Siviwe Walli started at Lobengula Lodge in 2012 as a gardener and a pot washer. He was spotted as a hard worker and never hesitated to assist even if it was not in his job description.

When the Central Kitchen opened its doors in 2013, we remembered this hard working young man and decided to give him a chance as a kitchen hand (July 2013) in the Central Kitchen, which I was the Head of. Siviwe had a passion to become a chef and I took it upon myself to invest in him my time and effort and trained him in all the aspects of a functioning production kitchen. Siviwe has a good steady nature, stays calm under pressure and has a positive outlook.

Siviwe & Thulani. Photo credit - Inge Woeke

Today, over two years later, he can proudly manufacture goods and run operations in the kitchen in my absence and has learned to work on the computer, can do stock take, knows all about procedures like FIFO, temperature control and proper Hygiene protocol. He was promoted to a Commis Chef in May 2015 and is showing much promise and is also passing on his knowledge to our students, which we train here in the Central Kitchen. He has become not just an employee, but a friend, whom I am very proud of and someone whom can be depended upon.

In 2014 our kitchen was expanding to such an extent that I was looking for a scullery person of our own and I asked Siviwe to bring me someone that will be able to do the job, but I needed someone who was willing to learn and be flexible. Siviwe brought me Thulani Gocina and he started with us in October 2014.

I could see from the start in Thulani’s humble approach that he had a bright future ahead of him. No small job was too much for him. This was a young man with big goals. He knew where he wanted to go one day and was never shy telling me about his dreams of becoming a chef. Thulani was spread thin between cleaning the admin offices and working as a scullery at Long Lee Manor as well as the Central Kitchen. So he worked for over a year, showing up every day, eager to help with anything he was asked to do. This year towards the end of 2015, we are making him part of the Chefs team officially, by promoting him to a Kitchen assistant.

After showing us such promise, we are delighted to be a part of Siviwe and Thulani’s journey and wish them all the best!

Chef Inge Woeke

-The Central Kitchen