Inspiration is “all around”, especially “every morsel that you seek out” when travelling. A highlight from his many visits to India is “the tandoori meat and fish dripping marinade on the embers as they pluck the skewers out of the searing heat of the barrel”. Other times it’s “people telling you a twist for a certain dish (usually my boss… often right!)”, he says.
Greenhall believes it’s important to “think outside the box even with basic ingredients”. This is particularly crucial when the nearest supermarket is hundreds of kilometres away. Bulk vegetables and dry goods come on the Ilala, a rickety ferry that ploughs the length of Lake Malawi and visits Likoma twice a week. Perishables are flown in on the Cessna flights that transfer Kaya Mawa’s well-heeled guests from Lilongwe. However, “my favourite is picking straight from our garden,” he says. Currently they grow mostly herbs (including coriander, sage, thyme and four types of basil), lemongrass, chilli and several varieties of lettuce.
With new menus daily, how does he decide where to begin? “I walk up to a blank whiteboard and work backwards: I always start with a dessert decision then travel back to how the lunch should begin,” he says.