With a love for homely cooking like well-prepared oxtail, Chef Patrick Sayitsheni Ndukuya – the Executive Chef at the Emnotweni Complex in Mbombela – has always loved to cook, a career choice that has seen him travel across the world to prepare delectable dishes for some of the world’s top VIPs.
Born in Barberton and raised in Malelane, Chef Patrick started his culinary journey as a commis chef making stir fry at Malelane Sun in 1988 after which he received training within the group from 1992. This was when he started to seriously consider turning his passion into his career.
Having made the decision to take his career path seriously, Chef Patrick went on to train further at Apex College and Chamdor College.
He says, “That is when I really started to enjoy working in the kitchen. I remember my first dish, it was a seafood platter.”
Now, having held the position of Executive Chef for 13 years Chef Patrick has a number of career highlights to share from catering privately for President Nelson Mandela in Riverside farm Malelane in 1996, President Thabo Mbeki at Emno Sun in 2004, and the Kaizer Chiefs in South Korea during the World Cup – Peace Cup in 2003, to catering for South African National Day 2003 in Jordan, South African Freedom Day celebration 2005 in London and catering the World Economic Forum – representing South Africa – in Davos, Switzerland in 2005.
“Other highlights would be in 2006 when I attended the European Food Exhibition in Lyon, France and catered for South African Freedom Day in Kenya,” Chef Patrick adds.
The married father of four who still loves to cook for his family – especially on weekends – says his daily routine starts by ordering food, ensuring high hygiene standards in the kitchen and training staff. Once these responsibilities are taken care of, he pays his attention to the demands of catering breakfast, lunch, dinner and banqueting functions at Emnotweni where his signature dish is Lamb curry served with Basmati rice.
The passionate food connoisseur says, “When visiting Emnotweni, guests with a taste for spice can come and enjoy our new Peri Peri half chicken.”