Food has always been my family,” says newly appointed Head Chef Milda Deale of Future Found Sanctuary by Newmark.
Growing up on a farm in the Karoo Chef Milda picked fruit from the orchards, baked bread with her gran and ate lamb from the farm. As such she feels right at home at Future Found Sanctuary. Here meal ingredients are sourced from 30 organically grown veggie and herb boxes, from trees in the expansive Hout Bay gardens and from bee hives on the property.
Milda’s journey as a chef
Chef Milda’s love of cooking was inspired by her father who loved to experiment with ingredients and make unusual dishes for the family such as rabbit pie or fish stew. When he passed away when Chef Milda was a teenager, she found that cooking was a way to feel close to him.
“Years later when I was a stay-at-home mum, I took the time to properly learn to cook. When my kids were a bit older, I started applying for chef positions. It was incredibly exciting when Zorgvliet Wine Estate took a chance on me and hired me as their Head Chef. I went through a huge learning curve in this position and soaked up so much knowledge,” she says.
Chef Milda stayed on at Zorgvliet Wine Estate in Stellenbosch for 2 years before opening a new restaurant in Tulbagh called Digger’s Home. She later opened the Botanicum Restaurant at Morgenster Wine and Olive Estate in Somerset West. During COVID she gained experience as a private chef after earning a reputation for hosting small private dinner parties at her home in Hof Street in Oranjezicht, Cape Town.
“I was staying in the most fabulous house just off Kloof Street at the time. The kitchen was tiled in gold mosaics, and we would serve dinner in my landlord’s music room where guests were accompanied by a pianist on the baby grand,” she reminisces.
What drew you to Future Found Sanctuary?
“I was immediately drawn to Future Found Sanctuary’s wellness and food philosophies. I’ve always loved making nutritious family style meals and preparing harvest table dishes. This is how I like to cook for my own family which is why joining Future Found has felt like completing a full circle for me. I am so blessed to work at a property where I have access to an immense veggie garden and the Hout Bay Harbour where I can buy fresh fish to braai for our guests. Picking herbs and fruit in the garden fills me with wonder makes me feel like a child again,” says Chef Milda.
What do you hope to bring to Future Found Sanctuary?
I’m really looking forward to developing the food philosophy further here. One of my first tasks will be to take the property’s signature fragrances – Arise, Realign, Reflect and Rest – and incorporate these scents, flavours, and the intentions that they invoke, into Future Found Sanctuary’s menu to create more curated sensory experiences for guests at different times of the day,” says Chef Milda.
As a self-taught chef I’m passionate about training staff and giving chances to young people that haven’t had the opportunity to go to chef school. I also believe that it is very important to change the way staff are treated in the kitchens in South Africa and to instill an atmosphere of culture and respect. Many talented people leave our industry due to the terrible working conditions that they are subjected to and I feel strongly that disrespect isn’t something that kitchen staff should be conditioned to expect,” she concludes.
About Newmark Hotels and Reserves
Newmark Hotels & Reserves lives by the promise of “Experience authentic”. It creates memorable and unique experiences for guests – authentic to the location, environs, and people of each of its properties. From gracious boutique luxury hotels, vibrant city hotels, inspiring safari lodges run according to sound conservation principles, to blissful island getaways – Newmark is a curator of occasions that excite, serve, sooth and take care of its guests. Occasions that are complemented by sensorial cuisine directed by Newmark’s Group Head Chef and enhanced by the Group Sommelier’s selected wine choices.
Established in 2007, Newmark Hotels & Reserves has its roots in Cape Town, and continues to expand throughout Africa. The hospitality management company’s South African footprint includes Cape Town’s iconic V&A Waterfront, the magnificent Cape Winelands, the open skies of the Karoo, the green hills of the UNESCO Waterberg Biosphere and the vast Kruger National Park where lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino, and leopard roam free. Further afield Newmark’s guests can experience West African golf experiences, the majesty of the Great Migration, and the opulence of Mauritian and Zanzibar beach resorts.