Tonderai Zvimba, Showbiz Reporter
Comedian Carl Joshua Ncube has now ventured into the tourism and hospitality industry full time, a decision he says he is proud of.
The renowned stand-up comedian who always had a passion for cooking worked as a waiter/kitchen assistant during his stay in the UK in 1997. This is where he nurtured his cooking passion and later started a cooking program “Carl Can Cook” on YouTube. He also fine-tuned his talent in Kadoma when he took over a rundown hotel there with his wife Nelsy.
Now resident in Victoria Falls, the comedian-cum-chef is the general manager and managing consultant of the Zambezi House properties which boast of a trendy up-market restaurant and bar in the resort town. Through his expertise, the restaurant has had a lot of new dishes and exciting concepts like the Chef’s Table being introduced, something that has made the place very popular among the town’s residents and tourists.
Besides working at Zambezi House, Carl has been highly active in the tourism sector, training people and coming up with various concepts and workshops to try and boost the country’s tourism. He has also taken advantage of his podcast and slot on Breeze FM, a Victoria Falls radio station, where he has a breakfast show on Saturday’s which he uses to educate people on activities they can do in the resort town and places where they can stay.
Chronicle Showbiz reporter, Tonderai Zvimba (TZ) had a chat with Carl Joshua (CJ) to get to know more about his new journey in the tourism and hospitality sector. Below are excerpts of the interview:
TZ: How did you start working for Zambezi House?
CJ: Basically, my relationship with the owners of Zambezi House started out with me cooking for guests in the African bush camps. I was in Kanga for a month cooking and doing comedy for guests and this is where the idea of the Chef’s Table was born where we’d create memorable experiences for people sitting around a table enjoying food. So when I moved to Vic Falls, I started doing The Chef’s Table at Zambezi House. An opportunity arose for me to take on the job as the general manager when their general manager was leaving. I was also given the role of managing consultant of their properties.
TZ: How has the experience been?
CJ: It has been fantastic. There’re so many restaurants here. When we were based in Kadoma, it was not difficult running a hotel, however in Victoria Falls, people have their game face on so it’s quite a different ball game. People here work with tourists and their standards and expectations are much higher so this has been quite a learning curve. So what I’ve decided to do is focus on what I’m good at, rather than focusing on what competitors are doing.
TZ: What are some of the challenges you have faced?
CJ: I cannot really talk about challenges as there have been a lot of opportunities. One of the things that we noticed is that there’s definitely a big training deficit in Victoria Falls – the town doesn’t have a university for example and I think it’s important to have an institution of learning here. We’ve tried addressing that by starting a virtual academy so that everyone here can learn about the tourism and hospitality sector.