Meet John, our incredible Head Chef at Sayari
John, our wonderful Head Chef at Sayari is a force to be reckoned with in the kitchen. He has been part of the Asilia family since the very beginning, and he is now approaching his fourteenth year with us! When he’s not cooking up a storm for our guests, he can be found on a game drive trying to locate his favourite animal, or at home with his two children in Ngorongoro. Scroll down to read more about our incredible John.
What is your favourite animal?
First of all, I love all the wildlife of my country, but my favourite has to be the lion. I think it’s such a perfect animal and the males are so majestic with their big manes. I have always loved them, even when I was a tiny boy.
Where did your Asilia journey begin?
The first camp that I ever worked at was Olakira in 2006 as a chef’s assistant and now, here I am in 2020 working as the Head Chef at Sayari. Sometimes I can’t believe that I have worked for Asilia for 14 years. I do love Sayari, especially when the Great Migration is happening, but my favourite camp will always be Olakira and this is mainly because it is a mobile camp. I really enjoyed taking the tents down, moving them to different areas and setting everything up again, it kept me strong.
Did you always want to be a chef?
For as long as I can remember I knew that I wanted to cook for people. Before working for Asilia, I used to own a little restaurant in my home in Ngorongoro. I’ve always loved cooking, experimenting with flavours and seeing people enjoy my food. When I started working for Asilia, I shut my restaurant down because I had the amazing opportunity to work in the bush. With Asilia, I have learned how to cook food from other cultures and countries, and I’ve really enjoyed the challenge of getting to know new flavours.
What is your biggest achievement?
I built a house for my family and I definitely think that is my biggest achievement. I have a wife and two little boys; they oldest is 5 and the youngest is just 18 months old. My job has allowed me to provide and care for my family. We have a lovely home and I can send my children to a good school so they can achieve their dreams. The youngest says that he wants to be a doctor, but the eldest wants to be like me and work in the hospitality industry — but I don’t know whether he wants to be a chef, a guide, a waiter or a manager!
What’s one thing that the other staff members don’t know about you?
The other staff don’t know that I am a big thinker. I am always trying to work out how I can improve myself and my actions. I want to ensure that whatever I do, it is to the best of my ability.
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