In work terms the days are long - the kitchen opens at 5.30 when the oven is lit for the breakfast loaves with shifts running between 6m and 2pm or 2pm until all guests have eaten dinner and we shut down the kitchen about 9.
The kitchen team consists of 7 cooks, 3 on each shift with one taking a day off. This morning we have Awa and Izianna. Carlos is meant to be here too but is at his cousins funeral. Death and illness is large part of life for people in Guludo Village and absences from work due to deatha are an alarmingly regular occurrence.
The 4 other cooks include, Angelica, Cato, Gilli and Samuel. See proud Cato below striking a valiant pose, please note the American football boots, complete with studs. This team of 7 are very proficient cooks, some of them having worked at Guludo Lodge for 7 years. Whoever first trained these guys did an amazing job, elegant mango tarts, crab ravioli, chocolate muffins are all whipped up effortlessly without the use of a recipe or electric appliances. Cleaning and food storage could do with some work, especially since we only use gas powered chest fridges that quickly become overcrowded and disorderly. I introduced clingfilm which is still taking some getting used to.
The lack of electricity and running water is a headache, but consequently we only use the bare minimum of water and gas for lighting, refrigeration and cooking is more than adequate. Amazingly, one large bucket (known in Portuguese as a 'baldi’) of water (50lt) will be enough for cooking and cleaning for one day, albeit during relatively low season.
Fish is available in abundance, local fisherman arrive on the beach with their catch. Squid known as 'lula' and crab is coming out of our ears. Roughly one good sized fish is bought in a day with some lobsters and huge prawns thrown in. Compared with the produce in Pemba, this wondrous seafood is a bargain. Squid costs 50mt a kilo (£1.20), Crab 30mt and any fish comes to £2.50 per kilo.
We are in the middle of kitchen renovations, working around builders had been dealt with without complaint and in a few days all works should be complete, the kitchen garden is also ready for planting. Fres herbs should grow well here with the onset if the rainy season. Dishes will love the addition of fragrant herbs. More on the food next time.