Wild Coast Sun elevates culinary experience | The Planner

Upon encountering Wild Coast Sun’s Executive Chef, Georgina Hill, one is struck by her authoritative yet collaborative approach to managing her kitchen team. “It’s impossible to succeed on your own – I rely heavily on my team,” she comments, referring to her collaboration with five senior chefs and 30 commis chefs to oversee five dining venues at the resort: Chico’s, Calypso, Country Club, Salon Privé, and banqueting services.

Hill joined Wild Coast Sun last year, bringing over a decade of experience as Executive Chef at Sun International’s Golden Valley in Worcester. “My first day here involved 20 000 steps – it’s a vast property but utterly magnificent. Whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed, a moment outside by the sea transports you to another realm,” Hill expresses her admiration for the resort’s location, nestled between the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.

Her beginnings

Now 43, Hill has been passionate about food since her early days, commuting on her quad bike in the wee hours to her weekend job at a Polokwane hotel at just 15. “I had a penchant for the finer things, so my parents encouraged me to earn my own way. That kitchen job was not only fun but it steered me away from a life confined to office work.”

Following her schooling, Hill ventured to the Isle of Man to pursue hospitality, later earning a diploma in gourmet cooking and catering while working in a pub. After their first child was born, she and her husband, Jackie, returned to South Africa. “Jackie transitioned from hospitality to real estate, affording him more family time, while I continued in hospitality, often working evenings and weekends.”

A vegetarian by practice, Hill is keenly attuned to vegan and gluten-free diets, although she is well-versed in preparing all types of meat dishes, from lamb shanks to mutton curries. “Cooking with ingredients you don’t consume is a challenge, but I believe in trying everything at least once to ensure quality.”

Guests at the resort can look forward to an expanded selection of vegetarian, gluten-free, and vegan options, though Hill is mindful of other guests’ preferences for curries and meat dishes. “We’re gradually refining the menus and introducing new items, with a focus on local produce to minimise reliance on imports from Johannesburg.”

Golfers at the Country Club now enjoy a refreshed menu featuring lighter salads, a mutton burger, and hearty meals like Gatsby’s and bunny chows. “While we’ve retained popular items like bacon and egg rolls, we’ve enhanced their presentation, acknowledging that the visual aspect of food significantly enhances the dining experience.”

Hill is excited about the potential of Wild Coast Sun as a premier wedding venue, emphasising its unparalleled natural beauty as an ideal backdrop for wedding photographs.

When cooking for her family, Hill prefers dishes like crock pot lasagne and for guests, a vegan French toast that remarkably contains no eggs. At home, she is a fan of the air fryer, while at work, she values high-quality knives above all else.

“As a chef, the learning never stops. Experiment, embrace the occasional failure, and remember to enjoy the process – the love you put into cooking truly reflects in the taste of the food.”