The Peech Boutique Hotel: Head Chef Kendal Revolta on Crafting Culinary Excellence

Discover the culinary journey of Kendal Revolta, Head Chef at The Peech Boutique Hotel, as she shares insights into menu planning, staying abreast of culinary trends, and infusing her love for Asian cuisine into the hotel’s offerings. Explore her short-term goals for team cohesion and long-term aspirations of establishing the hotel as a culinary haven in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Interview with Kendal Revolta, Head Chef at The Peech Boutique Hotel

Could you share some insights into your culinary background and how it has prepared you for your role as Head Chef?

After completing my schooling, I enrolled in a culinary program in South Africa, where I earned my diploma in culinary and pastry arts. This laid the foundation for my culinary journey, teaching me the fundamentals of cooking and pastry-making. I then gained practical experience in commercial kitchens, notably at La Colombe in Constantia Cape Town, where fine dining became my passion. Working there taught me about discipline, preparation, and the importance of hard work in the kitchen.

Seeking new challenges, I ventured overseas and landed a private chef position for a Dutch family, where I assumed various roles including chef, driver, and accountant. This experience exposed me to a world of luxury ingredients and refined dining, as the family owned multiple properties across Europe. I honed my skills in fine dining, preparing elaborate meals for their social gatherings.

Upon returning to Zimbabwe, I was offered the position of executive chef at the Peech Boutique Hotel. Despite the challenges, I saw potential in the establishment and accepted the role. My initial days were very challenging, especially during events like Valentine’s dinner, but it provided me with a clear picture of the kitchen’s needs.

Embracing the challenge, I accepted the role. I viewed it as an opportunity for growth and learning, invaluable for any future entrepreneurial endeavors.

In essence, my diverse culinary background, coupled with my passion for progression and challenge, has equipped me to lead the kitchen team effectively and elevate the dining experience at the Peech Boutique Hotel.

Considering your success thus far, do you envision the possibility of opening a fine dining restaurant now that the Peech Boutique Hotel has found its Head Chef?

That is certainly the vision we have. I believe we have the potential to become a successful breakfast and lunch destination in the near future. However, I am currently hesitant to pursue opening a restaurant at this moment. It’s not that our guests are not welcome; rather, while our kitchen staff has gained valuable experience on the job, we are focusing on providing additional training to ensure they have a comprehensive understanding of culinary fundamentals and the standards expected in top restaurants.

Since joining the team, I have been working closely with our staff to establish a solid foundation. I have introduced basic systems like prep containers, labeling, and stock monitoring, which are crucial for kitchen efficiency. We are also emphasizing forward planning, especially in terms of ingredient sourcing and cost management. It is essential that everyone understands the importance of cleanliness, food safety, and allergy awareness in the kitchen.

I want to emphasize that each member of the team has their strengths. However, I believe there is always room for growth, and I am pleased to see progress already. With continued dedication and ongoing training initiatives, I am confident that we can excel in the future.

How do you stay updated on culinary trends, and how do you incorporate them into menu planning? Is this something you prioritize, or do you have your own recipes that you apply?

When I first arrived here, the menu was quite extensive, with around 100 different options, primarily due to the various conference events we host. These options were primarily tailored to conferencing needs, as the establishment is not primarily a restaurant; therefore, the breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus were quite limited at that time. To stay current with culinary trends, I follow blog posts online, particularly on websites like Additionally, I spend time in the evenings on Instagram and TikTok watching videos from chefs showcasing their creations. These sources inspire me, and I find that translating these ideas into our kitchen is not as challenging as it may seem, especially when we have all the necessary ingredients and equipment at our disposal.

I have since revamped all the menus to ensure consistency across breakfast, lunch, and dinner, using similar ingredients whenever possible. This approach allows us to efficiently utilize leftovers for stocks and sauces. Although our hotel maintains a five-star appearance, my focus is on delivering delicious, filling, and aesthetically pleasing food rather than fine dining. The menu revisions involved careful consideration of ingredients, costs, and presentation to achieve these goals. While our current menu is straightforward, the aim is continuous improvement. Once we establish consistency, we can explore elevating our offerings to the next level and tapping into the team’s full potential.

Do you have a culinary specialty or a signature dish that excites the taste buds?

I am particularly drawn to Asian cuisine. I have a passion for making delicious ramen, which I often enjoy at home. With the stock prepped in advance, it is a quick and satisfying dish. I am eager to introduce Asian-inspired specials at the Peech Boutique Hotel, especially during events or buffets.

What are your short-term and long-term aspirations as a Head Chef? What is your vision for the future?

Currently, given my brief time here, I have already witnessed significant progress within just one month. So my short-term goals involve maintaining our positive momentum. I aim for cohesion among kitchen staff, ensuring everyone works well together, adheres to protocols happily, and finds joy in their roles. As for the long term, I envision opening our doors to the public and establishing a strong culinary reputation, particularly in Harare. The city has a tendency for new restaurants to initially thrive but later decline. I see this as an opportunity to defy that trend, gradually building our reputation from relative obscurity to becoming a go-to destination known for exceptional food.

What about the existing events at the moment? I mean, I think you organize a lot of events. Can you give us some examples? How do you stand out, maybe from other hotels or restaurants, especially in terms of food and beverage?

Since I have been here, we have not hosted many events yet. However, with the ones we have had in the past month, our approach is to be highly attuned to the purpose and celebration behind each event. We strive to go the extra mile, especially for guests with food intolerances or those who have ordered a specific dish multiple times. We ensure it is prepared extra special. It is about anticipating needs and surprising guests with thoughtful gestures. While it is challenging to articulate, it is these small touches that guests remember. For instance, a couple staying with us for their honeymoon found a personalized food platter and congratulatory cards in their room upon arrival for their first anniversary, a thoughtful touch that makes a lasting impression. It is about cherishing our guests beyond just business and transactions.

Can you give us some examples of menus or dishes that you prepare for events or at the Peech Boutique Hotel? What are your plans regarding the types of dishes or themes you would like to introduce?

For our lunch offerings, especially during the summer, we are featuring a lot of open sourdough sandwiches. One of our signature dishes is “The Peech,” which combines Mr. Peech’s favorite ingredients: Parma ham, Cameron Bay, honey-griddled pear, wild rocket, Labneh, and a balsamic glaze, all on a beautiful sourdough open sandwich. It is served with a side of your choice. We also offer a variety of options such as roast beef with tomato and cranberry chutney, Labneh, pickled onions, and salad greens, as well as Korean chicken, panko-crumbed and dressed in a sticky Korean sauce, served on cucumber crab sour cream slaw with kimchi and pickled onions. Our menu aims for delicious and consistent food, keeping it accessible for all palates. We also have vegetarian options like the Mediterranean, featuring grilled haloumi, roasted vegetables, avocado, and basil pesto on an open sourdough toasty. Another vegetarian option is beetroot hummus, avocado, feta, and pickled red onions, with optional smoked salmon. For those looking for something lighter, we offer starters like pulled pork or beef with avocado crema, tomato, and sweet corn salsa, as well as a simple satay chicken salad with pulled chicken, Asian slaw, pickled red onion, and toasted peanuts. We strive to offer a wide variety of dishes to cater to everyone’s preferences.

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