I was delighted to hear this week that one of my sons Jan (above) has joined a relatively new organization called Housebites. As a chef it will allow him to work from home but still do the job he loves, cooking delicious food, by way of preparing upmarket, economical take aways in his part of London. People tend to underestimate the strain and stress the demanding hours of the hospitality and catering businesses can generate, and believe me I’m speaking from over 40 years experience! Working from home will suit Jan down to the ground and to me the concept is brilliant and a surefire hit! Here’s Housebites’ marketing blurb:

“The takeaway. The busy Brit’s staple meal. Quick, convenient, ready when you want it … and, let’s be honest, too often underwhelming. Imagine if you could have the ease of the takeaway, but with the quality of a restaurant meal, delivered to your door. Imagine it all being prepared by experienced local cooks (all taste-tested beforehand). Housebites makes all this possible.

We’ve turned the power over to you and the chef. Now you can engage directly with the person who cooks your food and see or provide feedback. And you make our menu by choosing meals you like and telling other people about great chefs you’ve tried. (After all, you are the best food critic in town).

Our chefs love local, love cooking, and love hearing from you. It’s simple, economical, and local. It’s re-inventing takeaway.”

And here’s about Jan-Martyn
“Hello, I love cooking to restaurant standard, but I also love being at home. Housebites has helped me combine the two and live a happy Chef life. What do you get out of this deal? Well, you get healthy, home cooked food delivered to your door. This is what I’m bringing to the table: your table in fact.

I’ve been taught by Jamie Oliver, Ben O’Donoghue and Arthur Potts. Not to mention my wife, family and friends. I have been cooking professionally since 2001, from high end restaurants to gastro pubs. I have catered for parties, weddings and outside events.

I’m a fan of fresh seasonal food. I’m an avid gardener and apart from that my contacts as a chef have led me to some great suppliers. I feel I have a great deal to offer my discerning local take-awayista.”

We wish Jan the best of luck in his new venture.


Camilla Nereid & Gunnar Bendheim on ‘The Experience’

For the third time in recent weeks we were delighted to welcome Norwegian guests on to The Chanters Lodge Experience with The Milli Jam Ingredient featuring George da Soulchild Kaufela – that’s our weekly radio show airing every Sunday night live between 20.30 and 21.30 hours on Zambezi 107.7 fm, Livingstone’s leading local radio station. The show is a great mixture of music and chat and is also usually available streaming live on the internet.

Camilla Nereid and Gunnar Bendheim (above) had been staying at Chanters Lodge in Livingstone for part of their visit to Zambia, although they explained to listeners that they’d also spent some time in Mongu in Western Province. The reason for their trip to Zambia? Well they are both staff of Trondheim University College – Camilla is the Dean of the College of Teachers and Gunnar is Leader of Student Administration. For both it was their first visit to Zambia and they said they were loving it! They had come to check on the progress of their eight student teachers in Livingstone and eight in Mongu and they were happy to report that their students were doing very well. Their visit to Mongu had involved 35 hours on the road out of a 72 hour trip!
The music on the show was good, although there were some technical problems on this edition. We opened with two latest smash hits – Katy Perry’s ‘Part Of Me’ which had charted in the US at number one that very week – quite unusual! We coupled that smash with Nicki Minaj’s ‘Starships’ the first release from her upcoming new album. George dropped Exile’s ‘Auwe’ which Milli Jam told us is currently hot in the Zambian clubs – he should know as he’s also entertainment manager at New Fairmount Hotel in Livingstone, apart from being a regular presenter on 107.7 fm. Milli Jam chose Ace Hood’s ‘Body to Body’ together with ‘Love You No More’ from Diddy featuring Drake. Our oldie of the week was ‘I Will Always Love You’ by Dolly Parton and my pick of the week was Chris Brown featuring Rihanna with ‘Turn Up The Music’. We closed with Usher’s soulful ‘Climax’.
Camilla and Gunnar told listeners about their safari to Chobe in Botswana that day and amongst other species Camilla had been fascinated by the African Jacana bird – it is a polyandrous species, which means that one female mates with multiple males and the male alone cares for the chicks. Gunnar explained that he came from the far north of Norway – one of the coldest parts – where temperatures could drop to as low as -40C! We shivered! Camilla related that she had recently sat for a Phd in Turkish History to add to her other academic achievements.
Camilla told listeners she was married with 3 children, Gunnar that he was not married but had 6 nieces and nephews whom he regarded as ‘his kids’! This entertaining duo raved about the chicken piri-piri served at Chanters Lodge as well as the quality and friendliness of the staff, and revealed that they had even eaten crocodile meat while they were in Mongu! Asked if they had a favourite football team, they leaned towards each other, shared a microphone and yelled ‘Chipolopolo!’ simultaneously, much to the amusement of the assembled company!

