KILIMANJARO – ADVENTURE CUISINE
It’s not just about the mountain; it’s also about the food. A sumptuous mound of rice and assorted ingredients spiced with African red peppers engenders Tusker leader Eddie Frank to ask the gathered gourmands, “Are you guys enjoying the pili pili?”
Francois Langlois, a veteran Tusker climber, answers in the affirmative praising Tusker’s food and giving the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) partial credit for its inspiration.
CIA in Tanzania
A CIA chef in a tall white chef’s hat is surrounded by 10 Tusker red clad chefs. His name is James Hanyzeski, and he is among 65 Master Chefs in the U.S. Eddie has contracted with to inspire his chefs so Tusker clients get the top cuisine on Kilimanjaro. Hanyzeski has taught all over the world, and has come to Tanzania not just to lend his expertise to Tusker’s chefs, but to climb the mountain with them, cooking as they go.
In the classroom he shows Tusker’s chefs how to properly cut meat. “This is where you must have your knife super-sharp guys,” he tells the Tusker crew who hang on his every word. Master Chef Hanyzeski explains the importance of various ingredients and how to accessorize fajitas with avocados and lemon juice.
“All ten Tusker chefs are employed exclusively by Tusker and they all have natural talent and enthusiasm for cooking and preparing meals at high altitude,” Eddie says.
Those fajitas they learned how to prepare with Master Chef James are devoured at 15,000 feet by Tusker climbers who seek not only nourishment but also great taste. A tight shot of a truly mouthwatering image – smoked Alaskan Salmon topped with caviar, could have been taken at a Michelin four star. It’s simplicity on a silver chow plate with Africa’s tallest peak outside the tent makes for a true mountain delicacy.
Farm to Tented Table
Colorfully garbed African women display fruits and vegetables at the local market. The bananas are in huge clumps attached to the stalks they grew on. Green peppers along with exotic local veggies sit on a blanket. “We source all our meat, fish, fruits and vegetables from the fresh markets at the foot of Kilimanjaro. They are delivered straight from Tanzania’s farms to Tusker’s tables,” Eddie says.
A tight shot of Tusker’s lunch table, a colorful African table cloth with neatly set eating implements is ready for the diners. The unzipped tent opening reveals the wild African bush. The juxtaposition of civilized dining tent and African wildness is what Tusker is all about.
The diners are enthusiastic. “This guac is simply amazing,” as a tight shot of a bowl filled with the green goodness is passed. Eddie’s goal of keeping his climbers fully nourished with sumptuous food for the long days on the trail is achieved upon the critics reviews. “C’est Magnifique,” says a climber with a bright smile as the glasses clink in a post dinner salute to the Tusker chefs.