Sunday 25 November 2012

Wanted: Ex Zimbabwean (Rhodesian) Farmers and a Decent Chef.

Chef: The successful applicant should be tall, slim, possess long shapely legs, firm breasts and a less than strict moral attitude to casual sex.  Being able to boil an egg an advantage.

Now that I am so near opening (so near is a relative term in Africa, but I live in hope), I need a Chef.  I like to cook and I like to think I am good at it but operating in a commercial environment is a whole new ball game.  With all the ill-gotten gains I have invested in this place it would be foolish to jeopardize the lot by being vain.  I need to employ a professional.

I like Angolan cuisine, to a degree.  It is a blend of Portuguese and ethnic African cooking.  I love Bacalhão com Natas, dried salted cod, soaked overnight and then baked in a cream sauce.  I adore Muamba da Galinha, tough local chicken braised for hours in a peanut sauce.  I have developed, after initial revulsion, a taste for Feijoada , a stew made with orange coloured palm oil, beans and all the fatty gristly bits of pork no-one in Europe eats.  I can even cope with Funge, the wallpaper glue-like paste made from powdered manioc.  I cannot stand the way they cook and serve steaks, wonderful cuts of meat fried to a grey leathery texture; chicken grilled to desiccation; tender fish fried in half an inch of oil, crispier and twice as deadly as high fat crisps; soggy chips served cold and clammy; sauces, grudgingly made consisting only of boiled up tinned skinned tomatoes and sliced onions.

The Angolan palate is becoming as sophisticated as that of the many expatriates working here so if Fat Hippo’s is to be a success, the menu has to be a little more inspiring than stews or everything else served dry or greasy without any sauces or gravies.  To be a hit here, I don’t need Haute Cuisine and especially not Nouvelle Bloody Cuisine, I need well prepared classics.  Venison medallions with wild mushroom sauce, spätzle and red cabbage; Pepper steak with salad and crispy chips; Chicken Ragout with steamed rice;  GrilledTuna steak with watercress and yoghurt salad and boiled new potatoes; Lasagne; an exotic curry; a selection of desserts.  Cro Magnon has just posted showing how easy it is to make paté.  As clients arrived we could put out a plate of petiscos for them to munch on while they slaked their thirst from the bar and made their selections.  With a decent chef, Fat Hippo’s could become famous for venison dishes as I can shoot as many bush buck and other game as I have rounds in the rifle.

But for this to work, I need to import a chef.

Yesterday, a mate of mine came to visit so I made up a load of lobster and a dill cream sauce.  He was outraged that I would build this restaurant and then not employ a local.  He said it was my duty to support the local community by employing as many of them as I could.  All well and good, my old German friend, but it won’t pay the bills if I go bust because the food is no better, just as crap, as everywhere else.  We got onto the subject of his coffee plantation which isn’t doing so well (he was visiting me to pay back, thankfully, the last load of money I lent him so he could pay his workforce until his harvest came in).

‘They are all thieving, ungrateful Schweine,’ he said.  ‘Every time I come up into town they steal everything and, and, DO NO WORK!’

‘Gosh’ I said pouring him another whisky and mixing it with Coca-Cola Zero (he is diabetic so has to be careful what he stuffs or pours down his throat).

‘I got back there this time’ he frothed, ‘and they have dug a Lavra (a smallholding) right across my perimeter road and into MY land!’

I could see he was outraged.  I felt for him, I really did.  I have a bit of a Land War going on as well.

‘You should buy a Gaz’ I said.

‘A Gaz?’

‘Yes.  You know, one of those big old Russian trucks weighing a million tonnes with six wheel drive.  Then all you have to do is drive straight through the Lavra’.  It was wishful thinking on my part.  I’d love to do the same to these bastards here so I was surprised when he took me seriously.

‘I have a friend with a Gaz truck, I’ll do that as soon as I get back’.

‘Is he Angolan?’ I asked.

‘Yes, why?’

‘Best let him do the driving, me Alte Kumpel, or you as a white man will be in heaps of shit.’

This man is in his sixties and is surviving by the skin of his teeth and the Grace of God.