In closing we expressed our gratitude to the Norwegians for their continued outstanding support of Chanters Lodge.


Life Is Vitumbuwa!

George da Soulchild Kaufela, co-presenter of our popular Sunday night radio show ‘The Experience’ on Zambezi 107.7 fm, reports on a latest smash hit in Zambia which we featured on last Sunday’s show.

“Every once in a while a new song comes on the Zambian music scene and breaks records. Alubusu did it with “Bwela Panyumba”, Jimmy did it with “Over Over” and now 2wo-1ne wants a piece of that hit song action with their new smash hit “Vitumbuwa”. Within a week of release the song garnered over 10,000 YouTube hits, shot straight to number one on Hot 87.7 FM and has sparked a twitter ‘Vitumbuwa’ trend, with 800 tweets so far. Oh! And so far the song’s been downloaded over 7000 times!

With punchlines like “lelo tamunzila vitumbuwa, pa Friday ni test ya vitumbuwa, so apa nasoma vitumbuwa, ma extra lesson ya vitumbuwa, I swear to tell the whole truth, nothing but the truth about vitumbuwa” you’re bound to find yourself singing along and better yet, pressing that repeat button while you enjoy your tea with vitumbuwa!

2wo-1ne is a group of young artists who got started way back in the early ’05- ’06 era. Recognizing a shared vision to make quality jams for a society that really needed it, 2wo-1ne was cast out of iron tough bars, solid music and an insatiable desire to dominate the air waves.

Daniel Lyapa Fumbeshi Sikazwe, one half of the 2wo-1ne rap group, rap name K-Star aka ‘The Hidden Playa’ aka ‘Da Rhymaniac’ was born in Lusaka and raised on the Copperbelt. He grew a passion for hip-hop in 2001 and seriously began rapping at the end of 2005 when he contested at ‘The Hip-Hop Burnout’ held at The Cage (now Hollywood City). He came out in the top three and got signed to Xpozd, under which a group ‘Xpozd Natives’ was formed with co-rappers Camstar & The Dyplomat but the group split up in late 2007.

Daniel joined 2wo-1ne with original members Buttah, Thug Chuld & Nova Caine at the end of 2008. They recorded a mixtape called ‘Berg City On Lock’ with Krytic and Young Thuga who were part of the project. The project also featured a number of other rappers that included Zone-Fam, Camstar and Street Bangers. 2wo-1ne started working with Superman who formed the label SO’ GOOD ENT in early 2010. This is also the team that started the Cypher 260 in Lusaka at the end of 2009. K-star is also signed to SO GOOD ENT and has worked on numerous projects including the latest 2wo-1ne project featuring the song ‘Vitumbuwa’.

Vitumbuwa is now the number one song on Hot 877’s top 10 and is also one of the most played songs on JoyFM as well as Q-fm. The song is a funny creative one that circles around a common local delicacy known as vitumbuwa (fritters – see above). On the song the rappers divert everything in one’s life to vitumbuwa.”

Now you know – vitumbuwa!


Imagine Rural Development Initiative

I found this wonderful project through Steven Putter @stevenputter on Twitter.

