Staff profile: Meet Chef Milda Deale
Chef Milda Deale: Head Chef, Future Found Sanctuary
“Food has always been my family,” says newly appointed Head Chef Milda of Future Found Sanctuary in Hout Bay. Growing up on a farm in the Karoo Milda picked fruit from the orchards, baked bread with her gran and ate lamb from the farm. As such she feels right at home at Future Found Sanctuary where meal ingredients are sourced from 30 organically grown veggie and herb boxes, from trees in the expansive landscaped gardens and where honey is bottled from the hives on the property.
Milda’s love of cooking was inspired by her father who loved to experiment with ingredients and make unusual dishes for the family such as rabbit pie or fish stew. When he passed away when Milda was a teenager she found that cooking was a way to feel close to him.
“Years later when I was a stay-at-home mum, I took the time to properly learn to cook. When my kids were a bit older I started applying for chef positions. It was incredibly exciting when Zorgvliet Wine Estate took a chance on me and hired me as their Head Chef. I went through a huge learning curve in this position and soaked up so much knowledge,” she says.
Milda stayed on at Zorgvliet Wine Estate in Stellenbosch for 2 years before opening a new restaurant in Tulbagh called Digger’s Home. She later opened the Botanicum Restaurant at Morgenster Wine and Olive Estate in Somerset West. During COVID she gained experience as a private chef after earning a reputation for hosting small private dinner parties at her home in Hof Street in Oranjezicht.
“I was staying in the most fabulous house just off Kloof Street at the time. The kitchen was tiled in gold mosaics, and we would to serve dinner in my landlord’s music room where guests were accompanied by a pianist on the baby grand,” she reminisces.
What drew you to Future Found Sanctuary?
I was immediately drawn to Future Found Sanctuary’s wellness and food philosophies. I’ve always loved making nutritious family style meals and preparing harvest table dishes. This is how I like to cook for my own family which is why joining Future Found has felt like completing a full circle for me. I am so blessed to work at a property where I have access to an immense veggie garden and the Hout Bay Harbour where I can buy fresh fish in the morning to braai for our guests. Picking herbs and fruit in the garden fills me with wonder makes me feel like a child again,” says Milda.
What do you hope to bring to Future Found Sanctuary?
“I’m really looking forward to developing the food philosophy further here,” says Milda. One of her first tasks will be to take the property’s signature fragrances – Arise, Realign, Reflect and Rest – and incorporate these scents, flavours, and the intentions that they invoke into the menu to create different more curated sensory experiences at different times of the day.
“As a self-taught chef I’m also passionate about training staff and giving chances to young people that haven’t had the opportunity to go to chef school. I also believe that it is very important to change the way staff are treated in the kitchens in South Africa and to instil an atmosphere of culture of respect. Many talented people leave our industry due to the terrible working conditions that they are subjected to and I feel strongly that disrespect isn’t something that kitchen staff should be conditioned to expect in a hospitality workplace,” she concludes.