It’s not every day you get to cook a meal on the beach with one of your favourite chefs, but I was lucky enough to experience exactly that after a recent art holiday in Paternoster. The chef du jour was none other than Suzi Holtzhausen from Gaaitjie Restaurant. And what better way to end off a week of R-and-R-and-Art than by spending a day foraging and cooking with a personal food hero?
I love the food at Gaaitjie and have described it before as ‘highly skilled love on a plate‘. There are no pretenses, which I find particularly refreshing – flavours combine with reason, textures serve a purpose and it’s all put together with a delicate touch. Still, I was intimidated at the thought of meeting the chef.
When 2015 rolled around I hit the ground running. Work was crazy with a lot of time spent on the road. I’d barely caught my breath when March arrived, and with it, an art holiday I’d booked last year with Ajay’s Art. I wasn’t in the mood for spending yet more time away from the office, my home or my comfortable routine, but I’d paid and there really was no way out of it. Reluctantly, I packed my bags and set off for Paternoster.
From the moment I met hosts Andre (Ajay) Jacobs and his partner, Hesther, I started to relax. Their attitude was casual and laid back, yet everything had been organised well in advance – from the accommodation and restaurant bookings, to art supplies and schedules. I soon realised that all that was expected of me for the next seven days was to show up, relax and learn, which is exactly what I did.
It had been 15 years since our last reunion, a bunch of old varsity friends getting together for a major catch up to fill in the blanks left untold on Facebook. All we had were three days in Hermanus and we needed to make them count!
Day 1: The Sisterhood gathers at La Vierge (the virgin) in the Hemel-en-Aarde valley – an irony not entirely lost on this bunch of middle-aged broads!
There’s a lot of hoopla on social media at the moment regarding Woolworths and their ethical and sustainability claims. I often shop at Woolies as it’s convenient, fits in with my busy work schedule and provides me with my butternut ready chopped – just the way I like it (although I wouldn’t mind if the pieces were halved again). Still, there’s no denying they’re a large corporation with a serious bottom line, so if it’s a guarantee you’re after, then you need to remove a few links from the supply chain.
When I found myself cooking for my Cape Town Clan last Sunday, I made sure to source my lamb from the one place I do trust implicitly with my carnivorous needs: Gogo’s Meat & Biltong Deli in Newlands.