Leon Coetzee, the Executive Chef of the beautiful Kurland Hotel in Plettenberg Bay, gives us his top ten tales from the kitchen.
- There’s nothing worse than a polo horse wandering into the organic herb and vegetable garden when you’re in the middle of a busy service and you need to get some herbs.
- We like to inspire our chefs by playing funky disco music during prep.
- We do many high profile weddings on the Estate and one near disaster was when a wheel fell of the cake trolley as we were making our grand entrance towards the wedding couple.
- A VVIP guest was determined to show off his culinary skills in the kitchen and help cook his family meal. He literally set the frying pan on fire and we had to evacuate the kitchen.
- Event planners are great but on one occasion, mistakenly, they had the wrong menu printed and instead of a 40th birthday menu presented on the table it was for a 60th, aging the quest instantly.
- At a recent polo match, during a busy service, all the vehicles got stuck in the mud on the fields due to a sudden downpour, and mine was the only vehicle available to help tow the spectators out. Talk about juggling.
- A couple of years ago we lowered the lights in the polo pavilion so the birthday girl could blow out her candles. All went according to plan until the lights fused and wouldn’t come back on. So the rest of the evening was, let’s say, romantically dark with candles. Nobody even noticed.
- We once lost the keys to the padlock for the walk-in fridge during service and had to call maintenance to unscrew the hinges so we could get in.
- A burst geyser can really put a damper on things, especially when it bursts and you have to cook in Wellington boots while standing on crates so that you can work.
- When I was in Dubai, I slipped in the kitchen and didn’t realise that I had ripped all the tendons and muscles in my left shoulder until I went to my doctor two days later. Yeah it hurt at the time but the adrenaline rush of working in a fast-paced kitchen masked the pain.