My first chef tasting judge for my student's exams is Nardia Adams, one of my closest friends whereby we met when training and got out first job placement together. She owns Fudart. What she does… or should I say - what doesn’t she do?
"To be a successful chef requires self assurance. It’s about putting yourself out there and I am so proud of Cheri for taking this challenge. The buns are truly delicious - your family and friends will be calling for more."
With rugby season in full swing, Costas believes his Asian-inspired, sticky, chicken wings are the perfect snack with a cold beer and the rugby. “Chicken wings have always been a favourite of mine and I enjoy experimenting with Asian flavours,” he said. “I use sweet, sour, bitter and salty combinations in a variety of ways,“ he adds.
Trizanne Kodi's mom has worked in a professional kitchen, so this adds to her understanding of the industry and sets her in a good position for what is to come. “Ever since I was a little girl I've stood, side by side, with my mum in the kitchen,” Trizanne says. “Before coming to chef school, she taught me all I know about food. I’m sharing her celery soup recipe, passed down to me and, whenever we've had guests, we have served it. I hope, with winter coming up, this recipe will be made, shared and enjoyed by your family and friends.” This dish intrigued me because, of all available vegetables, fresh celery is one I really don’t enjoy. Trizanne’s soup, however, is the best version of celery I have ever tasted. I suggest you try it.
Brynn shares his delicious venison burger patties wrapped in bacon. “This recipe is nothing fancy, however, if cooked over an open fire the smoke enhances the flavours and leaves you wanting more,” he says. “For me this sitting-around-a-blazing-fire-and-exchanging-stories style of eating is about transporting family and friends into the wilderness. The whole experience is one that my family and I have enjoyed repeatedly. I urge you to get out there, become one with nature and all it offers. The great outdoors inspires me and foraging for flavours motivates me. Since I can remember I have known what I can and can’t eat in nature - simply by observing the animals and their behaviour. Perhaps this is the reason I have huge respect for the animals I hunt and utilise every part, possible.”
Andiswa works well, developing recipes on the Elba cookers here at the school. She chooses to share her Chakalaka recipe. It’s one of her favourite dishes because “it’s simple yet delicious”. She started making it at a very young age and, over the years, experimentation with flavours has changed her original recipe. Sometimes it was too spicy, other times too hot. She knew she needed balance - mixed spice and coconut delivered a spicy sweetness. “A function at home is not complete without a chakalaka dish. The ingredients vary from person to person, so does the spiciness. It’s, therefore, a dish you can easily make your own,” Andiswa says.
This scrumptious carrot cake recipe is an old, family recipe that we traditionally make during Easter. It is definitely a favourite, and one of the first dishes my mom taught me to make. My gran taught my mom to make it and I’m sure you will agree that it’s one of the easiest and most delicious cakes.
Beef Wellington is my all-time favourite. I taught myself how to make it back in high school, and since then it's been a repeated success with family and friends - like come on, who wouldn't enjoy a good piece of fillet? This dish may look incredibly difficult but, fear not, the recipe I have makes it a breeze. The puff pastry can be made from scratch or, for the worker-bees, bought puff pastry is totally acceptable. I’m confident this will make it to your all-time-favourite list, too.
Jonathan Kapp is sharing a recipe for a Wayfarer whole trout. In the students’ first week we visited many of our suppliers including Wayfarer Trout. Clearly, the beauty of this farm captured Jonathan and stimulated a desire to make this dish.
Connor Benn, of Kloof in KwaZulu-Natal, was the first male to join the school. His friendly smile and enthusiasm for food are enchanting. Connor’s gran’s potato salad, taught to him when he was eight years old, is his firm favourite. It takes him back to family Sunday braais. His dad was responsible for cooking the lamb chops, his mother made the “most delicious” garlic bread and he provided the salad. “It was always a winner,” he admits, as he displays that captivating grin.
Rebecca Bourhill, of Rustenburg in North West Province, would spend her holidays working with me - like every holiday from the age of 16. Her life is food and her enthusiasm is very evident. A close-knit family, Granny Iris would make this dish to celebrate her son’s visits from the army, and it became a family favourite. “Bobotie is a typical Cape Malay dish with an egg custard topping. "My gran would make it using mutton mince and later changed to half mutton and half beef because of the expense factor. I now use pure beef and find that a fattier mince works best for the flavour that one gets,” she explains.
Arnie is sharing his family’s Sheba Sauce recipe which is a delicious tomato-based relish. It has been a favourite for as long as he can remember, and can be served with meat or eggs or even as a tantalising spread on a sandwich. Arnie believed it was invented by his gran or his mother, but he later learned that it was begged off a family friend who could not - or would not - disclose its origin.
Recently, I always take the chicken wings off the roast when serving my portion, small juicy and something to bite on. And so the idea of a Weber starter tasting, to feed the hunger pains, of Weber seared Chicken Wings with Chakalaka and Chilli-Salsa is something I know I would be taking more than two to nibble on.
For something a little unusual try as an arrival drink: “Amahewu”. How I have interrupted this Weber roasting Pineapple, chilling and serving within a craft beer. I believe Amahewu is a fermented drink with mealie meal and pineapple.
Mira and her team made this most delicious beetroot borsch, my palate was surprised at the simple deliciousness of this together with the complex dimensions within this little bowl. I’m not hugely fond of any sorts of ‘beetroot soups’ so I would never have ordered this but what a special tasting gift.
For those with a seriously sweet tooth. Italian meringue is smooth and glossy; to make it, you need a sugar thermometer. Did you know that in baking, ‘romany’ is a term used to describe a chocolate-coconut biscuit?
Hummus, a thick paste made from ground chickpeas and sesame seed, made originally in the Middle East, is always in my fridge. It compliments meat dishes and is delicious with a selection of cheeses and dips.