Meet our fabulous female chefs - Zambezi Queen Collection

If you’ve been lucky enough to make the journey to visit our stunning houseboats or tranquil lodge, you’ll know just what we mean when we say that the food is the icing on the cake – or better put, the meringue on top of our famous lemon meringue!

Yes, the culinary delights that await on the Zambezi Queen, Chobe Princesses or Ichingo Chobe River Lodge are as mouthwatering as those incredible river views and wildlife sightings!

This International Women’s Month, we’d like to celebrate three of our fabulous female chefs. Read on to get to know them, and even better yet, grab a ‘secret’ recipe to try at home.

 

Josephine, Head Chef on the Zambezi Queen

We have to begin with the perfect starter. Yes, the lovely Josephine is the brains and beauty behind that famous lemon meringue!

Many guests have spent their lunch on the Zambezi Queen debating whether the crust has a hint of coconut. Yes, indeed, the crust IS made with coconut, 60 grams to be exact! Josephine kindly shared her lemon meringue recipe for you to try at home.

The recipe may be relatively simple, but anyone who has sampled its tart lemony sweetness would agree the results are spectacular. Indeed, rather like our Head Chef herself.

Josephine was born in Namibia and spent most of her childhood in a rural area outside Katima. Josephine began her career as a housekeeper where, in her free time, she received in-house training from the chefs. It was only a matter of time before she realised her true passion and talent – creating the most delicious dishes. In 2009 she was appointed Head Chef on the Zambezi Queen and has never looked back.

Josephine also knows a thing or two about juggling many pots on the boil – she is the proud mom to 6 kids!

We asked Josephine four quickfire questions:

  1. Name three things you always have in your fridge or kitchen.
    Milk, butter and tomatoes.
  2. Sweet, savoury, sour or salty?
    I’m not really a sweet tooth, and I prefer salty, but any flavour is welcome. I have a great love for food, both cooking and eating.
  3. Favourite dish/treat/snack of all time?
    Any type of crumbed chicken.
  4. The best compliment you’ve ever received from a customer?
    A few years ago, a real “foodie” was one of our guests, so the compliment meant a lot coming from a well-travelled, real gastronome if you will. I quote: “Your food tastes like it was brought straight down from heaven.” That compliment is still stuck in my head to this day!”

Matilda, Head Chef at Ichingo Chobe River Lodge

Matilda is genuinely part of the Zambezi Queen Collection family, having worked at the lodge for an incredible 23 years! She describes herself as being truly passionate about making food of all kinds, flavours, tastes and textures – you name it, she’ll whip it up. Her passion for food was evident even as a schoolgirl when she studied home economics and started coming up with different recipes.

A true innovator, Matilda loves nothing better than experimenting with a range of ingredients to create culinary masterpieces sure to wow their lucky recipients.

Matilda shares one of her famous sweet treats below, her favourite pecan nut pie.

Matilda’s pecan nut pie

Ingredients for the pastry
100g cake flour
30mg icing sugar
90g butter
15ml cold water

Ingredients for the filling
100g brown sugar
125ml maple syrup
40g butter
Three eggs
75ml fresh cream
500g pecan nuts
Icing sugar to dust and mint for garnish

Process the flour, icing sugar and butter in a food processor until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add water to form a soft dough. Leave to rest for one hour in the fridge. Roll the dough out and lightly flour the surface. Line the baking tray with the dough and bake blind for 15min.

Combine the sugar, maple syrup, butter, eggs and cream. Add the pecan nuts and stir through. Pour the mixture onto the pre-baked dough and bake for 30-45min.

Dust with icing sugar and serve with mint.

We asked Matilda four quickfire questions:

  1. Name three things you always have in your fridge/kitchen.
    Milk, eggs and fruit.
  2. Sweet, savoury, sour or salty?
    Everything 😊
  3. Favourite dish/treat/snack of all time?
    Ice cream!
  4. The best compliment you’ve ever received from a customer?
    “The taste of the food and the presentation are excellent.”

 

Jane, One of the Head Chefs for the Chobe Princess houseboats

Jane, the heroine chef in the kitchens on our Chobe Princess houseboats, has been a chef for almost 15 years. She is highly experienced, having worked at other local lodges before joining the Zambezi Queen Collection family.

She shares her journey of how she came to be the beloved face in the kitchen on the Chobe Princesses. She worked her way up, starting in the scullery, then as a housekeeper before moving into the kitchen.

“Working with food has always been my dream,” says Jane. “So, I worked really hard to become a great chef. I am now finally where I need to be,” says Jane proudly.

Here is Jane’s favourite recipe – a moreish carrot cake!

Jane’s famous carrot cake

Ingredients for the cake
250ml oil
250g brown sugar
Three eggs
720g grated carrots
120g chopped walnuts
375g self-raising flour
2g bicarbonate of soda
10g mixed spice

Ingredients for the frosting
30g butter
80g cream cheese
5g finely grated lemon zest
240g icing sugar

Preparation
Preheat oven to moderate. Grease and line a 23cm cake tin. Beat oil, sugar and eggs until thick and creamy. Stir in carrots and nuts. Then sift in the dry ingredients. Pour everything into the prepared tin and bake for 75min. Cool. Beat frosting ingredients together until light and fluffy and ice the top and sides of the cake. Enjoy!

We asked Jane four quickfire questions:

  1. Name three things you always have in your fridge/kitchen.
    Fruits, milk, vegetables
  2. Sweet, savoury, sour or salty?
    All of the above!
  3. Favourite dish/treat/snack of all time?
    Ice cream and homemade chilli bites
  4. The best compliment you’ve ever received from a customer?
    “Excellent food and presentation.”

What memorable dishes have you enjoyed when travelling with us? We’d love to hear! Comment on our social media or send us a message.

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