When I was asked to give away tickets to the Taste of Christmas event I immediately said yes, as I have been going to the Taste of Cape Town events since the very beginning. The first year we went, we were given tickets by a friend of mine, and each year I have been lucky enough to have been given tickets and so my agreeing to hosting a giveaway on my blog is my way of paying it forward. I included a biography on Justine Drake in my most recent give away and this prompted me to ask her to complete the interview questions. It is really great to learn more about her.
Who has been the most influential person in your life?
Whew, that’s a difficult one. Probably my sister who brought me up, for her generosity of spirit and my partner, Marc, who has taught me not to sweat the small stuff and loves me through it all, always.
What started you on the path of cooking?
My family – they were/are all food mad!
Which three ingredients could you not live without?
Tomatoes (I adore them), olive oil and lemons
Which of your kitchen tools would you take with you anywhere and everywhere?
A good chefs knife, a wok and a hand held blender.
Do you have any pet peeves in the kitchen?
No, I’m pretty relaxed. Although I do get a bit irritated when I see people overcooking a good piece of meat!
Which meal is your all time favourite?
A really good salad nicoise, roast chicken, boiled crayfish, caprese salad – the list is endless, I could never have a favourite
Which restaurant could you visit over and over again?
St John in London and Retho Mathis’ alp-top restaurant in St Moritz – it’s on the top of a ski slope – the whole affair is beyond pretentious, the food wildly unaffordable but fab, the views utterly and completely breathtaking and the people watching ever fascinating. After that just about any hole in wall on the streets of Vietnam will do.
If you could only have one recipe book, which one would it be?
Ugh…it would have to be Kylie Kwong’s Simple Chinese Cooking – because I don’t seem to be able to cook Chinese very well without it! But to be honest I could really never choose just one.
If you could work alongside one chef for a day who would that be?
Probably Jamie Oliver – his food is wonderful – clever and innovative while still simple, he’s funny, down to earth and I have great respect for his school eating programme.
Which ingredient will you not eat or cook with?
I’m not mad about cream – but there’s really nothing I don’t eat or won’t use. Wait, maybe lard!
What is on top of your bucket list?
Mexico – for a myriad reasons…and New York for a myriad more.
What is your food philosophy?
Keep it simple, fresh and cook it with love.
Any parting words for the readers?
Don’t take yourself or your food too seriously.