‘What I really need,’ he continued, ‘is a decent farm manager’

‘I agree’ I said, and I meant it.  A decent farm manager is exactly what he needs.  Two thousand hectares is more than enough for a young, fit man.  Clearly it was far too much for an old man who, through his lifestyle choice, had no sons to help him shoulder the burden or to whom he could leave the not inconsiderable fruits of a lifetime of struggle.  I have heard stories of old men, happily married all their lives, losing their soul mates only to die themselves within months.  If this man lost his farm, I would be burying him just as quick.  I have known him almost as long as I have been in Angola. Longer than I have known any woman. A year short of two decades.

‘Look,’ I said, ‘a percentage of something is better than 100% of nothing.  Why don’t you get one of the farmers that Mugabe tossed out and do a deal with him?  These guys carved successful farms out of nothing, vacant bush, a bloke like that would be ideal and you could let them live in the villa’.  His house is magnificent.  It was comprehensively trashed during the war but he has steadily rebuilt it over the last ten years.  He was born there.

‘It was just a thought,’ I pointed out, ‘but you are not getting anywhere at the moment, why not offer a share to someone who can really turn the farm around?  Otherwise you had better sell it and retire to Germany’.

‘Can you help me find someone?’ he asked.

‘Sure,’ I said, ‘can you help me find a Chef?’

The whole of Europe is in a massive depression as the Eurozone goes into meltdown.  Great minds struggle to balance books but unemployment continues to rise, 25% in some countries, and unpleasant cuts to social welfare are recommended.  Those who are in gainful employment in Europe lose over 60% of their salaries in direct and indirect taxation.  There is talk of debt, mortgages in particular, being passed on to offspring.  Legalized usury. 

I need a decent chef.  My old friend needs a decent farm manager.  If the countries of the Eurozone really want to reduce the social welfare burden, why is it impossible for me to log onto a DHSS website and offer these vacancies?  I travelled to find gainful employment rather than go on the dole, I can’t be unique.  I am sure that if others realized these opportunities existed, they would leap at the chance. The UK Prime Minister has stated that he will maintain aid to some very dodgy regimes.  Funding that will arrive at the top and never filter down to where it is needed.  Aid agencies, with the exception of those providing immediate disaster relief, are generally a complete and utter waste of time and, of course, money.

Neither I nor my old German friend is asking for an EU handout.  All we are asking for is access to a generally skilled and willing workforce.  We will pay their salaries.  We will arrange their visas.  We will arrange their flights and accommodation.  OK, between the two of us we will only take two people off the European social welfare bill but if my restaurant works, and Hermann the German’s farm kicks off, we can employ dozens of unemployed Angolans far more effectively and sustainably than any ‘aid’ project dreamt up by some Eurocrat with brains bulging out of his forehead. By providing a freely accessible data base of available workforce, the EU could, at no cost, reduce their social welfare costs and provide the skills required for sustainable development in places like Africa all funded by small, expatriate business.  Sure, we will take a share of the profits.  But like I said to my mate, a percentage of something is a damn sight better than 100% of nothing, and guess where the rest goes, yup, local salaries and sustainable development.

So I need a chef.  If you are the kind of person I need and have read this far, you know what I want and clearly have the patience to work in Angola so get in touch with me.  I will pay a decent tax free basic salary and the usual, plus, after a three month probationary period assuming we are still getting along, a share in the restaurant profits.  If you are rugged looking, energetic AND can do Patisserie, my wife will hire you regardless of any objection my intense hatred for you could conceive.  If you are like the charming, sweet and obviously intelligent young lady pictured at the top of this post and can only boil an egg, I will do my best but don’t hold your breath.



  1. Regret to say that although lived on farms for past decade and a half couldn't farm a windowbox without help and a small tractor. Ditto only work ever done in restaurant was working through the menu before passing gas and then passing out. Have occasionally worn female nurses uniform and though vegan do know how to boil toast, grill an egg and fry a decent curry but never done these things at the same time or totally sober. Also not totally sober and have no sense of time, even with one of those little upside down watches pinned to my falsies. In addition, think that heat (defined as over 65f) is something to be packed in a shoulder holster rather than experienced under an African sun. Been known to get sunburned if sat too close to the standard lamp of an evening. Cold (defined as anything under 63f) even just overnight makes me punch air-holes into a cardboard box and hibernate as per Blue Peter instructions. Have a tendency to exercise the better part of valour when faced with drunken chaps with guns aforementioned in your blog; see no loss of face or status in being seen, where judicious, to be suddenly elsewhere or even running in t'opposite direction (often screaming, sometimes leaving a trail). Hats with a wide brim tend to make me look like Quentin Crisp during his cowboy phase. In addition, wear specs with lenses of sufficient strength to cause horrendous bush fires if hit by a low sun in dry conditions. Unable to find specs if not actually wearing them while searching.