Imagine Rural Development Initiative (IRDI), a Zambian registered non-profit organisation, is providing skills-training in moringa cultivation to 30 previously unemployed local Zambian women. This skills-training program forms part of IRDI’s Moringa project, which aims to empower local Zambians through the sustainable production of moringa, an affordable and highly-nourishing superfood, to fight malnutrition, improve health and eradicate poverty. Imagine Rural Development Initiative is providing this skills-training program free of charge to these local women, many of whom are widows and are sole breadwinners in their families and who take care of not only their own children, but also grand-children and orphans who have lost their own parents due to HIV/AIDS and other illnesses.

The 6-month training program covers moringa propagation, planting, crop management, harvesting and processing techniques. It also includes training on making aerobic compost and using moringa-based organic fertilizer to alleviate the need for petroleum-based fertilizers and harmful pesticides.

After successful completion of the training program, these local women will be contracted by IRDI to propagate and plant moringa in rural and peri-urban communities across Zambia. The women will also train local community members in moringa cultivation, creating further empowerment through skills transfer. The women will also have the opportunity to provide their services to other local agricultural co-operatives and independent local farmers.

IRDI aims to create sustainable income-generating opportunities for program beneficiaries, and this skills-training program will empower these local women to provide a secure future for themselves and their families. By completing this program, the women will be able to support themselves financially within the next 6 months. Although our local women’s group want to improve their livelihoods by learning new skills, the reality is that they still need to put food on their tables, provide shelter for their families, pay for transport and send their children to school.

100% of donations to this appeal will go directly to these women to assist with living costs for themselves and their dependents, including food, transport and school fees. A donation of $25.00 will cover a week’s living expenses for one woman engaged full-time on our skills-training program. Our goal is to help raise $3000.00 a month for 6 months to provide financial support for the 30 women in the group for the full duration of their training.

While IRDI provides skills-training to empower these women, you can give them the peace of mind of having their basic living costs covered while they are in training. We will provide regular updates, feedback and photo’s on IndieGoGo, from the women who receive your donations.


Chiawa Fish Farm

I liked this from Victoria Phiri from Times of Zambia reproduced in All Africa earlier this month and agree completely with the comment at the end that it is ridiculous for a country like Zambia to be importing poor quality tasteless fish from China, when we have such a wealth of natural resources ourselves.
“Chiawa is a relatively small area in southern Zambia known for its hot weather conditions that have made large scale agricultural activities by inhabitants of the area fail. Worse still, those who have dared the weather by trying to cultivate, usually end up with downcast faces as wild elephants would not wait for them to harvest their yield.

But all is not lost in the farming sector as there is one component of farming that has made a positive impact in the lives of these people – fish farming. This new phenomenon was introduced to the area by Cherri and Richard Walson who also own hospitality businesses in the area. The couple, touched by the conditions under which the locals live, solicited the goodwill of its clientele abroad to fund an income generating activity, thus giving birth to the Bream Fish Farming project.

Together with the local community Cherri and Richard formed the ‘wealth for ambition’ project which is the umbrella body of all the income generating activities including the Bream Fish Farming project. The community formed its own co-operative of 19 families, and identified the land for the project. They then worked tirelessly to clear much of the land manually.

Cherri and Richard implemented the first phase of the fish farm by raising sufficient funds for excavation, completing the design, clearing the area of tree stumps and locating suitable basic pumps for the water. The pumps bring the water 300 metres from the river to the fish ponds and up to a nine metre head. Each of the six ponds has natural water pumped into it three times per month from the Kafue River.

The project is 100 per cent environmentally compatible as no run off from the ponds can reach the river, but rather is used to water crops. When the water is let out, it can be used to irrigate fields below for those who want to have gardens and grow millet, which is good for human consumption but can also be used as organic fish food. The first harvest of 6,000 fish is now underway and expansion is planned.

Speaking during the first fish harvest, project-coordinator Stanley Chinhoi said the project was an example of how the rural population could contribute to national development through the production of fish. He said most of the fish consumed in Zambia at the moment is imported from China, stating that if such projects received adequate support, importing fish from far off places like China would be a thing of the past. “Fish is a lucrative business which if adequately funded, we can produce much more and even export,” Mr Chinhoi said.

