The award-winning chef and founding owner of The Test Kitchen and The Pot Luck Club, 44, on Banting, braaied marshmallows and lazy Sundays.
I was born and raised in a small village called Punnetts Town in East Sussex, where my parents still live.
We moved to Cape Town in 2006, after having lived in Asia for four-and-a-half years.
What’s not to love about Cape Town? I love everything about it: the beautiful oceans, forests, mountains, great wine, good food, friendly people…
When out-of-towners come to town, I take them to Cape Point Vineyards – I really enjoy it there. It’s a quick place to go that’s local and I love their sauvignon blanc. I’d drive to Stellenbosch and take them to George Jardine’s place, [Jordan], Overture or Rust en Vrede for a posh dinner. In town, I’d take them to The Greenhouse at The Cellars-Hohenort, 95 Keerom and Carne SA.
I recently had a fantastic lunch at Liam Tomlin’s Chefs Warehouse and Canteen.
An annual Cape Town event I would love to attend but haven’t got there yet is Design Indaba. I’ve been meaning to go every year since I got to Cape Town, but something always crops up…
We had a lovely weekend away in Elgin recently at Wildekrans Country House. It’s a beautiful old Cape Dutch manor, where myself, my wife and my boy were able to chill. We had lunch at The Pool Room at Oak Valley wine estate, which we thoroughly enjoyed. I also really enjoy Wellington because it’s so quiet.
There’s still so much I want to do and explore in the Cape. I really want to get out to Elands Bay – the guys at work are organising a surf trip there in October and I’m dead keen to go. I’d also like to explore the West Coast properly, and go as far north as Namibia – that’ll be stunning. There’s still so much to do…
A good red wine for a special occasion is Vriesenhof Kallista. I had the 82 and 94 recently and I was blown away.
I’ve just finished conceptualising a range of petits fours. I nickel-plated some barbed wire to make little copper spikes. And then I stuck some lime-zest and rose-petal cotton candy to the wire. And inside are marshmallows flavoured with burnt aubergine and sesame – I basically took the braaied marshmallow concept and accentuated it.
On Sundays we usually spend the morning chilling at home – I’ll kick the ball around in the garden with my boy. And then we usually head out for lunch somewhere…
The Banting diet has made an enormous difference to some people, which is great. I do get a little irritated when people come to The Test Kitchen for a six-course meal and ask for it without sugar or starch. We usually ask: “Is this an allergy or a preference?” because if we remove the sugar from everything then the taste experience is going to be diminished. I also believe that you should have carbs from time to time – if you’re too radical it can be detrimental to your wellbeing.
Every chef worth his/her weight in gold needs to be extremely hard-working, have a keen eye for detail and a healthy amount of obsession.
Straight after this, I’m going to change our market stand. I make röstis at the Neighbourgoods Market every Saturday – I’ve been doing it for years – and they recently moved us, so I need to go and get that sorted.