    Other than that, I'd be perfect ...

  2. What? Is there no in Europe?

  3. I HAVE FIRM BREASTS and can cook a pig within an inch of it's life

  4. Sir Owl,

    we do appreciate candidates willing to submit a comprehensive and, in your case, clearly an honest curriculum vitae. While the board felt that it was a shame you failed to submit with your application a photo of you in your nurses uniform it had no bearing on the unanimous decision to reject it out of hand. As Chair person I overloooked your slight of a man the sartorial elegance of whom I always admired. For your information, a 'hat wiv a wide brim' is referred to as a 'Fedora' and it should be Fur Felt with a cut, not a stitched brim. Gentlemen have them made at a place called Lock's somewhere in London. The hansom cab chappies will take you there if you slip them an extra farthing.

    Visual accuity was not a prerequisite for employment as most chefs work by touch, taste and smell as any waitress can tell you.

    Joanne, I am in Africa but the urchin who weeds the garden tells me the internet does stretch as far as Europe. Damn cheek trying to best his betters, I blame all this missionary education. Nanny says I must not use the Interweb thingy after the sun goes down lest I go blind and end up with a hairy palm so I will give it a whack in the morning. Thank you for the tip.

    Dear John,

    I have seen your online photos and agree that your breasts definitely look firm but I would prefer them a little less hairy. Was there something about tall and slim you did not understand? Not having enjoyed a night out in a Welsh eating house it is not for me to criticise but generally here, in savage Africa, we prefer our pigs stone dead and well done. Within an inch of their lives is still a trifle rare and, I imagine, wreaks havoc with the nicely arranged salad and chips as they thrash about on the plate.

  5. tee hee!
    u crack me up
    Dont knock a male date
    as Woody Allen once said
    "I love bisexuality
    it doubles the chance of a date on a saturday night!"

  6. Oh, it's spelt bisexuality, I thought it was buy-sexuality. That mistake has cost me dearly

  7. Hello mate,

    Sadly I'm not a chef or a farmer so I can't help you there. I will check with my friends, some are from South-Africa and they may know Rhodesian farmers.

    Anyways, just had to write to say I love your blog; as an Angolan expatriated in London I find it indispensable reading. I will make sure I visit your restaurant once it opens. I must say I disagree with most of your comments with regards to our food, but lets agree to disagree there! :-)

    If you're ever down in Benguela (and don't already know of her) be sure to visit Nancy (, a good friend of mine, and very like-minded (American) expat. Reading your blog reminds me a lot of her adventures, you guys are my heroes.

    Best of luck!


  8. John of the flooded valley

    I also heard it said that sex with girls is OK but you can’t beat the real thing.

    Antipodean Nige

    Someone suggested that I experiment with bisexuality so I thought I would give it a go, after all, you have to try everything at least once. Took me bloody ages to find a bisexual girlfriend with a willing female partner but I can tell you, it was worth it!

    Exmo. Sr. Kandando de Londres

    That was a really nice comment you posted. Thank you. I am ever so pleased Angolans are reading my blog. Sometimes, I know, I am less than charitable but I think you will agree, my comment on Angola is generally favorable. The country suffered a hard birth but it is a fantastic country and getting better every day.

    Perhaps I was a bit harsh about Angolan Cuisine. I failed to mention Dobradinha, Chocos Grelhado (absolutely bloody brilliant, NO other country can prepare squid like the Angolans can), Mabanga (Steamed cockles), Caldo Verde, Kizaka. There is a lot of good food here but, as you may recall, there were lots of places, restaurants, that were just plain lazy when it came to preparing food. And the service was always glacial. I am fortunate having managed to secure a prime location. I think you would agree that a couple of hectares at the Voz de Barra da Kwanza is a bit of a coup. Now I must do it justice and provide the very highest standard of cuisine for the benefit of my clients, both Angolan and international. I am hoping to open around Christmas time so would be delighted to host you.