And Kambale Ward councillor Charles Mandika said the fish farm had proved to be an effective income generating activity because of the poor rainfall pattern in the area that prevented the cultivation of crops. Mr Mandika said though there was a lot of skepticism in the initial stages of the project success had proved that with hard work and dedication, anything is possible.

With a second farm under consideration, the people of Chiawa are poised to be major suppliers of fish in the surrounding areas, but this can only be achieved if the Government and other cooperating partners provide the necessary conditions for such a project to thrive.”


Hotel Trends

Here’s some future hotel trends for you to ponder from the USA via:

It all left me rather bemused. The photo?  Le Meridien, Picadilly, London – the first hotel in which I ever worked, a long time ago. It was simply Picadilly Hotel in those days and I was a commis chef!

Increasing fees:
Your hotel bill may include some unpleasant surprises. Not just the usual $20-a-day resort and amenity fee, which you pay whether or not you use the tennis courts and pool complex, but how about a required $12 housekeeping surcharge or a fee for storing your luggage in the lobby? Total fees and surcharges collected by U.S. hotels are increasing from $1.7 billion in 2010 to a record $1.8 billion in 2011, according to new research from Bjorn Hanson, dean of New York University’s Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality and Sports Management
Lobbies as social hubs:
Colorful seating, free Internet service and trendy cocktail and coffee bars are helping to turn once-sterile hotel lobbies into social hubs. Hanson says while baby boomers might see the lobby as a place to meet at 6 p.m. sharp before heading to a prearranged restaurant location, younger travelers may prefer to gather more informally in the lobby, hang out for a while, socialize and take their time choosing where they’ll spend the evening. They might check email, go online using a cell phone or iPad to look for dining recommendations, or try whatever snacks or drinks are readily available from the lobby market or bar.
Disappearing tubs:
Unless you’re booking a suite, your next stay in a hotel room may not offer the luxury of a bath. Many newly built hotels are offering showers only. Marriott, for example, is “advising our newly built hotels to put showers in 75 percent of the rooms and bathtubs in 25 percent of the rooms,” according to Marriott spokeswoman Laurie Goldstein. “Our research shows that business travelers prefer showers to baths but families like the flexibility of a bathtub as well as a shower.”

Pump dispensers:
The advent of pump dispensers in hotel bathrooms is good and bad news for those guests obsessed with the tiny bottles of shampoo and individually wrapped soaps that have been a beloved amenity for decades.
The good news: If you need more shampoo than what may be as little as a half-ounce in those small plastic containers, you can pump as much as you want from the dispenser. You can also feel greener if you use the pump. No more adding plastic throwaways to the waste stream.
The bad news: What if you simply love those little bottles? The hand lotion is the perfect size to slip in your purse; and if you have leftover shampoo, the container is small enough to get through airport security. Or what if you find the pump dispensers unappealing?

Checking in electronically:
Who needs to wait in line at the front desk to check in? Some of Starwood’s Aloft hotels are offering “Smart Check-In” to Starwood Preferred Guest program members. Members are sent a keycard with radio-frequency identification technology, and on the day of a planned stay, a text message is sent to the guest’s mobile device with a room number. Upon arrival, the guest proceeds to that room, and the keycard will open the door.

Locavore options:
The locavore and hyperlocal trend that has taken over the food world is fast becoming de rigueur in the hotel industry, particularly at high-end and boutique properties where chefs are growing their own herbs and even hosting their own beehives. The W in San Francisco in September had a local beekeeper, Jack Ip, install hives on a rooftop with a goal of eventually producing honey for use in the hotel menu. In New York City, the Andaz Wall Street hotel in Lower Manhattan sponsors a farmers market May through November in an arcade next to the hotel where produce, bread and other goods are sold by farmers and other vendors. The Andaz also sells fresh-squeezed juices and sandwiches in the market, and customers include hotel guests and neighborhood residents.

Guest Review – August 2011

We don’t usually reproduce guest reviews on the blog, after all they’re on our site for all to see. Sometimes, when they’re stunning like this one, it’s irresistable!

