Executive Chef for The Maslow Hotel Omar Menhouk wants to explore South America. Picture: supplied.
Executive Chef for The Maslow Hotel Omar Menhouk wants to explore South America. Picture: supplied.

5 minutes with The Maslow's Executive Chef Omar Menhouk

By Clinton Moodley Time of article published Feb 26, 2021

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The Maslow Hotel has a new Executive Chef named Omar Menhouk. The chef, who drinks up to six espressos a day, has decades of experience in food and travel.

The Algerian-born Menhouk has a Diploma in Cooking from Algeria and speaks five languages, including Arabic, Swahili and Italian.

Menhouk worked in some of the world’s most exclusive game lodges in Kenya and cooked for celebrities like Sir Richard Branson, the First Lady of Zambia, Nelson Mandela and the Royal family of Saudi Arabia.

He spoke to IOL Travel about meeting Sir Richard Branson and his travels:

What is it like working as a chef during the pandemic?

Very tricky. It requires lots of attention to detail and health and safety protocol. One always needs to be cautious and reminding the team to prioritise hygiene and social distancing, which is not always easy in the kitchen. We make sure all protocols are followed.

What was it like meeting Sir Richard Branson, and what dishes did you choose for him?

Branson was a true businessman. He would ask me to dish up the food I thought he should eat from the buffet. He is definitely a very well-spoken gentleman. I cannot disclose further details around his stay or meals. I also cooked for Michael Jackson. I cooked for him for 27 days at Sun City.

What is your favourite destination?

My hometown Algeria will always be my favourite place to be. However, I enjoyed my time in Kenya and Cape Town. I want to explore South America, Thailand and Bali.

Can you share some travel tips with our readers?

Be on time for your flight, watch your luggage, always have your passport and credit card, relax and enjoy the journey.

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