Thomas Matowerenyi is the senior sous chef at Thornybush Lodge, with over 15 years of experience under his apron.
Thomas was born in Soweto’s Baragwanath Hospital, but his earliest memories are of growing up in the Honde Valley in Zimbabwe’s Eastern Highlands.
He grew up savouring the fresh air and tranquillity of this rural environment, often spending his holidays gathering honey with his uncles. During these excursions, they would come across local wildlife like guinea fowl and warthog and it was these small creatures that sparked his enduring love of life in the bush.
Knowing that a career in hospitality could be the key to continuing this love affair with all things natural, Thomas attended the International Hotel School where he qualified as a chef and was later placed at the Radisson Blue in Granger Bay in Cape Town.
These encounters with urban civilization were too busy for his liking and this prompted him to turn his gaze northwards, towards the luxury South African safari lodges of the bushveld.
In 2003, he started at Simbambili Lodge, where he flourished for 5 years before moving off to greener pastures. In 2012, he was back – this time to grace the kitchens of our Main Lodge where he enjoys nothing more than cleaning the fridges, freezers and anything he can get his hands on (Go figure!).
Thomas is a devout man who places God first in all his doings. His other interests include smooth jazz, jogging, reading and, of course, cooking.
He has an interesting hobby which involves saving all the fruit pips and seeds from the kitchen and planting them in containers near his lodgings. When the trees are big enough, Thomas takes them home with him to plant, so that his local community can share in the harvest.
Back home, his wife Kate and son Mogau are his top priority together with extended family members, brother Daniel, Mother-in-law and Granny.
Despite his many accomplishments, Thomas’s most embarrassing moment was brought about by one of Thornybush Game Reserve’s smallest inhabitants. The event took place during a bush dinner, with all the guests gathered around the fireplace to enjoy yet another delicious evening meal courtesy of our accomplished chefs.
Everything was going according to plan when a curious army ant ventured a step too far up Thomas’s trousers. Before too long the ant took a bite out of its unsuspecting host, followed by another and another.
In agony, Thomas ran out, ripping off his pants and swatting at the offending ant before vanishing out of sight of his perplexed audience.
It’s no surprise that his favourite animals (lions and elephants) are in a different league and at another level all together.
We can’t promise you similar entertainment during your visit, but if you’d like to experience the teamwork, dedication and talents of our team at Thornybush Game Lodge, get in touch to book now.