“I stayed here for four nights with my 12 year old son on holiday ‘between’ Joburg and Cape Town. The airport pickup and dropoff, as well as the lift to the Falls, was very welcome. We came to Zambia to have some fun – and we did. Richard, the owner, organised for us at our request, in advance, activities such as quad biking and power boating. When plans for these had to change at short notice, he did that for us, saving us hassle. The activities were great. We would have benefited from being told exactly how wet we would get on the power boating (be warned if you do it – absolutely totally drenched) so we could have known to take more suitable clothes. We loved it nevertheless!

The accommodation itself was comfortable and well looked after. It is not ‘posh’ but it does well. The wifi mainly worked well and was good value. The food was excellent – really tasty, well presented, loads of choice and fairly priced. It’s easy to eat there on successive occasions. I really enjoyed the pork chops. Breakfasts were included and very good. It was nice to eat indoors or alfresco overlooking the pleasant garden – which is small but very pretty with a wide variety of interesting plants. There are good places to sit and relax. The bar is pleasant and comnfortable with a good range of drinks and good service. When we wanted an early lunch, just some simple sandwiches – no problem, made exactly to our spec.

I also liked the lodge’s location. It is quite central to the town, totally secure, and well connected. It is in a ‘real’ area with locals around living their lives. There were some dogs barking nearby which was slightly annoying but no big problem.

This is a nice place with character and where our needs were taken good care of. It is not ‘posh’ but it is very comfortable. There are lovely warm showers, for example, and quick attentive service from Richard and his team. Definitely a very good place to stay.

Stayed August 2011, traveled with family”


Sakala Brothers Arts Centre

We lament the recent closure of The Arts Cafe in Livingstone, following so closely on Jane Osborne’s Ngoma Zanga Zambian Restaurant shutting down. There’s now no traditional food and dancing experience for tourists in Livingstone – surely a business opportunity for someone! Good to see then that the Sakala Brothers (above) are deeply involved in Lusaka. They’ve entertained so many people over the years.

THE Sakala Brothers recently hosted the French Ambassador and delegates from Alliance Francaise for the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Sakala Brothers Arts Centre and Ambassador 0livier Richard at Lusaka Playhouse. The centre has since last year been training students in music disciplines such as guitar, piano, voice training, violin and traditional drums.

“We have several classes for various disciplines” said Moses Sakala. “For example, we have students doing guitar lessons, some learning how to play traditional drums, while others are in the dance class and voice training class. Last year we registered about 100 people from different parts of Lusaka but the number has since reduced,” he said. He said the centre has employed qualified tutors to train students in the different disciplines.

Sakala has urged musicians in the country to take up such classes if they are to gain a wider knowledge and understanding of their craft, adding that the programme is open to the public hence anyone interested should enroll. “I think it‘s very important for a musician to understand musical instruments, because in these times of piracy one cannot rely on CD sales but live performances,” he stressed.

He also disclosed that currently the duo is recording an album set to be released this year and that albums artistes for Indy K, Theresa and Alex will be produced under the Sakala Brothers Centre. The centre, established in 2009 by Moses and Levy Sakala, was set up to preserve and promote Zambian music and enrich professional musicianship in the country.

The duo, whose vision is to build a music school in Zambia, has called on the government to value the arts and consider establishing a ministry of arts that will seriously look into issues affecting the industry.

Thanks to George Soulchild and Weekend Post for the report.


Kristine Klemmensen & Havard Lohne in Zambia

Meet Kristine and Havard pictured above, a cute, hot and happy couple from Bergen in Norway, currently visiting Zambia with other family members to attend the wedding of Harvard’s brother Jostein to a Zambian girl, Angela Nakamba, on the Copperbelt this coming weekend. The family were staying at Chanters Lodge for a few days to see Victoria Falls before proceeding to Kitwe. Harvard and girlfriend Kristine were kind enough to agree to appear as guests on The Chanters Lodge Experience with the Milli Jam Ingredient featuring George da Soulchild, our regular Sunday night radio show, airing between 20.30 and 21.30 hrs on Zambezi Radio 107.7 fm. I co-host the show which is a lively mixture of music and chat! Check out the station’s great new website on that link!

