I'm Tam Kirkwood: Food Lover, Maker and Collaborator.
I specialise in making delicious and delightful food in wild places through creative food concepts, menu design, styling and cook training (amongst other things).
I grew up in rural Zululand (South Africa) and from a young age, I understood the power of delicious food to bring people together for celebration, commiseration, or simply nourishment.
For as long as I can remember, I have obsessed over food and loved cooking. I am passionate about delicious, simple food that is inspired by global flavours, but speaks a local language. Even while doing my MSc in International Security and then working in Conflict Resolution & Development- cooking was always something I loved to do.
After a few years working in the UK and across Africa – I decided to follow my passion of making people happy through food professionally and co-founded a Durban-based food business. Offering creative food consulting, catering, pop-ups, events and markets- we became well-known for delivering gorgeous food in the most unlikely places.
Over time, my passion for Africa, desire to impart skills, share my experience and (of course) work in wild places that inspire- I decided to focus all of my energy on providing creative, collaborative consulting services to the luxury hospitality industry.
So, for the past nine years- I have focussed predominantly on safari clients- and have collaborated with mobile safari camps, small private bush camps, bigger lodges and independent boutique hotels from South Africa, to Zimbabwe, Namibia, Zambia and Botswana – all to create food that is memorable and above all delicious. I have worked with clients who embrace the collaborative style of my services- and together we take on the challenge of “delivering deliciousness”.
Along the way, I’ve taken various professional and domestic courses around the world – from Uruguay to Italy on various specialities- from curry to cured meats, and my food education continues with each day and each new adventure. I invest a lot of energy into understanding produce, and I am passionate about food farming and kitchen gardening. I love exploring the markets in rural African towns – and connecting with communities about cultural food and the delicious histories of their lives. Bringing African flavours and a sense of “African identity” to the plate is something I really enjoy doing.
Collabor|ATE Food is a homecoming to my childhood in the bush – and my dream of sharing delicious and delightful food in wild places.
Collabor|ATE Food is a creative food consultancy specialising in the luxury hospitality industry – safari in particular.
Some of the services we offer include:
SOME OF THE SERVICES WE OFFER:
CONCEPTS:creative food concepts, menu design, recipe development, customised recipe manuals and tailored training materials.
F&B SUPPORT: procurement support for all food & beverage related items (and facilitation or installation on site), human resource and recruitment support, industry benchmarking or market positioning, trend research and food styling advisory services.
ON-SITE WORK & TRAINING: site audits, cook training & workshops, systems review and optimisation, supply chain establishment, establishment of kitchen gardens and best practices.
To find out more about what we do and how we do it – contact us
WHY WORK WITH US
We have a growing team of Collaborators – from Butchers to Bakers, Sommeliers and Gin Fanatics and more – who support our research, workshop and training material content development.
We believe in real collaboration where clients are part of the creative process- and our training style is not only engaging, but clients can feel the sense of energy, passion and investment into their teams and ultimately guest experiences. To read more about what our clients say click here.
As lovers of the bush, as well as believers in getting to know our clients, we make ourselves available to spend longer periods of time on-site to get the work done at a pace that allows for sustainable results. Also, this sometimes results in fewer trips and high travel costs.
Having travelled Southern Africa extensively, we’re able to create networks and build supplier relations for our clients. ‘Off the beaten track’ and ‘thinking out of the box’ is our forté.
Our guest centric approach has resulted in a track record of unique and memorable food and beverage products across Africa.
To collaborATE with us, please get in touch, email us
I love Africa, her people, places and wild spaces – the bush and safari adventures are in my blood. I relish the challenge and satisfaction that comes with working in remote, off-the-beaten-track locations and within a market that inherently demands spirit and creativity to create memorable food. This is why I love what I do.
~ TAM KIRKWOOD, FOUNDER OF COLLABOR|ATE FOOD
“It felt as though Tamara stepped into our company and stood beside us in our uniforms, working as part of our team to help us realise our vision of our lodges all being different to one another, yet all speaking the same language.”
~ Operations Manager, safari properties in Zimbabwe & Zambia
“Tamara’s food concept and subsequent menus were practical and deliverable with staff who had no formal training and very little experience and we have found our guest feedback has improved substantially since our chefs realise the value and role they play in delivering the most memorable safari experiences!”
~ General Manager, safari lodge in South Africa
“Tam’s passion and enthusiasm for food and safari are tangible and she has an incredible ability to simplify things (right from stock systems, to sauces and styling), yet trains teams to produce sophisticated ‘bush cuisine’ that has improved our overall guest experience dramatically!”
~ Operations Manager, safari lodge in Botswana