The Regency Apartment Hotel Menlyn launched last year, with its in-house restaurant Platina offering 24-hour dining and room service to the leisure and business travellers that visit the 4 star hotel. Chef Sam Ramokoka has been appointed as the executive chef of the restaurant, and has designed a menu that features fusion cuisine and a few South African twists. Chef Sam’s signature dishes include Seared Norwegian Salmon with vegetable stir fry and aioli, and Beef fillet served with bone marrow and root vegetables madeira jus.
“We enjoy a sophisticated menu but our signature dishes often consist of traditional meals that are very popular and fit well with our brand. It’s been very exciting to start something like this with a hotelier as passionate as Siyanda Dlamini. We really believe in African brands and our hotel is a 100% African brand,” says Chef Sam Ramokoka.
We found out more about the chef, his career and his advice to younger chefs:
Q&A Quickfire with Chef Sam Ramokoka:
Tell us about your career as a Chef? My career in cuisine began when I started working as a sculler in the kitchen at Mount Grace Hotel. This role ignited a passion for cooking in me and I immediately aspired to become a skilled and learned Chef. I then enrolled at the Mafikeng Hotel School and did my practical experience at Le Franschhoek Hotel for three years after that. I have been blessed to work under excellent chefs in the industry with the likes of Trevor Boyd, Gerard Van Staden, Frank Lubbe and Matlhomola Thame. I learned from each of them and each of them have shaped my journey, teaching my lessons, techniques and invaluable skills. Now as the Executive Chef at the Regency Apartment Hotel, I command my own kitchen and hope to grow young talented chefs in the same way that these masters assisted me.
What would your last meal on earth be? Definitely my mother’s tripe and samp – it’s always been my absolute favourite!
Biggest kitchen disaster ever? Once at a previous hotel we accidentally served burnt soup to a guest!
Best lesson you’ve ever learnt in the kitchen? You can never do it alone. You are as good as your team, so always work smartly with and appreciate the team.
If you weren’t a chef, what would you be? A DJ because I love music so much. I love how music makes people happy and facilitates a good time!
What has been the best moment of your career so far? Working for The Regency Apartment Hotel Menlyn under Siyanda Dlamini where he has given me the opportunity to start my own kitchen with my own ideas and standards. I have put together my team and was able to choose who I want to work with. This has really accelerated my career, skills and confidence!
What advice would you give other young chefs that are about to enter the industry? Always strive to improve your skills on a daily basis and experiment with new flavours and foods, but most importantly – have fun in the kitchen.