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Your lifestyle, your quirk
Cooking can be hard work, but it can also become a passion and a huge part of who you are. Food brings everyone together. It is a bond that makes everyone happy. During good times or sad times, food celebrates life, family and friends.
I want to share some of the moments that make up my experiences and my love for cooking and food.
I was born in South Africa. One of my first memories was with my nannies eating their traditional food: monkeygland sauce (a sweet, tomato-based barbecue sauce) and pap (pap, pronounced pup, is an Afrikaans word that means cornmeal porridge) that is cooked to look like mashed potatoes and then served at a barbecue (a braai, in Afrikaans) with grilled meats and this delicious monkeygland sauce poured over it. To this day I can still taste the flavors and remember how much I loved it.
My mother is an amazing cook! She taught me to love everything about cooking and how it brings family together. From her I learned the art of presentation and the setting of a gracious table: elegant and formal with silver and crystal and starched linens, and flowers tumbling from a silver epergne at the center of the table, or a casual colorful brunch with geraniums and begonias and ivy trails spilling onto a turquoise and coral background. I learned how to create the mood and set the scene with the look and the menu and the ambience, because eating enjoins all five senses, not only our sense of taste and sight. Each detail, from the napkins' twist to the placement of the glasses, enhances the dining experience.
I have lived in and visited several different countries and experienced many different types of food, and planned and managed a variety of events such as wedding, bar mitzvahs, and parties and promotional events.
I have lived in Mexico and interned for an amazing chef who taught me that food preparation always comes from your heart. There I learned colonial Mexican cooking using mole rich and thick with up to 40 ingredients: chopped and pulverized and blended into thick pools of chocolate brown sauce, or colorful tomato and cilantro and onion-based salsas.
I then graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, where I was formally trained in the classic American and French styles of food preparation.
I have had the most amazing mentors, from a wedding planner to chefs. I have been blessed. I have worked in so many amazing places from a riverboat in Tunica, Mississippi to Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico.
I plan on sharing this all with you...
Until next time,