February 2016 will mark Alex and Candice Olivier’s two-year anniversary managing Emily Moon. This dynamic duo has taken our lodge to new and exciting heights. What you may not know is that despite his managerial role, Alex is an absolute foodie and more often than not can be found in the kitchen, joining forces with our chef team to whip up new and exciting dishes for our daily, changing dinner menu.
You could say Alex was born with a love for good food. His father was an excellent cook, introducing him to exotic cuisines and flavours from a young age. He landed his first kitchen job at the age of 16 at Bonthyus under the watchful eye of Chef Etienne Bonthyus. From there Alex furthered his studies at Silwood Kitchen and Gordon Blue, but it was while working at Singita Sabi Sands that he really unearthed his creative side in the kitchen.
“I love inspiring others with a passion for good food. I love to see visitors “lick their plates clean” and experience new dishes for the first time. I believe in teamwork, preparation and using only the best produce available. The one thing I certainly have learnt in the hospitality industry is that there’s never a dull moment. It’s exciting stuff!” – Alex Olivier
We met up with Alex, Candice and their energetic, gorgeous toddler Rachel to get the scoop on the best-of-the-best at Emily Moon. (Who better to ask?!)
Describe your ultimate dinner at Emily’s Restaurant?
Alex: It’s a hard choice but I would go for the calamari and morcela starter, pork belly for mains and the chocolate fondant for dessert.
Candice: Definitely the ricotta phyllo bake for starters, lamb rump for main course and like Alex the chocolate fondant is my favourite dessert at Emily’s.
What is your favourite time of day at Emily Moon?
Golden hour – just as the sun sets before dinnertime! Emily Moon becomes even more romantic and magical at dusk.
If you stayed at the lodge for a weekend, what room would you choose and why?
Room 9! It is the most spacious and has an awesome tree house deck, not forgetting that outside shower set in its own garden!
Describe your ideal day spent at Emily Moon.
Alex: Arriving at breakfast to discover Dianne has baked pies and marmite cake. Warm summer days, where guests spend their time sitting on the deck enjoying our river views or drinking cocktails around the pool. Followed by a bustling Simon’s Bar in the evening. I, of course, would be in Emily’s kitchen for the service, and in the dining room chatting to guests after dessert.
What is on the cards for Emily Moon in 2016, any possible changes and developments?
We plan to revamp and build more rooms next year. Emily Moon’s owners, who are also avid artefact collectors and ‘junk’ shoppers have been sourcing and collecting new items for Emily’s facelift. It looks like 2016 is going to a busy but sensational year!