Sometimes in life you meet people you can be friends with straight away. When I first started blogging I ‘met’ a pretty little thing, waiting for the king, down in the jungle room. Angeliqueca and I became instant friends and I could not wait to meet her in real life when we attended the first ever Food Bloggers Indaba. I have so loved learning more about my friend through this interview!
Who has been the most influential person in your life?
I have had so many influential people in my life, as well as so many things. My father who has been such a source of inspiration & knowledge, my mother who always keeps me grounded (and can’t cook), Chef Louis who use to cook me duck a l’orange for my birthday every year in my teens, and of course my husband who does nothing but give me unconditional love & happiness. Life influences my cooking…
What started you on the path of cooking?
My earliest memory I have of being influenced into cheffing was when I used to watch my father (retired chef) cut mushrooms, and I wanted to cut just like him, I wanted to make the same sounds with my knife. Cheffing was not my first choice, I wanted to do FOH (which I did for a while), however if it’s in your blood, it’s in your blood, both my parents have been wonderfully supportive with my career choices, and was always there to remind me that I am following my dream, even when in the tough days – no Christmas’s at home, missing birthdays due to work, or any other special family time I couldn’t attend.
Which three ingredients could you not live without?
Tomatoes, fresh herbs, garlic
Which of your kitchen tools would you take with you anywhere and everywhere?
My knives. I have a knife fetish. Sometimes I will just look at pictures of knives. My obsession is my small chef knife. I use it for just about everything, so much so that I have removed it from my knives I use in the industrial kitchen, just so I give the rest of my knives a chance to work.
Do you have any pet peeves in the kitchen?
Kitchen cowboys. Just because you spent 18 months in culinary school, does not mean you know anything. In the kitchen, I believe you are always learning, not only from chefs high up on the totem pole, but from everyone. I have a commis chef who taught me the secret to great banana bread…open your mind to learning…
Which meal is your all time favourite?
I love Italian. Part of me really wants to be an Italian mama. I love the food & wine culture, the way food is eaten and enjoyed over long periods of times all family style, love the hard work that goes into preparing the meal, and the joy of eating the meal with your friends and family.
Apart from anything Italian, I love a great springbok shank (lamb if springbok is not on the menu), also love a great curry. Ok….just to many too mention, so I will stick with those…
Which restaurant could you visit over and over again?
I have a theory with restaurants. I go 3 times. First time to check it out, get an idea of what’s on the menu, the second time is to give the restaurant a real chance, to see if it is consistent, third time is to really judge it…and give it a final chance. If after 3 times I don’t like a place, then the chances of me going again or recommending it would be slim.
A restaurant that I absolutely love is Crossways Country Kitchen. You can read about my experience on my blog.
If you could only have one recipe book, which one would it be?
Shoo…my tablet so I can go online and use Google.
If you could work alongside one chef for a day who would that be?
This is a hard one. I have to say, keeping it local, Jenny Morris, Justin Bonello (Just because I am not an outdoorsy kind of girl and will be awesome to be taken out of my comfort zone), Chantel Dartnall and of course the one and only, Jamie Oliver. I love the passion they have for food without the shouting and egotistical ways that is often labeled to a chef. I really enjoy the company of food lovers, people who eat without any qualms.
Which ingredient will you not eat or cook with?
Tripe, the idea and smell already has me cringing. Otherwise I am pretty much open to just about anything, and have tested my boundaries. I have tried things like Mopani worms, pig brain, elephant goulash, rabbit liver…etc
What is on top of your bucket list?
Learning to scuba dive
What is your food philosophy?
Keep it simple & versatile, and cook with your heart, and while doing all this…laugh!
Any parting words for the readers?
If you love to cook, don’t be a chef, cheffing is more than just standing in front of a stove and creating. It’s hard, thankless work, but yet, still so rewarding.
For those of you who don’t recognize the phrase, they are from the lyrics Walking In Memphis by Marc Cohn.