Louise Pretorius

By August 12, 2019This is Us

Meet our lovely new Executive Chef of Tongabezi, Sindabezi, and Livingstone Island*

(*Organic, gourmet food on the edge of Victoria Falls? Yes please!)

Louise might seem sweet, but wait until you see her and our other South African team member JC dig into a cheese plate, neither of them is taking any prisoners. We invited both away from Tongabezi and Livingstone Island and over to Tangala specifically to make an indent into our excessive amount of brie and they do not disappoint. 

‘Why do you have so little on your plate?’ she asks me, ‘You should have at least twice as much cheese as biscuit!’

Apart from Middle Eastern styled shared food, cheese and fruit plates are Louise’s favorite thing to eat.

‘What’s your favorite thing to cook though?’ I ask (mostly to distract the girls from the cheese so that I can grab a bite).

‘I love the slow-cooked stuff. Anything with layers of flavor like pickles and jams. And for fun, I bake.’

Vanilla Cake with strawberry jam, cream, mint, and bougainvillea. 

And did we mention that Louise loves hats? We wonder where she got it from…

Louise’s foray into the cooking world was started by her mother. Born and raised in Cape Town with two brothers, her childhood was filled with family, laughter, cooking, and a lot of happy meals together.

Her family is adventurous, whether it’s swimming in the rain or testing out a new dish.

‘I still exchange recipes with my family,’ Louise tells me, ‘We all love trying new ideas and it’s a great excuse to stay connected.’

Louise’s god-sister and her twin god-daughters live in Houston and she visits them as often as she can. They love to go on holiday together to Mexico and as a result, Louise adores Mexican food.

Louise and her god-sister Nanette.

When asked to choose three people in the world to have a meal with, one of the people she chooses is Mexican Chef Hugo Ortega. Louise has eaten at all of his restaurants in Houston.

She says that she loves, ‘how Chef Ortega has brought the most amazing Mexican street food to the world and made it fashionable’.

Chef Henry shows off his famous chicken

Louise is hoping to channel Ortega’s attitude by bringing an interactive, quirky side to the Sindabezi Island cooking process. On some days this means allowing guests to design their own meals and then watch our wonderful chefs cook them over an open fire. On other days it might mean ordering the ‘Chef’s Omelette’ without being told what the ingredients are.

We are very lucky to have Louise on board, especially since the main part of her role at Tongabezi, Sindabezi, and Livingstone Island is training and she has an immense sustainable food -focus.

 

The Tongabezi gardens are an endless source of flavour.

Louise wants to cut down on water and food waste, watch our energy usage and use our herb and vegetable gardens to determine the menus as much as possible.

Louise has worked all over Africa before joining the Tongabezi team, everywhere from Tanzania to Nigeria and in various properties all over South Africa. After working at all of these wonderful places, I ask her what she thinks will be her biggest challenge at Tongabezi.

“How to focus on my work with such beautiful scenery around!” she says.

Since we’re sitting at the Tangala kitchen table with the Zambezi river gleaming through the window and the possibility of elephants (Louise’s favorite African animal!) coming down to drink on the other side at any minute, it’s rather hard to disagree with her.

Louise spots elephants in the neighbouring Mosi Oa Tunya Park.