I have heard that the Thonga Beach Lodge Head Chef has been newly promoted to Executive Chef over all Isibindi Africa lodges and I ask to meet the rising star. I snap my jaw back up into position as a lithe, good looking young man comes out of the kitchen. For a moment I wonder if the Executive Chef is off and they have sent me a handsome substitute to appease me, but it turns out this is the man himself. The reason for his success soon becomes apparent – Carl Moller is passionate about two key ingredients – health and taste.
Well versed in all the latest wellness trends, Chef Moller is thoughtful about every meal. With a deft hand at enhancing the flavour of the natural products he uses, Moller combines interesting contrasts while respecting the essence of his core ingredients. He prefers a Mediterranean diet, explaining that it is healthy and light, which suits the sunny KwaZulu North Cost climate well. The food is easy to digest for guests actively snorkeling, swimming or walking (or in the case of some-who-will-not-be-named pre- and post-lunch napping).
Chef Moller himself “walks the talk” and is a long distance swimmer. He is training for the Midmar Mile (but not just the tough-enough one mile swim – the 10km version!) and he will combine this trip with his love of fly-fishing in the Midlands. He is passionate about photography and several of the stunning photographs at the lodge are his.
I worry out loud that taking on this new role of Executive Chef over all the Isibindi lodges will take the inevitable managerial toll on his creativity and flair, but he plans to stay hands-on with the cooking, saying that he prefers to work alongside people in the kitchen rather than handing out advice.
Having worked in restaurants in most of the big cities in South Africa, he has already made his lifestyle choice clear. He loves the creative inspiration of the pristine natural habitats of the Isibindi Lodges, saying “This is a lovely environment to work in – fresh clean air, a healthy way of life, no traffic and you are always close to nature.” These are modern values which eschew the aggressive urban trends of the 90’s and one senses he has found the balance of living well.
Just listening to him makes one inspired to be a healthier and more wholesome version of oneself and one hopes that it is possible imbibe his spirit through his delicious meals and tasteful approach to life.