Food. Glorious, delicious food. Made from fresh, organic, seasonal produce, and cuts of locally sourced meat that ooze flavour. Food that makes your taste buds tingle, your mouth start watering, and your palate wonder if it has gone straight to paradise.
That is the kind of food we want our guests to relish. We want haute cuisine at The Homestead: a taste of real luxury at one of the the best safari lodges in South Africa. Yes, it is a tall order. So, we found a chef that could deliver it.
When Kamarl John was approached for the job of Head Chef at The Homestead, he was undecided. At that time the lodge had not even been built. It was when he met our founder Wayne Scholes and saw his vision for The Homestead that he was sure he wanted to be a part of the project.
“I’m looking forward to this journey at The Homestead. We are currently in the build phase and I have really enjoyed the planning of the restaurants and their menus. On the menu, we will champion using local suppliers, and have a heavy focus on sustainable fresh seasonal ingredients. Our founder Wayne Scholes’ vision for The Homestead is fascinating, and I am very excited to be given the opportunity to be part of this journey,” Kamarl said.
His own journey is that of a London boy born and bred in South-East London, England, UK, who never wanted to leave his hometown, and yet ended up working in some of the most prestigious establishments in Singapore. He worked in the famous Marina Bay Sands, and later as Head Chef at the Four Seasons Hotel in Singapore.
“I always wanted to be a chef,” he said. He grew up watching celebrity chefs on TV; chefs such as Gary Rhodes, Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsey. Kamarl did a one-year intensive course at Lewisham College in South-East London, got qualified, and worked his way up the career ladder. He wanted to be able to work in both restaurants and hotels so that he had a broad range of experience, so he went for it.
He amassed almost 15 years of experience working for some of the UK’s top restaurants and hotels, which included 45 Park Lane (part of The Dorchester Collection), where he met his wife Erica; Claridge’s and Sketch by Pierre Gainer. Kamarl has also trained under some world-class chefs, including the likes of Wolf-Gang Puck and David Myers. Kamarl’s passion for food has made him step out of his comfort zone during his career, to cook and learn different cuisines ranging from modern British, French, French with an Asian twist, and contemporary Japanese.
When he was offered the chance to go to Singapore to work in Marina Bay Sands, he was enticed by the adventure and Erica agreed that it was a good opportunity. In 2017, Kamarl and his young family made the move to Singapore, where he had the chance to gain experience working for David Myers in Adrift, located in the world-famous Marina Bay Sands, as Executive Sous Chef. His restaurant there was very contemporary, with a Japanese influence. It made him push himself, which he enjoyed. Kamarl went on to take his first Head Chef role at the Four Seasons Hotel in Singapore, where he led the rebranding of the hotel’s culinary offerings.
They fully enjoyed their three years in Singapore and were able to travel more around Asia too. Sadly, when the world-wide pandemic hit, the young family had to return to the UK.
Kamarl and his family survived the lockdowns and was offered a position as Head Chef for a group of Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants in London. “It felt like a natural exciting and right transition,” he said.
And then fate intervened, in the form of The Homestead.
“In my opinion, nothing has ever been done like The Homestead. I told my wife and we felt it was a good fit for the family. I was inspired by the people, particularly Wayne, who explained his vision for The Homestead. To be handed this much control and to be encouraged to experiment is a chance of a lifetime. To showcase my skills in a super luxury lodge, how could I say no? I did not know what to expect in terms of the food — now I am trying new foods: interesting fruit and vegetables and different cuts of meat,” he said.
Kamarl has been involved in the design of the kitchen from scratch. He is now hiring a new team of 30 people, all of whom will be equals in the kitchen; a true team of like-minded professionals dedicated to creating ultra-luxurious moments of pure pleasure for our guests to savor. Like everything else during your luxury safari getaway at The Homestead, it will be like nothing you have ever experienced.