Meet Notemba or Mtata, a chef at Kichaka lodge. A few seconds into a conversation with her and she’ll have you laughing. She’s warm and friendly, makes delicious food, and cracks great one-liners.  


1. Why do they call you Mtata? 

When I first started here, the head chef asked where I was from, so I said Mtata. And that’s what they called me for ages.  


2. How long have you been at Lalibela? 

I’ve been here 7 years, since 2013. I’m part of the furniture.  


3. What inspired you to become a chef? 

I originally wanted to become a psychologist, but life worked out differently. So, I decided to become a chef, because it does the same thing – food heals people.  


4. What’s your favourite part of the job?  

I like learning to deal with different people, different challenges, different cultures. It’s about learning to accept people as they are because we’re all different. I would like to explore more though, because things are always changing in cooking. I’d like to go and learn new things, and then implement them here.  


5. What’s your signature dish? Any chance of sharing the recipe?  

The crusted lamb rack with a mint sauce. I’ll give the recipe to people secretly, for private use only!  


6. What’s your favourite thing to cook?  

I like to bake. My best cake is my chocolate and mayonnaise cake – it works! No butter, no eggs but mayonnaise, it’s delicious and I don’t even like to eat sweet things 


7. What’s your favourite animal?  

The cheetah. What you see is what you get!  

“I wanted to be a psychologist but I still do the same thing – I heal people with food.”

In search of more reading? Here’s a chat with our Duty Manager at Kichaka Lodge!