Meet the smiling chef of Thornybush Collection – Maria Kgohloane

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Maria Kgohloane is one of those individuals who just really loves her job.

Hailing from the small village of The Oaks, not far from Thornybush Collection, Maria grew up as part of a family of 7. As the oldest, she spent much of her time helping her mother to care for her siblings.

Discovering her love for cooking

Maria's hand was always the first to go up when it came to helping out with the preparations for family functions and get-togethers. This eagerness to help soon spilled over into the kitchen where she became her mother's right hand girl and learned all the basics of food preparation and cooking.

After graduating from Mathlamela High School, Maria decided to further her culinary ambitions and duly signed up for studies with the Phalaborwa Foundation. Here, she honed her skills even further with an official cookery course.

The Phalaborwa Foundation sponsors promising young students by providing them with post-matric training in the fields of Hospitality and Education. These programs are offered as part of the Selati Hospitality Training Academy in accordance with the Skills Development Act.

Developing her skills in the hospitality industry

The curriculum covers basic hostessing/waitering skills, food preparation and presentation, kitchen routines and food health and safety. Both theoretical and practical aspects of the work are covered. Students are also mentored in finding employment after graduation and many of them are snapped up by the safari lodges in the area.

Once they have completed the course satisfactorily, the learners receive an international Chef certification endorsed by City and Guilds.

A Thornybush master of delicious creations

We are privileged to have welcomed Maria on board as part of our expert chef's team at Thornybush Collection during 2014. Today, she is our in-house master of the art of creating delicious homemade pickles and jams, which are the envy of grandmothers everywhere.

Maria has found particular favour with the office staff, who are the willing Guinea pigs for her many new cookery creations. So far, they have yet to encounter something they haven't thoroughly enjoyed, although the verdict's out on how long their waistlines can keep up the pace.

The secret ingredient of Maria's culinary prowess? A dazzling smile that melts the hearts of everyone she meets.

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Monday, 11 December 2017