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She’s baaaaaack … In the kitchen

10 July 2015 | Inside Angama |

I am notoriously punctual. I think this stems from the one and only time I was ever truly, ridiculously late – the day I was born.

There is a term for children like me born into the hotel industry. We are called ‘back-of-house babies’ inspired from our formative years spent trying to sneak our way through the iron curtain of a hotel: the one that separates the hard-working guts and the beautifully serene exterior where guests languish on sun loungers drinking cappuccinos by the pool.

Arniston days

Being late, and arriving in this world a week before Christmas, was just the smallest of impositions on my mother, who at the time ran, together with my father, the Arniston Hotel at the southernmost tip of Africa, including its kitchen. Exactly 6 days after my ever-so-stylish-late-grand-entrance, my mother was back in the kitchen cooking Christmas Eve Dinner for over 100 guests. Now if you have ever met my mother, this would be considered just another day’s work.

What many of you may not know, those readers of Leaving Out the Dull Parts who are new to the Fitz family, is that Nicky is a rock star in the kitchen. The food she can fling together at a rate of knots makes most people stare in awe at the deliciousnesses – yes, they are that delicious they need more ‘s’s’ – she places on the tables at meal times. Drawing inspiration from everyone – the great Julia Child, through Nigel Slater and on to Yotam Ottolenghi – Nicky will take a little flavour from each one and make it her own.

Nicky and the Angama Chef Team

I have had a lifetime of memories around my mother’s table, be it at home as a family, or at Blues restaurant where she turned over 1000 covers a day, to inspiring recipes for the &Beyond cookbook, A Kitchen Safari, to finally sitting and planning every single mouthful an Angama Mara guest can pop in their mouth during the 12 times a day they might want to eat at our lovely lodge high up above the Maasai Mara.

Developing the menus

And so now I sit here, once again in the guts 30 odd years later, watching my mother back in action in the kitchen. As babies, my sister and I would sit in the bain-maries in the Arniston Hotel kitchen banging wooden spoons oblivious to what was taking shape before our eyes. Today, I watch Mum, head chef Collins and the Angama Mara chef’ing team creating magic, not playing with wooden spoons, but rather taking notes and stealing tastes wherever I can…

The Angama Kitchen

It smells delicious…

Note from the Editor: As Kate says she was born in a chafing dish – well almost. Being a born story teller she does like to embellish here and there. During the first crazy days of taking care of guests in our not-quite-yet-finished kitchen she was firmly at her mother’s side – both hot, sweaty, exhausted, smelling like short order cooks from some sleazy fry-up joint in the back end of Nairobi and generally having a blast with the team of wonderful Angama Mara chefs. 

FILED UNDER: Inside Angama
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AUTHOR: Kate Fitzgerald Boyd

Kate was born in a chafing dish – well almost. The date she was due to arrive was perilously close to Christmas and her mother wasn’t taking any chances so out she came just in time for a decent Christmas dinner to be served to the guests at the hotel of her childhood. Back-of-house babies, they call them. And she has never looked back and now logs more air miles than she knows what to do with sharing the Angama Mara story far and wide.

COMMENTS (8)
Sally Nielsen
July 10, 2015

Thank you darling Katie, and Nicky and Steve, for the lovely entertaining insights into Angama Mara and the ‘Fitz’ family.

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Brandy Taylor
July 10, 2015

Why does this make me so weepy?! Thanks for sharing your memories…Well written Katie!!!! ❤️ you Nicky!

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Glenn Oltmanns
July 10, 2015

Whatever you did in the kitchen Kate during our stay came out delicious! The apple does not fall far from the tree!!

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Patrick Siebel
July 10, 2015

So love getting such personal insights into the Fitz lives and of course through social media being able to live a little of the birth of Angama Mara with you guys. THANK SO MUCH FOR SHARING. Love the slightly embellished stories, Kate!

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Ebby Lacey
July 11, 2015

What a delightful little article. Always full of surprises, our Nicky. Good luck guys, in these formative days. May it all be beautiful – and painless !! Big Hug – John and Ebby

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Dave Train
July 11, 2015

Remember those images from Arniston so fondly.
The people and the FUN.
AND especially Toffy – loved that hound.
and resulted in me getting my first Border Collie from Ron Phillips in Bredasdorp
and another from Oom Hennie vd Merwe in Sutherland.
Great to to see the Fitgerald energy in the Mara

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Pippa Hodges
July 22, 2015

I loved reading your story Kate, Angama sounds like a wondeful adventure for you all. I hope I can swing by one day and sample some of its delights – masses of love xxx

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Jane Broughton
September 10, 2015

Kate, when you get bored of cooking and directing and managing and everything else you do up there, please write a book! You write beautifully.

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