Meet Our Chefs
Meet Our Chef Team
Chef Craig Elliot
Job title: Executive Chef Unilever Food Solutions SA
"In the past few years that I have been with Unilever Food Solutions – a company that provides culinary solutions to you our valued customers, I have had the great privilege of working with a great team of dedicated and creative chefs.
We know and understand how demanding your customers can be and share your passion for food. Unilever Food Solutions understand that trends come and go. Flavour fusions are on the increase and garnishing techniques are becoming more creative and individual. Nowadays convenience products are rapidly filling up pantry shelves, we hope that the selection of recipes found on this website will get your creative juices going and give you ideas when you create your own menus."
Chef Mary Worthington
Job title: Regional Customer Chef – Durban
South African by birth and having grown up on a farm with many fond memories of marvelous home cooking and an abundance of fresh produce, Mary feels she has her mother to thank for laying the foundations for a career in food.
Mary completed her National Diploma in Food and Clothing Technology at DUT, having specialized in large scale catering. She did her in-service training at Robertson's Spice, and went on to joining Fedics, a large out source catering company. With them she had the opportunity to work in all sectors of their business, managing retail restaurants, industrial catering outlets, a large private hospital and prestigious corporate catering contracts where she catered for many VP dignitaries and overseas clientele.
Mary then started a small but successful outside catering business and 5 years later rejoined Fedics as a Projects manager, winning Nedcor's contractor of the year. This was a very prestigious award as it was audited against other catering competitors. Not having started her career off as a chef, she began to realize that cooking was not just a hobby but something she is passionate about.
Mary then moved into her role as Regional Chef for KZN, responsible for setting food standards for the region. She then took up the challenging post as Senior Chef, Toyota SA, overseeing the production of 6000 meals per day to 17 satelite canteens.
Mary is a chef's kind of chef who believes that good food should be tasty, wholesome and healthy, whether it's a snack of a gourmet meal. Mary says "when cooking, the important thing is to have fun and never be afraid to share those most gaurded secrets."
As a chef in Unilever Food Solutions, Mary looks forward to sharing her experiences with other chefs in the industry.
Chef Bradley Kavanagh
Job title: Regional Customer Chef – Durban
Brad Kavanagh is a highly self motivated and 'hungry' chef. He has the very open attitude and believes that no matter who it is that is preparing a meal, it is possible learn something from them, be it how not to do something, or how to make something rather ordinary look 'sexy'.
His overseas travels have educated his palate and increased his awareness of how convenience foods have their purpose in the industry. Brad says, "Although some of the best food I have tasted has been made from the freshest available products, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to differentiate fresh from convenience. This makes me extremely excited about my new post as Regional Customer Chef at Unilever, which gives me the chance to experiment and take convenience products to the extreme in applications."
Having recently moved from a position where he trained aspiring chefs, he feels that the sky is the limit where recipes and ideas are concerned. "In the past there was a definite line between what was 'correct' and 'acceptable', however over the past couple of year, these boundaries have been pushed, allowing chefs to experiment allowing customer palates to be tantalised and teased way beyond the imagination. It is where we are going to take cuisine in the future that excites me and keeps my passion burning."
Chef Heidi Heckmann
Job title: Regional Customer Chef – Cape Town
Heidi has been with Unilever Food Solutions since 2003 is very well known for stirring up a storm with all the right ingredients.
As a Chef, Heidi believes in sharing her knowledge and Passion for Food with customers and collegues alike.
As a Food Solutions Chef she is constantly developing recipes with Unilever Food Solutions extensive range of convenience products to best suit the customer and industries needs.
Heidi's Philosophy in Life echoes in her cooking and she believes in being open minded in what you do, tackle challenges head on with a open hands approach and never be afraid to experiment and explore....
Chef Pinky Linah Maruping
Job title: Regional Customer Chef – Gauteng
Pinky graduated from the Johannesburg University of Technology Hotel School with a National Diploma in Food Service Management. She then went on to study at the Prue Leith College of Food and Wine in Pretoria where she completed her National Diploma in Food and Wine.
