Alida Ryder is well known in South African food blogging circles as Simply Delicious. I met Alida last year at the annual Food and Wine Bloggers Indaba, and this year Alida gave an interesting talk, which I will review during the course of the year on my blog.
Who has been the most influential person in your life?
I would have to say firstly my mom. She taught me to be a compassionate and kind person and I strive everyday to be patient like she was.
What started you on the path of cooking?
I’ve always loved cooking but the bug really bit the first time I watched Jamie Oliver’s Naked Chef. I must’ve been around 14 at the time and that paired with my mom’s willingness to allow me to play in the kitchen really inspired me to get more creative with food. My first food memories start at 4/5 when I helped my gran bake cookies and cook Sunday lunches. I was raised in a family of food lovers so I always say it’s in my blood.
Which three ingredients could you not live without?
Fresh garlic, chilli and lemon.
Which of your kitchen tools would you take with you anywhere and everywhere?
My Wusthof chef’s knife, my Kenwood food processor and a good, sharp microplain.
Do you have any pet peeves in the kitchen?
I get quite irritated when the kitchen is crowded with family members, etc. I like to have space when I cook and another is when people open the oven or lift a lid off a pot to see what I’m cooking. That makes my blood boil.
Which meal is your all time favourite?
I adore brunch. I love that I can everything from Carpaccio to pancakes in the same meal and that whilst sipping on a cocktail.
Which restaurant could you visit over and over again?
I’m quite obsessed with Hemelhuijs in Cape Town and in Pretoria I really adore Kream.
If you could only have one recipe book, which one would it be?
Oh, that is such an unfair question. It would be a toss-up between Nigella’s Kitchen and Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Dairies. Both are absolutely beautifully written and contain good, honest, homey food which is what I love most.
If you could work alongside one chef for a day who would that be?
Heston Blumenthal. Just to see how he comes up with his incredible creations must be so inspiring.
Which ingredient will you not eat or cook with?
I don’t like Brussel sprouts but there’s nothing I won’t try at least once.
What is on top of your bucket list?
To eat my way through NYC, Italy, France & Greece. In that order.
What is your food philosophy?
Simple & delicious which is why I called my blog and my book that. I believe that food doesn’t have to be finicky or fancy to be delicious and I believe that a home-cooked meal, made with love is more delicious than anything you can eat in a restaurant.
Any parting words for the readers?
Like I said in my book, I hope that Simple & Delicious will inspire you to that make your kitchen your playground. I hope you enjoy cooking from this book, as much as I did, creating it.
Alida has recently published a recipe book so do look out for it in your local bookstore. I will be reviewing this recipe book soon. I have learnt through this book that Alida and I have a lot in common.