After listening to Jane chat about food at !Khwa Ttu, Carmen told me more about her life and philosophies. This led to Jane Wallace answering a few questions about herself.
Who has been the most influential person in your life?
There are 2, my Mum, a real ‘just get it done’ lady. The one that the whole extended family turned to. Then my Nana ( my dads mum). She always found time to listen.
What started you on the path of cooking?
My Nana, her kitchen is one of my earliest memories. Anyone who came through the the door got fed. Her kitchen table was the place to be. Nana up to her elbows in flour, dispensing advice, tea and sympathy or a scolding.
Which three ingredients could you not live without?
Butter, olive oil, homemade grape jelly ( a spoonful of two just gives so many things a lift)
Which of your kitchen tools would you take with you anywhere and everywhere?
Crumbs, I already do carry my favourite knife (how do folk manage with knives that haven’t seen a sharpener since they were new?). I hate to admit to having packed my trusty old Mouli a few times.
Do you have any pet peeves in the kitchen?
Too many gadgets taking up too much work space. If it’s not in use everyday, it shouldn’t be there. I’m also painfully pedantic about composting and recycling, I can get very twitchy when things get thrown the wrong way.
Which meal is your all time favourite?
Sunday lunch with all our boys and their other halves. It doesn’t happen very often these days as we are spread about in a few countries, so it’s fabulous when it does.
Which restaurant could you visit over and over again?
Oooooo, we tend to go to restaurants depending on what we feel like eating, we have favorites for certain dishes.
Locally, Bread and Wine is always a pleasure, lovely atmosphere, informed service and a menu that makes choices difficult! Avontuur for duck. Sit outside under the vines and enjoy. 95 Keerom when we’re in town is a regular…….and the list goes on…and on….so many choices and so little time.
However, there’s a very basic outdoor café right on the old port of Jaffa, Tel Aviv. They serve 25 little dishes of meze with freshly baked flat bread. You need nothing else. Sit and people watch and pick your way through the days selection.
Les Halles, downtown New York bistro, busy and bustling, real old fashioned good food and service.
If you could only have one recipe book, which one would it be?
Over the years, like so many of us, I have built up my hand scribbled note book. That goes everywhere with me. If the choice was a ‘proper’ book then having a look at the condition of books on my shelf, I think it would have to be Claudia Roden’s Mediterranean book, as it shows the most use.
If you could work alongside one chef for a day who would that be?
Nico Ladenis, such passion alongside a tremendous precision. He made himself, long before the TV chefs he created a larger than life presence.
Which ingredient will you not eat or cook with?
I don’t eat Pork, but on occasions we do cook it. I will not use milk veal, purely as I hate the way it’s produced.
What is on top of your bucket list?
We want to spend more time travelling and eating in India. There’s such huge variety around the different regions it could take several more trips to even feel that we have scratched the surface.
What is your food philosophy?
Food is for sharing, eating is a social occasion. The food on the plate is only part of the story. Sharing a meal is, taking the time to sit, chat, catch up and enjoy a little time together.
Any parting words for the readers?
Eat what you enjoy. Don’t feel you have to follow fashion. Food is supposed to be a pleasure not a guilt trip.
Disclosure: This interview was facilitated by Carmen Lerm from West Coast Way. This post is in line with my blogging policy.
What I blogged October 28: