Hitting the Cook Books at River Lodge - Prince Mashele

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Prince Mashele is one of the acclaimed chefs at River Lodge, which was added to the Thornybush Collection's portfolio of luxury game lodges in 2015.

This intimate lodge features four indulgent suites, with a fifth due for completion in June 2018. Delectable dining caters for just 12 guests at a time, ensuring exceptional privacy as part of out tailor-made safari experiences in the heart of the Thornybush Private Game Reserve.

Some of the meals you can look forward to when you stay at River Lodge include bacon-wrapped pork fillet with apple bake and pea purée, chick pea salad, fish cakes with garlic aioli, chicken and veg wraps, home-made potato chips and lemon posset. Believe it or not it's all prepared in the heart of the bush with fresh, locally-produced ingredients.

Early ambitions

Prince hails from Hluvukani, a small village near Bushbuck Ridge in Mpumalanga. He attended Malwana Primary School and passed his final year at Mugena High School. Prince had his heart set on a career in social work and was always passionate about helping others. His chance came sooner than expected.

His mother raised him and his two brothers on her own, until she fell ill shortly after Prince finished school. This left him with no choice but to set his ambitions aside and learn to cook and clean for his siblings while nursing her.

Unforeseen skills and a passion

Armed with little more than his mum's dog-eared cookbook, he rose to the occasion, in the process discovering that he had a knack for the culinary arts. As his skills grew, his interest in cooking increased too and by 2011, Prince had his sights set on a formal chef's qualification.

He was selected to join a learnership program and spent 8 months honing his talents. His new-found skills were impressive enough to land him a permanent position as a chef, a position which he held for 5 years.

The African Bush was calling

Despite his long tenure, he couldn't resist the urge to apply for an opening with the prestigious Thornybush Collection, where he has been delighting guests ever since.

Prince says, "Working at Thornybush is like a dream come true because Thornybush is one of the biggest safari lodge companies in South Africa and affords me the luxury to increase my knowledge and skills ".

Here's what our clients say in return:

"With the expert culinary genius of chefs Prince Mashele and Nomsa Methebula, every single dining experience is a masterpiece"- Upscale Living Magazine.

Needless to say, we are delighted to have Prince on board and excited to be a part of his gastronomic journey.

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Tuesday, 17 July 2018