Favourite quote? ‘A meal without wine is like a day without sunshine.’
Naming just one would be unfair, but I really love Terroir on the Kleine Zalze Wine Estate, Magica Roma in Pinelands, The Table Bay Hotel in Cape Town, The Food Barn in Noordhoek… my list is long!
Being a bush chef in one of the most beautiful countries in the world tell us what you do day to day and why you think you have the best job?
Listen, my day is spent between two things. When we’re out on the road I’m the happiest, but sometimes I get bogged down in the office, which is not my favourite part of the world, but a necessary evil. Why the best job? Many people have bucket lists…I have a bucket book and I’ve already gone through lots of my lists.
Being in the world of food, tell us the best bit of advice you have received while on your career journey.
Get your prep out of the way! You don’t want your friends to be enjoying themselves while you’re stuck slaving away in the kitchen. And always make sure you have great ingredients and that you know where it came from.
How did you get into your profession and where did your interest in food start?
My profession is two-fold. Obviously cook and television presenter. One I always had a passion for in terms of food and it grew out of the necessity of having to know what to do with the ocean’s bounty. The other is that I was fortunate to grow up in the film industry with my mom who was a producer so it was a natural progression.
What would you say to someone that wants to get into the world of professional cooking?
Bear in mind that you’re going to be working 18 hour days and get very little recognition. However, to understand the food alchemy is also amazing.
As we know if you work in food you always have to be at the top of your game and know all current trends at all times. How do you stay ahead and what inspires you every day?
I’m not really interested in trends in terms of cuisine; I’m more interested in where my food comes from. To stay ahead, I actually get out into these spaces. I meet the farmers and the producers of my food, and actually they provide my inspiration.
Having worked in many different locations, let us know what your favourite SA place was and why.
It’s always going to be the Wild Coast. It’s that sort of place in the world where when you drive out of cell phone reception when the bullshit world of debit orders, bonds and banks disappears and you can just be yourself.
Where is your most memorable sunset?
I’ve had sunsets everywhere I’ve gone and I think every one of them was memorable. Often I joke with my friends that I’ve seen more sunsets and sunrises than all of them put together.
You also work with many different spices from all over the world, name a few of your favourites and why.
Yes, I may work with all these different spices from all over, but it boils down to the really simple ones: Garlic, chilli, salt, pepper and butter.
What is your favourite piece of cooking equipment?
Which chefs inspire you and why?
That’s a difficult question for me. You can wind back the clock and I’ll tell you it’s the one and only Keith Floyd and then all the local cooks and chefs that I’ve met along my journey. That’s everything from other bush cooks right the way across to the Jackie Cameron’s of Hartford House.
As a creative you experiment with many different combinations, in a perfect world, what is next on your creative list? (inspire us)
Making food more accessible. In many respects I think so many of us have been robbed of what I call the forgotten knowledge of learning from our parents and our grandparents…how to cook, how to socialise. Next on my creative list is reminding us all how to get there. Get back to that stage to getting together with our families more and that kuier that comes from eating together.
Please give us a favourite recipe from your new book?
The Italian Potjie with Gnocchi