Michelle Engelbrecht - An Unabashed Chocoholic
I have never seen anyone so excited about chocolate; it makes her whole face light up. I, therefore, was surprised when she elected to share a cheesecake recipe; but this is a very special formula – one she created for her father. Think cheesecake with salted popcorn, caramel sauce and pretzels. “My dad saw a picture of a caramel popcorn cheesecake and asked me if I could make it, so I decided to create my personal version,” explains Englebrecht. “I used my own cheesecake recipe and made my own salted caramel as well as the caramel popcorn. I really enjoy the combination of salty and sweet, and also the fact that it has my signature on it. I sprinkle pretzels on the cheesecake, adding to the flavour and texture.“
Testing – and tasting – this cheesecake was delightfully memorable. Besides this photo shoot, Michelle has been the talented photographer behind most images taken at the school, this year. Get It magazine, Brettenwood Coastal Estate magazine, Wonderbag, Oryx Salt, Wedgewood Nougat, Food & Home, Taste come to mind, as well as all the launches, and The School Outlet monthly photos. She also took our last graduation pictures. Her willingness to record moments in time has added another level of stress to an already intense course but she has taken the pressure in her stride - always with the biggest smile. And she has the loudest laugh in the class. After a daily 80-minute drive to and from school Michelle’s weekends are spent cooking up a mighty storm of deliciousness. She is always trying out dishes, practising recipes and improving her skills.
With solid family backing, Michelle has a quiet confidence which I look forward to seeing develop when she is in the industry. She overcomes difficulties by focusing on the task. Being mature beyond her years makes her unique. For the practical placement segment of the school’s curriculum she chose La Petite Colombe, in Franshoek, under John Norris Rogers, who has been awarded a Top 30 Eat Out Mercedes Benz Restaurant Award. The Top 20 and Top 10 awards will be announced in November at the ceremony in Cape Town, where my school’s students have been invited to create the canapés – for the second consecutive year. What an honour.
As days flash by, excitement over the January 2019 intake of students grows. Young aspiring chefs, each with their own character – so much learning we all have ahead of us. There is never a dull moment.
Please let me know if you have any foodie questions, especially if they are related to the festive season; and remember to enquire about The School Outlet’s Christmas-inspired menu, during November and December – the perfect celebration with friends, family and work colleagues. We look forward to feedback regarding Michelle’s new-age, sweet-and-savoury dessert that gives an alternative flair to a popular dish.
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