Martin Kobald, Austrian-born Chef extraordinaire began his culinary career in his home country, after completing his training with outstanding achievement. Kobald honed and developed his food and beverage skills as he worked his way up from Trainee Chef to Chef de Partie, Sous Chef, and finally, Head of Operations at various Austrian hotels and restaurants. In 1988, Kobald immigrated to South Africa, were he was recruited as Chef de Partie at Southern Sun. He soon became Executive Head Chef for Holiday Inn Garden Court based at Southern Sun’s Head Office and was part of the team to manage the official opening of at least fourteen of the Holiday Inn Garden Courts nationwide. Following this, he was then appointed Executive Head Chef of the Johannesburg Sun Garden Court before becoming the Food & Beverage Project Manager for Southern Sun / Garden Court and the Sandton Holiday Inn Garden Court. In 1995 his entrepreneurial dream was realised when he established an Austrian delicatessen, Kobald’s Catering.
Based on the success of this initiative, he then purchased the picturesque 33 High Street Restaurant & Bar, situated in Modderfontein and for five years delighted Gauteng restaurant goers with his traditional Austrian and international fare. Following his foray in the restaurant business, Kobald went on to start Nucleus Conference and Function Venues, before joining Fedics as an independent consultant in 2004. A year later he accepted a permanent position as National Executive Chef of the organisation. Further to his business successes and since 1988, Kobald has been actively involved with the South African Chefs Association (SACA), having served as Chairman for the Gauteng region from 1993 to 1999, after which he was appointed to the Board of Directors responsible for managing the portfolio of overseas promotions. Kobald spent the next two years promoting South African cuisine across the globe, reaching countries as widespread as Thailand, United States, United Emirates, China, Australia, Germany, Russia and Canada.
In 2002, he was elected Vice President of the South African Chefs Association (SACA), and in October 2003 he took over the reigns as President of the 30-year old Association, a position he held for six years. Kobald has participated in a number of local and international competitions. Some of his other sizzling career achievements include leading a South African culinary promotion in Cairo and Taipei, as well as managing the logistics for the South African National Culinary Team, which competed in the world-renowned ScotHot Competition in the late 1990s. He has held the position as Team Manager for the team which won double gold in the International Hotel & Gastro Competition in Austria in 2005, winning second place overall. Kobald currently holds the title of Honorary President of the South African Chefs Association (SACA). He also serves as the Global Chairman for the World Chefs Without Borders organisation. Kobald currently is the Convener of the Bidvest World Chefs Tour Against Hunger organisation and together with over 260 Chefs from 45 countries raised a staggering R8 million. This achievement allows the organisation to feed over 5 000 children daily for a period of 5 years.
The organisation received in the region of R30 million worth of national and international media coverage and still continues to do so. In addition to this, Kobald has accepted the new title of National Corporate endorsement Executive Chef for Royal Mnandi on a consultancy bases, thus allowing further scope and development of his own personal brand, ChefMLK. He also recently became the brand ambassador and endorsing Executive Chef for Salton, Salton Elite, Russell Hobbs, Wiltshire Knifes and Appliances South Africa. Added to his culinary stable, was the launch of his own Coffee brand through the Gourmet Roaster “Common Grounds” and a selection of spice rubs “ChefMLk Spices”. Following his passion for cooking, in June 2013, Kobald opened up the “ChefMLK School of Cooking” which is based in Kempton Park offering various cooking courses to the “Home Cook”, team building for Corporates or hosting a private function for that special celebration with a further two branches opened up in Durban and George early 2015 and a further branch opening in Windhoek – Namibia in Jan 2016.
His slogan says it all “Cook for Life. Cook for Fun!” Kobald has appeared on various TV programmes, namely: “Salton Bite” www.salton.co.za “Bring & Bring” on DSTV Kyknet as Co-Host and Judge “Clover Little Big Cook Off” series 1 & 2 on SABC 3 as Judge. Currently Talks for S3 in 2016 “Chopped SA” which is currently been flighted on DSTV Kobald together with 5 Executive Chefs, raised R250 000-00 for the “World Chefs Tour Against Hunger” when they took on the challenge of climbing and conquering Kilimanjaro in August 2013. In June 2014, Kobald was awarded the title of “Global Master Chef” from the Global Master Chef Society. An honour and achievement to become the third in South Africa to receive this accolade behind the masters, Dr Bill Gallagher and Executive Chef Manfred Muellers. Over and above this, Kobald is an “A” Category International Judge which entitles him to judge various WACS (World Association of Chefs Societies) International Culinary Competitions worldwide. Kobald has visited Korea, India, Hong Kong, Germany, just to name a few. In 2014 alone, Kobald judged competitions in Singapore, Egypt, Turkey with Australia and Dubai on the cards for later on in the year.