Have you ever wondered who and what is behind the inspiration of the food we eat?
A week or so ago I had the pleasure of seeing Chris Tustian, Executive Chef at Kloofzicht Lodge in action. I observed him smiling, laughing and talking about food to a potential bride and groom at their pre-wedding Dinner. His passion really shined through and this got me thinking about where one finds the inspiration to be a chef.
I spent some time with each one of the Guvon Hotels & Spas Executive chefs to find out where they got their passion to become a chef! Each of them referenced their family, either a grandparent or parent, who inspired them to become a chef. They were all fascinated by food from at a young age and obsessed about the way in which food reached the cutting board to how it reflects on the plate and palette. As they were sharing some of their favourite food memories, it reminded me of the great meals my mom and grandmother would cook. I especially enjoyed the trifle and gammon, which they made each Christmas.
As each chef got their inspiration from a significant person in their life, they continued their training through an apprentice program or by attending Guvon Academy or a Culinary Institute and have had the opportunities to work and gain experience in various hotels and restaurants. It is my belief that cooking attracts unique spirits, and through my experience, people don’t choose to become cooks and chefs, this profession chooses them! Destiny must apply to all, who make a decision to spend their life on their feet, bent over a hot stove, with sweat rolling off their brow, cuts & blisters and from the tip of their fingers to the edge of their elbows, and smelling of food or yesterday’s garlic
After our stroll down memory lane, I asked them about the food that they prefer to cook. Each one of them had a few specialties, and they all agreed that when it comes to preparing meals, their excitement is driven by passion, creativity and producing food from raw and local produce, using nothing but the finest ingredients. For them being able to create an experience through food for someone is what brings a smile to their face at the end of the day. As I sat listening to their stories, it became clear that each of our Executive Chefs is passionate about creating an experience that is filled with joy and laughter.
Saturday 18 August, on the unofficial Chefs Appreciation Day, it is the perfect time to reflect on the importance of cooks and chefs to everyone. These kitchen warriors are focused and passionate about what they do. They are dedicated and sacrifice a “normal” to creating those amazing dishes for each of us to savour and enjoy. It is this commitment to creativity and service that makes today an important time to pause and give them thanks.
If you are a professional or self-proclaimed chef, let us know what inspires you and your favourite dish to make in the comments below!