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No glass slippers or frogs, just pots and a water monitor for Princess!

Princess, the Khaya Ndlovu Manor House sous-chef certainly knows how to keep mouths watering and tummies full! However, it was not always this way for the darling of the Khaya kitchen, and we owe a big thanks to an innocent water monitor for Princess’s role at Khaya Ndlovu Manor House.

Princess started her working life started out with a menial bush-clearing job in the Nelspruit area. She recalls a humorous, but at the time frightening incident, that quickly jolted her into finding different work.

An African water monitor, it's no wonder Princess mistook it for a crocodile!

The bush-clearing team was working deep in a thick and over-grown scrub-thorn forest, and Princess needed to relieve herself. She ambled along a game path, closer to the river to escape the eyes of her co-workers. “Just as I squatted down to wee,” giggles Princess, “a water monitor came ambling out of a thicket next to me.” She recalls that at first, she thought that it was a crocodile and let out a blood-curdling scream, falling on her bum! Removing the paper-thorns from her rear-end that evening, Princess decided in no uncertain terms that the time had come in to find alternative employment.

Jobs were not easy to find however and with no qualifications to speak of, Princess started at Khaya Ndlovu scrubbing pots and washing dishes in the scullery. She had always dreamed of learning to cook and as the scullery was adjacent to the kitchen, she was able to peep around the corner and keep a watchful and secretive eye on the chef of the day.

Not long after her first day of work at Khaya, she asked if she could try her hand at cooking a staff meal, and the rest is now history for this self-trained princess of the Khaya Ndlovu kitchen. “But it was not all plain sailing” chuckles Princess. With no formal chef training, she had to work her way around all the different kitchen products “and in the early days, the yoghurt-like tubs of Pine Gel could quite easily land up in the cold room, whilst the white wine could be safely found in the cleaning cupboard!”

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