Pinky has since worked in numerous establishments and gained a vast amount of industry experience. Starting out as chef de partie at Irene Country Lodge, she moved to Glenshiel Country Lodge in Limpopo where she held the position of sous chef, and then onto a head chef position at the Blue Bay Café in Plettenberg Bay before returning to Johannesburg where she took up residence as sous chef at The Michelangelo Hotel in Sandton. Here she was responsible for service at Piccolo Mondo Restaurant.
A stint overseas followed where Pinky thoroughly enjoyed the adventure of working for the Royal Caribbean Cruise Liners in the Caribbean Islands for two and a half years. Returning to South Africa, Pinky was appointed as executive sous chef at OR Tambo Intercontinental Airport Sun hotel, where she worked for a short while before moving over to Tigerbrands Out of Home Solutions as a research and development chef. Here she was responsible for new innovations, development of new product bench top prototypes, continuous product improvement, and drafting of recipe specifications, and notes a highlight of this time being when she would see products that she had worked on being sold in retail outlets.
Pinky has recently been appointed Regional Customer Manager for Unilever Food Solutions, and with her desire to succeed in everything that she does, as well as her determination and commitment to delivering excellence, she is a welcome addition to the Unilever team.
Pinky has a very adventurous palate and enjoys visiting towns or cities and enjoys eating in establishments that give her an authentic experience of tastes and flavours, whether in South Africa or overseas. As a chef, Pinky prides herself in her ability to fuse together ingredients to create unique dishes or products.
“It’s a good feeling to be able to use quality fresh produce, but convenience food is out there whether we like it or not”, says Pinky. “For this reason, and due to ever changing trends and needs within industry, it is very important to produce quality convenience products that provide the consumer with a product that is as close to the traditional dish as possible, while at the same time providing vitality.”
Chef Tebogo Ramatsui
Job title: Regional Customer Chef – Gauteng
Having been brought up in a family that loves entertaining coupled with my Mother’s soulful meals at home. I was inspired to follow a career in the hospitality industry after completing my Matric
I did a three year Food Service Management Diploma at Pretoria Technikon (Now T.U.T) from 1993.
I Started out as an assistant chef at the Main Campus Restaurant and soon moved to an exclusive Illyria Guest in Waterkloof Pretoria.
I went on to work as a personal chef for a Family in Pretoria then got a great opportunity to be part of South African Airways’ on-Board Chefs Programme where I had a lot of fun travelling and preparing dishes in First Class.
I then joined Airchefs as a Sous Chef managing production of different Airline Meals until I was offered an opportunity to be trained as a Teppanyaki Chef at The Hilton Hotel in Sandton, this was one of the most satisfying moves for me and I learned quite a lot from Chef Patres kimai and Chef Benigno sta Ana about Asian cuisine and their culture.
Ground Crew in-Flight offered me a Head Chef position at their Lanseria Airport Facility to manage the Wings restaurant and develop menus for Sun Air as well as manage the production of the in-flight meals.
After consulting with some associates, we decided to start our own in-flight catering business for the Lanseria Airport market and it was a success until after a few bad business decisions and misfortunes we had to shut down.
With what’s left of my confidence, I started a small restaurant with a childhood friend in Atteridgeville and it was well received and became a very popular venue serving traditional meals.
In 2006 I joined Gham Gourmet at Nedbank head office in Sandton as a Banqueting Chef; I had the pleasure of working for Chef Heinz Brunner with Chef Warren Murray-Brown as the Executive Chef.
I had a need to try something different and took on a position at Edulis Foods as a Sales Representative. It was a totally different environment for me supplying Imported Italian products including olive oils, canned tomatoes and specializing in Exotic mushrooms.
One of the Directors at Edulis was opening a Central distribution Centre for The old fashioned fish and Chips franchise and roped me in to assist in getting their franchisees to see the benefit of getting their ingredients from the distribution centre and having uniformity in the franchise group.
In 2010 First National bank Group Catering offered me an opportunity to head their Rand Merchant Bank Unit in Sandton as the Executive Chef; it was an exciting and fulfilling period for me and was fortunate to have a great team working with me.
In May 2013 I joined Unilever Food Solutions as a Regional Customer Chef and very excited about my new role, looking forward to the adventures and lessons to be learned.