Harvard and Kristine met at Hoxskolen i Bergen where they’re both students of Energy Technology in the second of a three year degree course. Plans for post graduation? Kristine seemed to be thinking in terms of further studies while Harvard favoured leaving University and getting a job. Was it love at first sight we wondered. “Yes”! Said Kristine. “No”! Said Harvard. “Oooo”! Said we!
The couple told listeners that they’d really enjoyed the sunset cruise on Lady Livingstone which they’d taken with the rest of the family that afternoon. Was it true Milli Jam wanted to know, that they’d kept Richard up until 02.00hrs that morning and if so why? They admitted that their group had arrived at Chanters in the early hours due to underestimating the drive time between Lusaka and Livingstone and were starving when they’d arrived. The lodge staff had kindly (very actually) waited until their arrival and then fed them, leading Richard to miss some beauty sleep. “Awwwwww”! They said.

Going back to the wedding we wanted to know whether Jostein had paid ‘lobola’ for Angela and if so, how much in cash or cows! No details were forthcoming but we estimated the value of a cow in Zambia these days at about K2 million (Milli Jam being a Tonga knew all about this) and we assured Harvard and Kristine that they were, traditions or no traditions, going to have a ball at this Zambian wedding and that Zambians really knew how to partaaay! They do too!

The music on the show was top drawer – ‘ET’ by Katy Perry featuring Kanye West back to back with ‘On The Floor’ by Jennifer Lopez featuring Pitbull got us off to a cracking start, being the current number one hit tracks in the USA and UK respectively. George’s local selection of ‘Facebook’ by Oga Family and ‘Ubuchende’ (‘infidelity’) by Ty2 and JK went down well. Adele’s ‘Promise This’ and Natasha Bedingfield’s ‘Shoot For The Stars’ were Milli Jam’s personal selection. ‘Where Dem Girls At’ by David Guetta featuring Flo Rida and Nicki Minaj is latest and so too ‘Someone To Love Me’ by Mary J Blige and Lil Wayne and these tracks would have had the Chanters Girls dancing back at the lodge – if they hadn’t been busy, busy! Ha Ha!

Harvard and Kristine gave us some more detail about their families and tastes. Musically Harvard favoured Dire Straits and Bruce Springsteen – Kristine Rihanna and Lady Gaga. They still had lots of things on their mind to do while they were in Livingstone – a walk with lions, helicopter ride, quad biking and the gorge swing amongst other high adventure activities available in these parts.

Where would this super young couple like to be and what would they like to be doing 10 years from now? “With great jobs in Norway in the field of renewable energy and married to Harvard with 4 children” replied Kristine quickly. Harvard nodded and gave her a quick kiss! “Awwwwww”! We said!


Penny Black Restaurant, Chelsea, London

Loved this from my son Jan, Head Chef, in the latest newsletter from The Penny Black. Jan is pictured with his wife Jo on Livingstone Island during a visit to Zambia. He writes:

What a start to the life of The Penny Black Restaurant! We have lost count as to how many Beef Wellingtons have been served and the countless number of chocolate fondants that have been eaten! Our first private hire event for doctors from the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital went spectacularly well and we are looking forward to working with future clients.

Spring is now upon us and that means plentiful new ingredients.

I have a lovely recipe for a rump of lamb with warm new potato salad and sprouting broccoli which you should have a go at when you have a few moments spare!

– Marinate the rump in sliced onion, garlic and a few thinly chopped rosemary leaves for a few hours.

– Boil the new potatoes in plenty of salted water and whilst boiling, mix together cider vinegar, rapeseed oil, English mustard and chopped mint to make a dressing.

– Once the potatoes are cooked, toss the still warm potatoes through this dressing. Remove the lamb from the marinade, sear it in a pan on all sides, then put it in the oven at about 1900C for 12 minutes for rare and up to 16 minutes for medium.

– Blanch the sprouting broccoli in boiling water for a minute and a half, drain and add a knob of butter and a sprinkling of salt.

Thanks Jan!

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