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Wild Coast Sun gets a foodie refresh with new chef / Georgina Hill, Executive Chef for the resort

Upon meeting Wild Coast Sun’s Executive Chef, Georgina Hill, one immediately gets the impression that she rules her kitchen brigade with a firm hand while inviting a sense of collaboration.

“You can’t achieve anything alone – I need my team beside me,” she says of the five senior chefs and 30 commis chefs with whom she manages five outlets at the resort – Chico’s, Calypso, Country Club, Salon Privé and banqueting.

She started at Wild Coast Sun last year, after more than 10 years as Executive Chef at fellow Sun International property, Golden Valley, in Worcester.

“I did 20,000 steps on my first day at Wild Coast Sun – this property is just huge, but it is absolutely beautiful. If you’re stressed you step outside and take in the ocean. It’s a different world,” Hill enthused about her work location on the border of the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.

The 43-year-old chef has had a love of food since she first drove along gravel roads on her quad bike at 4am, aged 15, to her weekend job at a Polokwane hotel. “I had expensive taste so my parents told me to get a job. I started working in the kitchen and soon realised how much fun it was. I never saw myself working in an office.”

After school, Hill accepted an offer to work in hospitality on the Isle of Man and later completed a diploma in gourmet cooking and catering while working at a pub. She and husband Jackie relocated back to South Africa after the birth of their first child. “Jackie was working in hospitality but he switched to real estate which gives him more time at home with our three kids while I work late nights and weekends.”

A practising vegetarian, Hill is fully on-board with vegan and gluten-free dietary requirements, although she says she has tried all types of meat and is perfectly comfortable cooking everything from a slow braised lamb shank to a mutton curry. “It is challenging to cook with ingredients you don’t eat, because how can you cook it if you don’t know what it’s supposed to taste like – so I try everything at least once.”

Diners can expect to see more vegetarian, gluten-free and vegan dishes popping up on the resort’s buffet and menus – although Wild Coast Sun is frequented by many regulars who also love their curries and meat. “We have been refining the menus slowly and changing things up. Many of the chefs have been here a long time so I am focused on upskilling the team. We try to use what is locally produced so that ingredients don’t have to be brought in from Johannesburg.”

Golfers have been enjoying a refresh at the Country Club, with the introduction of salads for lighter fare, a mutton burger and solid meals like Gatsby’s and bunny chows to cure hunger pangs after 18-holes of golf. “Bacon and egg rolls remain a popular staple, so these have been kept but we improved the plating – because we eat with our eyes first.”

The Wild Coast Sun is a popular conferencing destination, and Hill is looking forward to growing the venue into a destination wedding venue par excellence. “You cannot find a more stunning location to take your wedding photos than the natural beauty of Wild Coast Sun,” she said.

If she’s cooking for her family, Hill makes a crock pot lasagne, and for guests, vegan French toast which she says “tastes amazing and you don’t even realise contains no eggs”. Airfryer enthusiasts will be relieved to hear that one of her favourite kitchen gadgets at home is this ubiquitous machine, and at work, she values proper knives.

“As a chef you are never too old to learn – so keep trying new things – sometimes they flop but almost everything can be rescued. Make sure you have fun cooking because you can taste the love in the food.”


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