Kalmay is the newest addition to the team at Vuyani Safari Lodge and has taken the Head Chef position. Kalmay is familiar with the Hoedspruit area and the “Lodge Life” as she has spent the majority of her career in the industry. She has an infectious laugh, crazy sense of humour and a strong personality. The first day that she started working at the Lodge it felt like she belonged here. I sat with her this morning and asked her a couple of questions about herself:
What are your full names:
When and Where were you Born?
Kalmay was born on the 3rd of June in Ladysmith, Kwa Zulu Natal. She had grown up in Tzaneen, which is about an hour and half from Hoedspruit. And moved to Hoedspruit when she was sixteen. Her parents live about 40 minutes from the lodge and are Citrus farmers in the area. Hoedspruit is rather well known for their excellent Citrus produce.
Where did you go to School?
I was home schooled and had a private tutor. Long before I finished my school career I knew I wanted to be Chef. I wanted to create. I think some people are born with a love of certain things. And my love is food. I enrolled in Mashatu Hotel School in Phalaborwa where I graduated with a Diploma in Lodge Management and Culinary Skills.
When did you start working in the Lodge Industry?
My first job in the industry was more than 10 years ago in a Lodge near Phalaborwa. We all start at the bottom, and you basically work your way up. Experience is knowledge. I have always taken pride in never asking anyone to do something unless I am willing to do it myself. I have washed floors, cleaned freezers – you name it I’ve done it, and it has all been part of the fun and a learning experience.
Why did you choose to work in the Lodge industry?
I have always loved the outdoors. I grew up on a farm, I was always outside climbing trees, swimming in the river and having fun. I don’t think I could live in the city. I just doesn’t appeal to me. Being a Chef is my passion and getting to do this in the outdoors is a magnificent thing. I often play this game where I only allow myself three or four ingredients and “Create Something Wonderful” Keeps me ahead of my game.
What do you love most about the bush and why?
I am at one with nature on a daily basis. The beauty about living in the bush is that every day is different. All creatures big and small fascinate me. I drive to work and see all these animals, trees, birds insects and grasses and I think to myself – this is what it must be like to live in paradise.
Are you married, do you have children?
I am not married (*Laughs very loudly*) and I don’t have children.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Anything outdoors! I love river rafting, mountain climbing and camping. Anything that gets the adrenaline flowing is worth doing!
What is your favourite animal?
Many people might find this strange, but I will have to say Buffalo. They are underrated “beasts” They appear very calm and quiet – but yet possess so much power that you dare not venture too close.
If you could do anything in the world, what would it be?
That is a tough question. I think if I didn’t pursue my dream as a Chef I would have liked to do event planning.
Kalmay is a vibrant young woman. She has so much energy and a lust for life! She loves trying out new ideas. She brings a certain flair to the lodge that I cannot explain. Kalmay has so many fresh ideas that we can hardly wait to see what she has up her sleeve at Mealtimes. Her laughter can be heard streaming out of the Kitchen from morning till evening, and it is so infectious.
“Good food is like music you can taste, colour you can smell. There is excellence all around you. You need only to be aware to stop and savour it” Ratatouille