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  • Brett Hilton Barber


Kings Walden Garden Manor recently relaunched the kitchen with renowned Chef, Laaika Moosa and her new vision of ‘Food as Medicine’. Laaika Moosa fell in love with Kings Walden when her parents took her there for lunch during the late 90’s when Belgian chef Steven Jacobs was leasing the property. Laaika says, ‘I remember having a sneak-look through the kitchen door, and there was Steven, tall and sophisticated, dressed in his apron and chef’s hat, listening to loud classical music and waving his arms around while he attended to the pots on the stove. That’s when the dream started for me - that one day I could have Kings Walden as my base, and would be able to do justice to the beautiful views and legacy of the property with amazing food.’

Having resettled in Tzaneen after living in Cape Town for many years and travelling extensively to add to her culinary skills, Laaika has rekindled that old dream and is now in charge of the Kings Walden kitchen. Along with chefs Lizzie Phokungwane (who was initially trained by Steven Jacobs) and James Molepo, Laaika has reworked the traditional Kings Walden menu into a “Farm to Plate” offering that includes a delicious mix of contemporary food concepts that have added spice to the mix and has inspired us to relaunch our kitchen garden.

Laaika returned to Tzaneen from Cape Town to support her mother after losing her father and brother during the pandemic. The family catering business is renowned throughout Limpopo for events and functions and its reputation is growing, so this had Laaika knocking on our door.

She came to Kings Walden in January this year with a clear message: ‘I need a venue, I want that to be Kings Walden. Hand over your kitchen’. The decision wasn’t hard to make as the synergies were apparent and the synchronicity was evident.

Laaika’s arrival coincided with another major development at Kings Walden. Marike and Hannes Bezuidenhout, owner of the established Dutch travel agency, Grandioos Afrika have become a majority partner at Kings Walden with the vision of developing the gracious homestead and beautiful subtropical gardens into a centre of healing. This dovetails perfectly with Laaika’s concept of food as medicine which lies at the core of the new approach.

Kings Walden’s new signature dish, Laaika’s Rib Eye Steak, may not be the standard definition of medicine but it is food for the soul. Laaika’s particular skill is in infusing the traditional with the contemporary, and Kings Walden’s menu now extends to snacks and light lunches with a creative twist that will delight any palate. Laaika is full of excitement for the future, saying, ‘I think people are really tired of pizzas and burgers so are looking for something new and the positive side of being in a small town is that word spreads fast.’

If you have a festive occasion or are looking for a new food experience in a spectacular setting, book with Laaika at For accommodation bookings, connect with Kings Walden on 015 307 3262 | check out


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