes to the daily work of preparing exceptional meals, Archie says he would be lost without his 30cm cook’s knife, his combi oven and his team of talented sous chefs. In terms of ingredients, the rumour in the Malewane Lodge kitchen is that he’s currently having a love affair with roast garlic!
This all adds up to an exceptional food experience for guests at Royal Malewane – as it’s the only place to eat for literally miles around, the kitchen needs to be able to surprise and delight them by producing every kind of meal, and all of them excellent.

Teamwork really does make the dreamwork!

Archie find some of his inspiration on Instagram, and in following the career of his idol Gordon Ramsay. However, his greatest source of new ideas is his team at Malewane Lodge, and watching them grow in skills and confidence as they come up with amazing food ideas. He describes how when everyone is thinking creatively, the Malewane Lodge kitchen is a great place to be. We’re sure this is something you’ll experience when you visit!

Watch Chef Archie’s culinary mastery as he orchestrates a symphony of flavors in the untamed wilderness of Royal Malewane’s  bush dinner:

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