What's Marc cooking? There is always something delicious bubbling on the fire.
Marc grew up in a family passionate about food. His Alsatian grandmother who lived with the family was always busy in the kitchen cooking, baking, making preserves, sausages, sauces and juices - and all by hand. She was the most talented cook Marc ever met and the reason why he is so passionate about food. Her cooking style was traditional French cuisine, making every dish with the purest ingredients and totally home-made. She was his first teacher and he would spend hours with her in the kitchen learning the old family recipes. Upon leaving school it was clear that he would train as a chef, so he did an apprenticeship in France in a busy restaurant in the Alps with one of the greatest chefs of the area. At the age of 22 Marc moved to Africa to run safaris first in Namibia and then in Botswana, which he did for 13 years. His role was not only to drive and guide the clients, but also to cook for them. This is where he took his previous training and over the following 13 years mastered the ability to prepare gourmet meals on an open fire and bake bread in the ground. This was a thrilling learning time for him and the clients looked forward to every dinner when he would make dishes on a fire that they could not even imagine eating in a restaurant. In the tradition of his grandmother he made all the dishes by hand, making delicious, home-cooked food in the bush.
Marc leads safaris in German, French and English and caters according to the groups culinary preferences. It is Marc’s philosophy that every client on safari should eat well and he has spent the last 32 years perfecting the art of preparing delicious food on an open fire. As there are no shops in the bush, your gastronomic experience needs a lot of planning. This involves menu planning, shopping, packing and storing, keeping in mind that there is limited space in the trucks, every ingredient is accounted for to the last gram. As there is no electricity and limited fridge space, goods need to be stored effectively to conserve freshness and packed well to avoid breakages on the bumpy roads. Even some bottling, pickling and baking is done prior to departure in the tradition of the great treks of bygone days. This is something of an art in itself and here Marc is a master planner.
Marc’s cooking philosophy is based on creating delicious, hearty food using the best quality, pure, fresh ingredients available. All his dishes are homemade from scratch and he is a big advocate of the “Slow Food” movement which he believes originates from open fire cooking. It is not an unusual sight to see a heavy cast iron pot standing over a few coals with a ragout slowly “blopping” away for hours.
Upon your return from an evening game drive you will be invited to sit around the fire and watch Marc as he creates his dishes, mashing, chopping, sautéing and flambéing. He is a master at controlling the fire from the largest flames to the smallest coals, each with its own specific level of heat and use.
Travelling with Marc will give you an experience of a lifetime and you are guaranteed to look forward to every meal.
Meals. Freshly baked bread, scrumptious salads and decadent deserts.
Meals are served at a set dining table in a dining tent, but sometimes due to the excellent weather here dinner is served under the stars. Breakfast is actually served before sunrise and is just to tide you over until brunch. We find generally people do not have much of an appetite at this early hour so we keep the meal simple and then we take a break during the morning game drive for coffee, crunchies and fruit for those who are starting to get peckish. When you return from your game drive in the late morning you will be served a hearty brunch which always includes a fresh salad. Before your afternoon game drive you will be served cake and coffee, tea and juice. Drinks snacks will be served with your aperitif in the evening before dinner which will consist of a 2-course meal, ether a starter and main course or a main course and desert.
An example of a typical day's menu follows:
Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, fruit juice, home-baked bread/toast with a selection of jams, rusks, yogurt and fruit.
MORNING GAME DRIVE
Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, crunchies and fruit.
Lamb keftas, served with pita bread, hummus, aubergine dip and tzaziki.
Butternut, cumin and lentil salad.
Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, fruit juice and hazelnut cake.
Basil and tomato soup
Fillet with Madagascar green pepper sauce, potato bake and sautéd courgettes.
Special dietary needs. Vegetarian, vegan, gluten and lactose intolerant.
Marc is also a qualified chefs trainer and in the low season he trains chefs in many of the luxury safari Lodges in Botswana. One of his specialities is special dietary needs training for vegetarian, vegan, gluten and lactose intolerant diets. Having a wife who is vegan and who eats 80% raw food, Marc has developed a deep understanding of this kind of food preparation. If you have a special dietary need please let us know well in advance so Marc can cater for your needs so you too may eat delicious food.
Marc was the first producer of raw, dehydrated snacks in South Africa and still today his product is unrivalled.