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  • Writer's pictureInge BB

Exploring Matlai's Kitchen Department

Prepare to awaken your taste buds and embark on a voyage of flavors at Boutique Hotel Matlai. Our Kitchen Department is where the magic happens, and we’re thrilled to introduce you to the talented individuals behind the scenes. What sets us apart is not just our dedication to exquisite cuisine but our commitment to weaving together global culinary influences with the rich tapestry of Zanzibari traditions.

Our kitchen boasts an array of delectable options, whether you’re enticed by our daily changing 3-course menu, our carefully curated specialties, or our extensive selection of dishes available for lunch or dinner. It’s a journey that spans continents and cultures, offering an experience that’s as diverse as it is delightful. And for our vegetarian guests, we’ve prepared a special menu that’s sure to delight.

Head Chef Saleh took his first step into Matlai on February 29, 2012, when the hotel first opened. Though born on Pemba Island, he grew up on Ugunja Island, where traditions of dancing and Taryn songs shaped his upbringing. Chef Saleh’s journey into the kitchen started with training at Serena Hotel Zanzibar. As the head chef, he finds the kitchen’s most challenging aspect to be the need for extensive knowledge of various dishes and efficient department organisation. His expertise lies in the hot kitchen and pastry department, where he enjoys crafting a wide range of delectable dishes and transforming creative ideas into culinary delights.

Chef Ibrahim
has been a part of Boutique Hotel Matlai since 2013. Born and raised in Zanzibar, he cherishes the tradition of Mwaka Kogwa, a celebrated Swahili festival. Chef Ibrah’s culinary journey included two years at Maruhubi College and field study at Living Stone Restaurant. The kitchen’s most challenging aspect, according to him, is mastering the details, having extensive food knowledge, and being creative to exceed guest expectations. He relishes working in Matlai’s kitchen, particularly the hot kitchen, where his experience thrives.

Chef Herson
has been a part of the Boutique Hotel Matlai since 2018. Hailing from Tanzania mainland, specifically Kaminufa village in the Simbo district of the Kathari region, he brings with him the rich traditions of his homeland.
His journey into the kitchen began with his enrollment at the Machui Community College in 2012, where he studied hotel management in the kitchen department. This educational pursuit continued until 2013, setting the foundation for his culinary career.
One of the most demanding aspects of his role is the need for extensive knowledge across various culinary domains. Chef Herson excels in crafting pastries and working in the hot kitchen. He also really appreciates the environment at Matlai, were he is able to try always new things and work with a great team.

Breakfast Chef Zuhura
who joined Boutique Hotel Matlai in February 2021, began as a trainee, and after six months, she became our dedicated Breakfast Chef. Hailing from Jusha Rejima village, her background involves mining activities, which adds a unique touch to her culinary skills. Zuhura pursued a 3-month course at Awana Vijano Centre college before joining our kitchen department. The most challenging aspect for her is to continually create new dishes and combinations while ensuring her cooking knowledge is top-notch. She excels in the hot kitchen and pastry department and loves working with the team, crafting delightful dishes for our guests.

Junior Chef Yussuph
joined Boutique Hotel Matlai in October 2022 as a trainee and completed his 6-month training. He’s now our Junior Chef, bringing a blend of tradition from Mwanza Regim village, known for fishing and cattle keeping. Yussuph’s culinary journey started at Bitech College in Mwanza, Tanzania, and furthered with field study in Zanzibar. For him, the most challenging aspect of being a chef is maintaining unwavering focus and paying attention to the smallest details. His heart lies in the hot kitchen, where he enjoys crafting exquisite dishes that delight our guests.

As you explore the culinary world within Boutique Hotel Matlai, you’ll discover the passion and artistry that our chefs bring to each plate. Our daily 3-course menu, à la carte options, and the fusion of international and local flavours are a testament to our dedication to making every meal memorable. In our kitchen, we celebrate the vibrant, the diverse, and the delicious.

Join us in savouring the essence of Sansibar kitchens, where tradition and innovation come together in every dish. At Boutique Hotel Matlai, we’re not just cooking; we’re crafting experiences, one exquisite meal at a time. Your culinary adventure begins here.

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