    I know Benguela/Lubango very well. I launched a humanitarian demining team from there when I first came to Angola 18 years ago. Since then I built two power stations, one each for the two towns but I never met Nancy. I wish she would open up a school here!

    I visited your blog and could not understand any of it! I am so thick I have gravel rash on my knuckles, there is no way I will understand all that techy computer stuff. Clearly, you are just a bit brainier than I am! While, as a result, I may not be following your blog, I hope you continue to enjoy mine and will stay in touch.

    Best regards


  9. Eh, eh Kandando means "um abraco" in kimbundo - or this the typical English humour that I always fail to get :-D

    Also, all this talk about Angolan food is making me really hungry, best I get around here is fish and chips - or so they say! I just see grease! :-) I love choco, one of my favourites in Benguela, and that is my favourite city. You restaurant sounds great, I'll save up for it!

    But what I like about your blog is how real it is, and methinks this is what is needed. I keep on seeing the CNN/BBC reporting, where Africa is one stop after hell, and the local reporting where its one stop after heaven. You blog is pretty cool because its just tells it how it is - and anyone who has lived in Angola for any length of time understands where you're coming from. So keep it up, the Angolans are listening!

    By the by, my blog has been very nerdy because I've returned to England and all I do here is work! Used to be slightly more interesting when I was down in Africa, many moons ago ( Hopefully I'll get to travel and blog again! :-)

    Kandando! :-)


  10. I do hope you and your coffee plantation friend can find the employees you need for your ventures.

    I've never been tall, am no longer slim, (i waver between 'solid' and 'slightly chunky' these days), and when i worked in restaurants, always worked the front of the house.

    A friend of mine who's taller but still not tall, who's not slim either has done lots of cooking in her life, most recently as a schooner cook. Everything cooked on a woodstove. I don't know that she'd want to hop the Pond for a job. I do know she can plan and prepare a good meal and is a wonderful baker.

  11. Tom,

    I recently took over the Luanda Nightlife blog, since my Frenchie mates who used to run it have all left, and I have a team of Angolans/expats that are my eyes, ears and mouths on the ground and help me write the posts. We also have an email address for the blog and there's no saying what kind of restaurant-related email we might get on any given day, or lost CV from some European or Angolan who is looking for work; if anything of relevance comes up regarding chefs, I'll be sure to let you know.

    I wish you the best of luck with the restaurant opening. I'll be sure to send someone there so that we can feature it on the blog.

    Um abraço,
    Claudio from Caipirinha Lounge

  12. Fingers crossed - everything will come together nicely at "Fat Hippo's" and you'll find someone who will prepare good value meals that leave your diners smiling with satisfaction. That way they'll tell their friends and will come back regularly. Unfortunately, I am unable to advise how you'd go about locating such an individual. Good luck!

  13. Dear Tom, I will look around my network and let you know if I find someone (been in recruitment all my life and married to Angolan wife here in Switzerland, so I can sell the opportunity). Will let you know. thx.

    Best regards

  14. Marco!

    Oh my Goodness! Are you telling me my salutation to a macho Angolan man was ‘Dear Hugs’? I would like to say it was typical English humour but actually it was me being very thick and assuming Kandando was your nome de plume.

