Neill Anthony was trained by chefs Gordon Ramsay and Marcus Wareing, and has cooked for some of the biggest celebrities in the South Africa, and the world. He spends about 4 months of every year in the UK cooking for IT Billionaires and under-the-radar film stars at secret locations. When he’s back in Cape Town, he hangs out in his bachelor pad in Observatory and cooks for his beautiful yoga-guru girlfriend and her very small dog.
Who has been the most influential person in your life?
My family is my biggest career inspiration and influence, as cliché as it sounds. My mother taught me the basics of food, cooking and baking, she is completely responsible for sparking my interests, in what has now become my life. My brothers and I spend hours together making, creating and enjoying food and my sister, like me, created a career around cooking. When we get together as a family, it’s a food festival, which continues to inspire and influence my career and my life.
What started you on the path of cooking?
I think I realised that cooking was something I really wanted to do professionally, when I visited Cape Town during my school holidays. I spent most of my holiday in the kitchen where my sister was working, just watching… completely inspired and influenced by what she was doing, I realised then, this was what I wanted to do with my life. A life around food.
Which three ingredients could you not live without?
That’s easy…Butter, Lemon and Olive Oil
Which of your kitchen tools would you take with you anywhere and everywhere?
My knives, nothing beats a really good, sharp knife.
Do you have any pet peeves in the kitchen?
Dirty Hands, dirty and messy kitchen are a no. Things need to be organised, clean and controlled.
Which meal is your all time favourite?
My most memorable and favourite meal of all time would be about 6 years ago at Corrigans of Mayfair. My friend and I Dave Underwood (we used to work together at the Groucho Club) visited for dinner and had a truly incredible meal. Simple, yet amazing flavours and food, starter of Oysters with ducks tongue, mains- stuffed pigs trotters, dessert- plum soufflés. Perfection in every bite.
Which restaurant would you visit over and over again?
LOCAL – chef’s warehouse
OVERSEAS – arbutus
If you could only have one recipe book, which one would it be?
White Heat by Marco Pierre White, it’s more than just a recipe book, it’s a story book, cook book, recipe book and a book that still continues to inspire me in my cooking career. They have just bought out the 20th Anniversary edition, which will soon form part of my collection.
If you could work alongside one chef for a day who would that be?
It would be a dream to work alongside Anthony Demetre for a day. Owner of Arbutus and other top eateries, Demetre is someone I look up to and would love to reach his level of cooking and innovation. He has an amazing ability to keep on trend, keep food real and maintain an outstanding level of flavour throughout every single dish.
Which ingredient will you not eat or cook with?
I am not the biggest fan of Okra, I feel it has no versatility and it slimy in texture (in a really bad way).
What is on top of your bucket list?
Season 2 of Private Chef Neill Anthony TV Series
What is your food philosophy?
KEEP IT SIMPLE, local and seasonal
Any parting words for the readers?
Cook from the heart, cook with love and enjoy every part of your food journey.
Disclosure: this interview was facilitated by Liané from Soapbox Communications & Events. The blurb at the beginning and the photograph were provided to me.
What I blogged June 24: