Having grown up in Paarl with a culinary enthusiast for a mum, Rhona Strauss worked her way up the ranks in her mother’s kitchen as a child from dishwasher to experimental cook.
Later on she made her passion formal by qualifying as a Professional Chef at the Institute of Culinary Arts just outside Stellenbosch. Having moved to Namibia in 2004, she’s been here and happily cooking up a storm ever since.
Rhona has a passion for hospitality training and has found that home is often found in the kitchen, working side by side with passionate, but not always qualified, chefs. She has a special place in her heart and lots of time for chefs who wants to learn. She understands that not all chefs have the privilege to go to chef school, but it they want to learn she can walk a very long way with them!
Visiting the Mushara Collection once a month is pure pleasure for Rhona. Its her ‘chef-time’, her sanity-check, a time where she can do what she loves most – physically cooking, focussing on food, and only food! Its also a time where she can work side-by-side with the wonderful staff at the three different camps. Cooking with them, chopping veggies, showing the chefs new skills, inspiring them, telling them about the current food fashions, kneading dough, thinking out new dishes and presentation of current dishes, helping with kitchen operational issues, and more. Just being there for the chefs as a backup and reinforcement is an inspiration to them, and her work ethic definitely rubs off on our cooking staff here at Mushara.
During her monthly visits, she spends a lot of time with chefs Maria, Naiman and Redwine specifically, working with them through the current menus, making sure that the standard is still as high as expected, revising the presentation of the dishes, ensuring that all three outlets have the same standard of food service and food preparation and listening to their concerns about certain dishes or menu items.
Sometimes, when there are quality or presentation problems, all chefs are called back to the Mushara Lodge kitchen where Rhona then cooks the particular dish or recipe or meal with them, once again, timeously, to make sure that all the kitchens are on top form.
Being involved with such a professional chef is a pure pleasure, and the fact that she shares in the passion of the staff and management is a privilege which is valued very highly and with a thankful heart.