The ability to work well under pressure has enabled Eshowe-born chef Robert Gumede to rise through the ranks in some of KZN’s best kitchens over 20 years and aim to be rated as one of the best in the province.
Now head chef of the Dish restaurant at the Royal Palm Hotel in Umhlanga, Gumede says: “I appreciate being able to offer my own personal inputs as a senior staff member.”
He has been at Dish for four years. “Dish is a great restaurant,” he enthuses, “it offers excellent meals and is run by passionate people who love good food.”
The Royal Palm is managed by Three Cities and Gumede acknowledges the role the company has played in his personal growth. “The Three Cities brand invests a lot of time, money and energy in staff in order to build them up professionally within their positions.”
His passion and interest for cooking stem from family influences. Gumede’s father was a chef and he would visit him during the school holidays or over weekends. “My father became my role model and his passion for food rubbed off on me.
What I love most about being a chef is that I get to express myself with every dish that I make, and I love coming up with new fun recipes.” This sense of gastronomic adventure has seen him experimenting with the likes of wildebeest venison.
Gumede began his career at the Pleasure Food Company after graduating from Star College. Later, and full of ambition, he took up a position at the Razz Matazz Restaurant in Umhlanga, where he remained for 14 years. Then he moved to uShaka Marine World and the Cargo Hold restaurant for three years before moving to Dish.
He is aiming to make the list as one of KZN’s top 10 chefs in the near future. And he has this advice for those who wish to follow in his footsteps: “A chef needs to have a lot of personal discipline and, of course, be able to work well under pressure.”