13 July 2012 by Denise Slabbert

The ‘spirit’ of Jamie Oliver meets the African bush

Students attending the Singita School of Cooking in the Kruger National Park got to spend a week with Lucien Green, senior training and development chef at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Apprentice Programme.

Lucien Green lends a hand to create delicious meals along with the staff and students of the Singita School of Cooking

Recently, students at the Singita School of Cooking (Kruger National Park) were thrilled to lean on the expertise of the United Kingdom’s Lucien Green.

Senior training and development chef at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Apprentice Programme, Green spent an entire week conducting masterclasses for staff and students at the cooking school. From stuffing focaccia to making carpaccio to creating a range of challenging dishes using the best of Green’s expertise and the finest of local ingredients, the Singita students and staff had a fun week learning from 1 of Oliver’s right-hand men.

It was certainly a fun few days, and when Green wasn’t out in the bush in the back of a Land Rover looking for lions, he was in the kitchen sharing his wealth of expertise.

The Singita School of Cooking was established in 2007 and is aimed at training aspiring chefs and contributing to job employment. Oliver’s Fifteen Apprentice Programme does a similar thing, and having someone with Green’s expertise and passion for cuisine was a valuable experience.

It was certainly a fun few days, and when Green wasn’t out in the bush in the back of a Land Rover looking for lions (the pride of lion at Singita Lebombo are the rock stars in this stretch of bushveld), he was in the kitchen sharing his wealth of expertise.

The days were jam-packed with food-related activities, and a healthy competition soon evolved as Green divided the students and staff into various teams.

Head chef at Singita Lebombo Archie MacLean commented just prior to Green’s departure: 'Today was Lucien Green’s last day in the kitchen at the Singita School of Cooking. He managed to squeeze in 1 more demo before he left: confit duck gizzards, duck hearts and orange segments all drizzled with a Dijon mustard dressing. I was worried I might not sample the duck delicacy as there was a sea of students in front of me destroying the delicious salad by the fork-full.' 

Anyone lucky enough to have visited Singita Lebombo or Singita Sweni will know that the food is already out of this world – so the Lucien Green and Jamie Oliver influence can only take the dining experience to new heights.

MacLean says the entire staff and student contingent were sad to see Green go. 'As a thank you to Lucien he was given a cooking-school jacket with his name embroidered on it, a Singita book and an invitation for him and his wife to return to the Singita Lebombo and Sweni lodges.'

Footnote: The Singita School of Cooking equips young men and women from neighbouring villages with culinary skills over an 18-month period to enable them to apply for a commis chef position in a professional kitchen. The school recently enrolled its 5th intake of students. Over the past few years, 25 talented chefs have completed the Singita training programme, and 10 of these are working in the Singita lodge kitchens at lodges in and around Southern Africa.

Category: Food & Wine

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