    The only way I can tell it is as it is. Yes, sometimes I end up ranting and raving about ‘Bloody Angolans’ and that might appear racist (it certainly would be considered such in UK, did you read recently about the woman who was found guilty by a UK court of racism for calling her neighbor a ‘Fat Australian’? The complaint, upheld by the court, was that calling a New Zealander an Australian was a racial slur. PC gone fucking mad!) but it is hard, sometimes, to avoid generalization. Of course not ALL Angolans are ‘Tossers’. The three arseholes who engineered pinching some of my land (just as one example) are. And then when we go to the Administradora to seek redress hearing her say, ‘Well, Sr Thomas, I agree that you paid for the land but as a White Man, you cannot expect to have it both ways’. Both ways, BOTH WAYS? What the Hell does that mean? Does it mean I am going to be head fucked as well as butt fucked? I assume it must as she closed the meeting by saying, ‘Face it Sr Thomas, you have lost your money’. Why? Because as the Administradora said, I am white? Well my wife isn’t white, she is as black as they come and is Bakongo from Uige and she is definitely not going to accept that kind of shit. The land wars, as I call them, and the constant thefts are really making it hard for me to continue to be as positive as I once was. I will cheer up once I have the restaurant open. To balance the scales I should point out that the contractor to whom I gave all my money to build the restaurant, the new shop, our new house and the holiday cottages and then went bust delaying my project by a year is English. So the English are all bastards as well! I am non-discriminatory, I hate everybody.

    I am sure your blog is very interesting to those clever enough to understand it. Like I said, I am too thick by half. I have a good friend, Nigel, in Australia. He is techy but not at all geeky. We worked together on the Angolan Customs Modernization Project, me as head of anti-corruption (they said my life expectancy would be minimal), him as head of IT. Every time he walked into an office, all the secretary’s knickers would spontaneously combust and he ended up marrying a charming, stunningly attractive and very intelligent Angolan girl and took her back to Australia with him.

    If I knew there were more expat Angolans reading my blog, I would write as much about what is going on in Angola, topical stuff, as I do about personal issues. If you know of any Expat Angolan bloggers, then please let me know. I know what life as an expat is like, the joys, the frustrations; it would be nice to read about this from another perspective. Wouldn’t it be hilarious to read an Angolan describing ludicrous UK bureaucracy? How about I start a new blog called ‘Letters from Angola and Beyond’ in which I talk about what is going on here at the nonpolitical, non-polemic street level from an expat’s point of view, and Angolan expatriates guest post on it about their views and also their experiences abroad? Just a thought.

  15. Megan

    What the heck is a Schooner Cook? Did she set fire to the Cutty Sark or something?

    I could not give a damn what the person looks like, their age, sex or sexual orientation. So long as they can handle a dozen items on the menu for eighty covers delivered out of a 16 square metre kitchen and a 12 metre square barbecue area and do that twice a day from Friday night to Sunday night.

    I need front of house staff as well. These I would like to be female. This is a beach restaurant and the weather is always warm so I want them dressed in high heeled open toed leather sandals, bikinis over which are worn diaphanous, transparent dresses accessorized with local bead necklaces, bracelets and belts, hair brushed up to the crown of the head and secured with beads in what we call the ‘Pineapple in a basket’ style. Please, don’t be shy, feel free to apply.


    I recently removed the Luanda Nightlife link on my blog as it appeared to have died. I will reinstate it immediately! I am delighted you are back because the first question visitors always ask me is, ‘Where’s a good place to eat?’. If you hear of anyone, I would be very grateful if you steered them my way. As soon as I am open, I will let you know and look forward to hosting you. I am hoping this place will be a success. Right next door to me is the Kwanza Tarpon Lodge. Set on the banks of the river, it is beautiful with all the wood decking and a swimming pool. They do not offer A La Carte, just a buffet of mixed Angolan/European food at $50 a head. If you stay in one of their cottages, the $400 per night for the cottage includes food. Then there is the Golf Resort Mangais about 3kms away. It also offers a buffet but at $100 per head. I do not know what they charge for accommodation but they are the priciest around here. There is another place right on the beach about 3 kms North, Imbondeiro de Kwanza, also with some cottages and a massive swimming pool on the beach. Rui, the manager, does a buffet as well at weekends but I am not sure what he charges. Unlike me, he is open but it is still a work in progress. So, Angola Nightlife has three places they can review and hopefully a fourth soon!

    Sir Pud

    I hope you are not too soggy with all the inclement weather! I will find someone. I know the right person is out there somewhere!


