June 5, 2019

A Culinary Star in the Making

Rutendo Ruth Marovatsanga has embarked on the culinary journey of a lifetime.

When 27-year old Rutendo Ruth Marovatsanga won the coveted Young Star Chef of The Year Award at the One&Only Reaching for Young Stars project in December last year. Little did she realise it was the start of what was to become the culinary adventure of a lifetime.

Ruru, as she is known, completed her Diploma in Hospitality Management at The Private Hotel School in Stellenbosch before flying off to Dubai to take up an intense mentorship experience at the One&Only The Palm and The One&Only The Mirage in Dubai as part of her prize.

Her time in Dubai included a spell working in various restaurants under the wing of One& Only Royal Mirage’s Executive Chef, Laurent Thierry Eric Michel and One& Only The Palm’s Executive Chef, Patrice Schildowski. She also gained culinary experience in 12 bars and restaurants – one of which was the three Michelin star restaurant Stay by Chef Yannick Alléno.

Next, she jets off on a five-month work experience as a junior chef at Winslow’s Tavern in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. This top heritage restaurant is housed in a historic building and is run by South African Chef Patron Phillip and Tracey Hunt.

What did you learn while working in Dubai?

Perseverance, passion and commitment. The working hours were hectic and there was a lot of pressure in the kitchens as they all strive to maintain very high standards.

Name three things that are always in your fridge.

Definitely a bottle or two of Sauvignon Blanc as well as ham and milk.

What would be on the menu for your last meal?

Medium-well wagyu ribeye.

What chefs do you most admire?

Firstly, my favourite chef is Chef Aviv Liebenberg who mentored me while I was at The Private Hotel School. His passion, patience and skill are incomparable. And then also Chef Reuben Riffel, who is very calm and collected, yet has a loud presence. It is my dream that one day I will open a Reuben’s franchise.

If you could cook for five famous people dead or alive who would they be and what would you make?
Being as daring individual I would to push myself to the limit and prepare Beef Wellington for Gordon Ramsey; southern fried chicken for Michelle and Barack Obama; something sweet, maybe a toffee pudding, for Jamie Oliver; and chicken biryani for Alex Guarnaschelli, who is the Executive Chef at New York’s Butter restaurant and also appears in television shows like Chopped, Iron Chef America and All Star Family Cook-off.

Source: SA Chef Issue 13

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