New for 2021, Matetsi Victoria Falls introduces The Chef’s Table, an immersive, gastronomic experience specially curated by Executive Chef Shane Ellis. Available exclusively for Matetsi guests, the experience includes a community garden visit to meet local suppliers and producers, followed by a signature ‘African fusion’ cookery session, and dining experience to enjoy the resulting masterpieces. Recipes draw on local Zimbabwean ingredients (some of which can be foraged from the bush), teaching guests how to cook these unique ingredients in a more familiar way. The Chef’s Table will be led by two of the finest chefs on the continent, Chef Shane Ellis and Chef Artwell Muchenje, who offer a world-class gourmet experience in the heart of the Zimbabwean bush. The property’s 100% Zimbabwean team are passionate about local produce and recipes from their beautiful home country and can’t wait to share a taste of this with guests.
Matetsi Victoria Falls
Family-owned and independently-run, Matetsi Victoria Falls is a beautifully designed, luxury safari lodge situated on the banks of the Zambezi river, within its own 136,000-acre pristine wilderness – the Matetsi Private Game Reserve. Comprising 16 suites, two family suites and a private villa, Matetsi Victoria Falls is the realization of the Gardiner family’s dream to showcase everything exceptional about their home country, from safari, river and Victoria Falls to Zimbabwean design talent and hospitality.
The Chef’s Table
The Chef’s Table begins with a mid-morning transfer into Victoria Falls town to visit a community garden in the village area, meeting local characters and learning about Zimbabwean ingredients with the assistance of Matetsi’s knowledgeable guide. Returning to Matetsi, Chef will be ready to welcome guests into the interactive kitchen for a private ‘African fusion’ cookery session. Chef will introduce the menu, proceeding with an open discussion and interactive experience while preparing the dishes, culminating with guests enjoying their culinary masterpieces. Seasonal menu highlights include: samp & butternut risotto or braised brisket with charred sadza (a savory porridge), with wild basil panna-cotta for dessert. The session will equip guests with ideas and skills to take home, while simultaneously offering an opportunity to interact with the culinary team. Numbers will be kept deliberately small (maximum of two guests) in order to guarantee personal attention and hands-on involvement. The experience can be tailored towards both lunch and dinner menus, and dishes will be paired with select wines from Matetsi’ wine cellar, which showcases interesting and iconic wines of Southern Africa.
The Chef’s Table is just one example of the superb culinary offering at Matetsi Victoria Falls. Menus are prepared daily, focusing on regionally sourced, exceptional produce. Highlights include local dishes such as bream from the Zambezi river, venison with sadza or peanut butter rice, crocodile ceviche served with harissa mayo, and carrot risotto with lemon and basil oil. Game drives often involve a stop for a gin and tonic (the spirit sourced from South Africa's booming craft gin scene). Meanwhile, dinner is served in Matetsi’s beautifully designed dining spaces, al fresco on the banks of the Zambezi or in the bush, where multiple chandeliers of lanterns hang from a giant winterthorn tree, illuminating the wilderness below and creating what guests fondly refer to as: ‘Matetsi Magic.’
The Culinary Team
As Executive Chef at Matetsi Victoria Falls, Shane Ellis loves creating exceptional menus for guests. Since joining the team in August 2017, Chef Ellis has up-skilled Matetsi’s hot-kitchen team, trained keen individuals from scratch and nurtured some of the best pastry chefs in the region. Chef Ellis brings a broad range of experience to the table from classical training at Meikles Hotel through to dining “in the bush” with Singita where he found his true calling for dining in the wilderness.
Chef Artwell Muchenje joined the team in August 2018 as Executive Head Chef and the pair quickly formed a dynamic partnership. Chef Artwell has brought another dimension of creativity to the kitchen, embracing the added challenge of a relatively remote location, and showcasing dishes that surpass guests’ expectations. He also loves developing skills within the Matetsi Victoria Falls kitchen team, shining light on Zimbabwe’s culinary flair and developing raw local talent.
The Chef’s Table is complimentary for international guests staying for four nights or longer at Matetsi Victoria Falls. The experience is subject to availability, and booking in advance is highly recommended.
Rates at Matetsi Victoria Falls start from $850 per night per person staying in a suite. For more information, please visit: matetsivictoriafalls.com