Mombo’s latest culinary triumph; a fine dining feast conceptualized and created by our very own ‘Tom & Jerry’

At the heart of Wilderness Mombo, two visionary individuals, fondly referred to as the dynamic Tom & Jerry duo, have created a new culinary experience that promises to keep all foodies and wine aficionados smiling.

Tonderai “Tonde” Chipfupi (rarely spotted without his Timberland boots as choice kitchen attire), the culinary virtuoso, and Alfred Muswaka, our seasoned sommelier, are a power team whose endless banter and shared passion have helped spark a new gastronomic adventure within the camp’s serene setting.

Their infectious camaraderie and unwavering dedication to their crafts have led to the fashioning of a brand-new dining experience that pairs showstopper dishes with carefully curated wines – further elevating the camp’s food offering, and yet another feather in Mombo’s cap.

Alfred found his way into the world of wine while he was first starting out in hospitality in the high-end restaurants of Cape Town. Having not grown up with wine as a part of his family gatherings, he admits he still feels a thrill today when executing an experience guests will never forget.

“I love sharing the story behind each dish, the story behind the pairing, the arguments I had with the chef when we created the pairing, and how we tweaked everything to create a harmonious pairing. I do all of this and watch with such pleasure as the guests enjoy the Morogo Salad, for example. One of our tried and tested dishes, it gives me goosebumps, and I have played with various wine pairings for this dish. Morogo is a leafy vegetable we grew up eating and it still forms a great part of our local diet. Chef has turned it into salad with a Madila (sour milk and curd) dressing, grapes of course, and an enticing sherry gastrique. It is a truly winning summer dish, though it works even in winter. I have paired this with a Muscat Late Harvest that was clean, fresh, light on the palate and not overly sweet, but just enough residual sugar to cut through the bitterness of the leafy vegetable – and I felt like a champion!”

Guests will enjoy an evolving menu that draws inspiration from what’s fresh and delicious, continually shaped by the seasons. So, if you’re feeling famished and ready to hot-foot it to the Delta already, just wait until you get the full picture… the culinary adventure is either a 7-, 8- or 9-course meal where the red carpet really is rolled out.

The preparation usually takes the twosome and their respective teams a full day of planning and much back and forth to ensure each pairing sings to perfection. Alfred jokes that Chef Tonde can get a little “hot under the collar” when he suggests changing out a sauce or removing an element after it has been reducing for countless hours. But as he aptly notes, “One cannot really change what’s in the bottle; however, we can change what’s on the plate”. And we have a sneaky feeling this is a favourite saying of his, despite the rise it may get from his Tom, or Jerry, counterpart (we still can’t figure out who is who between the two)…

When asked, Tonde makes sure to note that the dish creation comes first, before Alfred can work his magic and find just the right fit for an accompanying wine. He laughingly shares that this is not always a smooth process, with each having their chance to lead and compromise… but despite the funny antics and idle threats of being chased out the kitchen, all ends well with shared high-fives and hugs between the two, signifying that the perfect recipe has been achieved, and showcasing just how fitting their cartoon code names are.

Having both worked in 5-star establishments previously, where pairing menus were commonplace, they wanted to elevate the offering into something they were able to put their collective stamp on. At Mombo, a new recipe trumps all. This is wilderness “theatre” at its finest – where nature’s soundtrack complements impeccable hosting, and these two add their signature fun to the gourmet gold and candlelit glow of an unforgettable evening spent dining under the stars.