If you cook, cook with passion or don't cook at all.
Chef Tony Kocke has enjoyed a fascinating life in the most exquisite kitchens of the world. He has cooked for some special people like Princess Diana, The Queen of England, Jimmy Carter, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Last month he has joined the team at Fairmont Zimbali and he says he loves his new residency.
Experienced, passionate and a visionary in the culinary field, Tony Kocke, the newly appointed Executive Chef of Fairmont Zimbali Resort and Fairmont Zimbali Lodge is a breath of fresh air in his new position.
Having grown up in Germany, Tony always knew that he wanted to be a chef. It was during his apprenticeship at Restaurant Papillon in Berlin that his passion for food was amplified. He spent 3 years in Berlin before moving to London in 1985 where he gained invaluable experience as a Commis Chef for The Dorchester Hotel, The Hilton and St James Club to name but a few. His love for travel steered him to Durban where he grew passionate about all things local, including (of course) local Rugby team, The Sharks.
Chef Tony's greatest accomplishment came later when he opened his own restaurant in Brandenburg, Germany. It was here that he was awarded a Michelin star for his high standard of quality and exceptional cuisine. After 5 years of owning his own restaurant, he decided to sell Ma Cuisine and move to South Africa, the place that stole his heart a few years before.
He spent the next 17 years of his career working for a number of different hotels, including The Cullinan and The Beverley Hills Hotel before moving to the iconic Fairmont Zimbali Lodge and Fairmont Zimbali Resort. As the Executive Chef of this world-renowned property, Tony will oversee 11 kitchens and a 77 member kitchen-brigade.
Tony plans to incorporate his vast knowledge of international cuisine with his passion for local delicacies to create the ultimate dining experience. Similar to Accor and Fairmont Hotels and Resort chefs around the world, he is committed to purchasing from local purveyors and suppliers: the vegetables are grown on a farm less than 10 km away; a call as the boat pulls into the harbour alerts him to the catch of the day; and the ooh-la-la French-style cheeses are actually made by an artisanal cheese maker in the Midlands. Curries, the best-seller, are authentically crafted by Indian and Zulu cooks, and the accompanying pickles and chutneys are made in-house.
Fairmont Zimbali Lodge and Fairmont Zimbali Resort are proud to welcome Chef Tony to the family and wish him all the best as he implements new and innovative ways to serve guests the true Fairmont-way. When Tony is not at work in one of the many kitchens within Zimbali, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Michelle and his two staffies, Abbey and Ozzy.