The second edition of this prestigious international trophy, assessed by the board of directors of Relais & Chateaux from approximately 450 member properties worldwide, was conferred upon this 27 year old Cape Town born talent. He has shown exceptional skill, creativity and dedication to a demanding art that sees him cooking for the most discerning guests from across the globe.
"Cuisine is one of the pillars of the international Relais Châteaux Association and I'm delighted that Singita is being recognised as a shining example of culinary imagination and initiative, proving that a five star dining experience can also be enjoyed in a safari milieu," says Chef Drake.
Curious to discover how fast paced city kitchens differ from preparing top class cuisine a top class international game lodge, he joined Singita Lebombo Lodge as Senior Sous Chef in 2004.
Since then Drake has represented Singita in the kitchens of the most prestigious 3 Star Michelin restaurants in the food capitals of the globe where he enrolled for brief voluntary experiential stints in an effort to up his own gourmet game.
These international cooking experiences included rubbing shoulders with Michel Troisgros of Le Maison Troisgros in Roanne, France; Thomas Keller of the French Laundry in Yountville, California and working under the guidance of Roger Verge at Le Moulin de Mougin, in Mougin, France.
He describes his culinary style as developing yet regressive for treasuring the old ways of preparing food whilst constantly coming up with new techniques. In keeping with the minimalist, contemporary feel of Lebombo, Drake concentrates on unrefined flavours and textures, whilst keeping presentations pure and simple.
Prior to Drake's inclusion in the Singita family, he worked as Junior Sous Chef under Garth Stroebel at Cape Town's leading Mount Nelson Hotel. Other career highlights include his year as Chef de Partie at the Emirates Towers in Dubai as well as working at the Hotel Eileen Iarmain in Isle of Skye, Scotland.
To find out more about Clinton Drake go to www.singita.com.