At a young age I became aware of the importance of food and its power to bring people together, to nourish more than the stomach. Our house was the family focal point and although we would gather religiously for the Sunday family feast known as the Braii it became apparent that the food set the stage for the stories; the loving, the fighting, meeting new friends and sharing life with my aunties, uncles, cousins and siblings. The Sunday Braii is a family tradition my parents brought here from South Africa, translated it simply means, to barbeque, however back home it would be on the beach and if at the house grilling would always be over the open fire. I suppose that’s why to this day I have two open fire pits and three barbeques at my house. I’m proud to say that the family tradition is alive and well and being passed down to our children. If you drop in at my house on any given Sunday chances are you’ll eat too much, drink too much, and laugh too much and of course great music and dancing complete the Braii. So when people ask me what is the best meal I’ve ever had is, I respond with, “The meal I’m going to have this Sunday,” so you can see for me the meal is the sharing of food and life.
I suppose that my grass roots approach to food came from my beautiful mother. Growing up we always ate well. During the week usually a hearty pot of curry or a stew graced our dinner table almost every protein we ate had bones in it, nothing went to waste and subsequently the flavours were incredible. Even at a young age my Canadian friends joined us for dinner on a regular basis. It wasn’t until I ate at their houses that I found out why. The food I grew up on was strongly influenced by our culture, which is very diverse born in South Africa we are known as Cape Coloureds, a mixture of the indigenous African Isixhosa’s, Malaysian Slaves, Indian, Dutch and English settlers. We ate Asian stir frys, Malaysian and East Indian Curries, Roti, Naan& Chipalis, Indo dishes like Nasi Goering, Brianni’s& Satays and of course British& Dutch European fare. Roasts included Beef, Pork and Foul. Born and raised by the ocean we had access to the freshest of seafood from Periwinkles, Prawns, Razor Clams to Chukka (squid) and Game Fish. In our backyard we had a Mango tree, a Lime tree and Cactus Pears. The abundance of exotic fruit was intoxicating. Local meat included Spring Boc, Kudo, Antalopes, Horse and of course Steer. So now you can see why food is part of my DNA. With so many cultural influences and so many different pursuits coupled with the African zest for life music, dance and lets not forget some of the best Brandy, Sherry and wine in the world I really had no choice. To celebrate the magic of food and drink is who I am. I urge you to share my passion.