    Nice to hear from you, and thank you for your kind offer of assistance. A Swiss chef would be fantastic. Do unemployed Swiss Chefs willing to work abroad actually exist? If you managed to get me one, I could very quickly change the name of my restaurant from ‘Fat Hippo’s’ to ‘Zum Alde Gott’ and instead of having the waitresses dressed as I described to Megan above, I could have them all in Dirndls , I know Marcia, my wife, would be more comfortable with that…

  16. Something like this, Moritz:

  17. Tom,
    A schooner cook is a cook who works on a schooner two or more masted boat with fore and aft sails, aka 'tall ship'. Galleys come in different sizes. The one i saw her work in was maybe 3 metres by 2 metres, and she had to prepare breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a snack for up to 22 passengers and 4 crew, including the captain. She worked on another schooner as well as a clipper ship. The last one had a more modern galley, microwave and all that.

    I can't wear high heels anymore and while they do make bikinis my size, i'd hate for your diners to lose their appetites.

  18. Megan,

    Your friend sounds ideal! She will still be close to the sea but at least she will have a stable deck to work on.

    Don't forget, Megan, it has always been personality that counts when dealing with clients, or anyone for that matter.

  19. Wiesntrachten is it, Tom? You could have fooled me considering your charming, wheedling, answer to the never perturbed Megan. Sometimes I wonder if she is your mother considering how often she props you up in your hours of need.

    All you need now, to keep Marcia happy, are Lederhosen. You'd be the toast of Luanda. People wouldn't give a toss about your food, they'd toast the vision of an Englishman in Angola, decanted into his German ancestry.

    By the way, I have had an idea for your hell on earth. You (and your restaurant) being run by the formidable chocolaty Marcia, a woman of stamina, and, by way of contrast, my own, dyed blond in the wool, delicious sister who'd fit you front of house, left, right, on the stove and in the broom cupboard, does not only boil a mean egg but would scramble you in the process, and will most perfectly fit your requirements. Apart from the cup size. Which is more modest than the portions of her delicious food she likes to dish out. And don't worry about diaphanous cover ups. My sister looks fantastic in a black bin liner. No shit. Imagine the money that would save you.

    Since, between her and Marcia's energy, nay, ferocity, you'd be ground to a pulp, you might like to reconsider and advertise for a dwarf with a hunchback.


  20. Ursula,

    I had to let the hunchback dwarf go when he started serving items that were not on the menu to female guests from under the table.

    Your sister sounds ideal. Given her other qualities what's in a cup size or two?

    Looks good in a black binliner. Interesting but I am not sure that is a suitable recommendation. I had a business partner once who let me down and he looked very good in a bin liner.

    I am used to being abused and beaten by Aryan women, from birth as a matter of fact, but if she can cook and keep the rest of the rabble in line and run the restaurant with Tuetonic efficiency, she's hired.

    Naturally, if your sister was in charge, then it would not be bikinis as uniforms, it would be Dirndls so could you ask your sister, mit aller Höflichkeit, to send me her CV and a photo of herself in a Dirndl. Naturally, I will wear Tracht. I think it would be rather fun. There is no German restaurant in Angola yet such a large German expat community.

  21. My sister in a Dirndl? You've got to be joking. Not even inside Carnival in Venice would she ever be seen in more than the scantest of costumes. The woman has a reputation to uphold.

    And you, Tom, wouldn't so much wear a "Tracht" in her presence as get one. Do not be fooled: You think me mad; my sisters are - by their own assessment - sane. Forget Munich, heaving bosoms and the Oktoberfest. Go to Alsace and have a Choucroute Garnie. If only to fortify you. You can see a Kirsch in the eye when it stares at you, can't you?


  22. That's brilliant, thanks for the tips Tom. By the time I'm back in Angola you will have been open for probably 5 or so months. I haven't hung out much around Barra do Kwanza - usually we just drive straight on to Cabo Ledo, Porto Amboim, Sumbe, and Benguela - but I really need to check out my own proverbial 'backyard'. Meanwhile send me a shout when you open and I'll send my hungry minions your way so that they can take pics and write notes that will allow us to do a proper post about Fat Hippo's.

  23. Ursula,

    "my sisters are "

    You mean there's at least three of you! And at least one who considers clothes an optional accessory? Are you saying that if I employed your sister I can have efficiency, German cuisine AND girls in Bikinis? Please don't tease me, Fate has never been so gracious...


    When I open you will see it on the blog!

    I will do a review for you of my neighbor's place. Don't worry, we no longer see each other as competition.

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