Hello, it’s me.

Hello, it’s me.

It’s been a long time. Hello. I’m Jill. Remember me? I’m here again. Sitting, sipping on a very large tonic water with loads of ice. Something about the hot weather that’s hit us the past two days, has brought a sedated feeling to my head. Yet, I felt like I needed to somehow, write.

The last time I posted, I had just finished up a big project in Dubai, a lot was making sense, but also not so much. I also thought I was “somewhere” in my life, but then I wasn’t. You know how it goes. And yet, food remained the consistent love affair. I also realised that I might not be good at a lot of things, but I’m an amazing chef. That you can’t take away from me.

Ok. Onto other things. So I moved to Dubai. I’ve been there for the past two and a half years. I’ve developed about 500+ plates of food, some made the cut, others didn’t. We opened a Mediterranean shop, called, Avli. We also opened another three cafes and worked on a lot more small projects. Obviously cooking for menus in both regions. We went through Covid….we going through Covid. We rebuilding, lean, clean, sophisticated simplicity. We cried. Sometimes. And shouted. Vented a lot. But hey. Family things. Can’t always be sunshine and roses. Although, when it is that, it’s fucking amazing.

I’ve had down time the past few weeks and I’ve come to some conclusions. I mean, maybe cliché. But ok. Deal with it.

Time in Dubai has taught me that I work a lot. It’s also taught me that I give of myself to easily. I want to please. Obviously. But maybe (probably) to my own detriment. Covid came and smacked me in the face (we all share this) / finally we have something more in common). He? It? She? Taught me, CALM DOWN. Read the book (KINDLE), talk to the people you love – like REALLY TALK, look them in the eye and have a conversation. MAKE THE PHONE CALL. TELL THEM YOU LOVE THEM EVERY MOMENT YOU CAN. Give them ALL the kisses. Do the yoga. Eat the nice food. (Can we also talk about the genius of an airfryer? (Showing my age) / ok. Another time). Have all the wine you want (only if you can manage it). Eat the chocolate. And if you don’t want to do anything today. That’s ok. We have too much pressure on us to always be ontop of everything. Performing to reach every deadline since someone asked our parents “is she walking yet?”. Just take it easy.

Urgh! Let me reign it in. Trying to just say, I’m still here. (I mean, duh) I’m going to post more. TRY TO POST MORE. Obviously more food than just ramblings of the heart.

Thanks for sticking around

J x

NEW order! 

NEW order! 

I’ve learnt that I can teach, and that I have patience. I’ve learnt that working with a person that is your polar opposite can inspire you, and push you. I’ve learnt that traveling to locations for work is not always glamorous. I’ve learnt that developing a menu and training it, comes with an roller coaster of emotional baggage! I’ve also learnt that you are only as strong as your team, and when you prove that you actually know what you are doing, you don’t have to prove that you “belong” (I think that makes sense) 

I’ve also learnt to not judge a face, but take time to understand their brain and their emotions. It’s so disfunctional sometimes. You shout, scream, fight, argue, and you come back the next day and do it all over again. 

I’ve understood that not everyone is fast, and that they don’t all get it the first time around. I’ve tried to lower my voice, and talk instead of shouting like a complete lunatic. I’ve vented and tried to understand the entire story without getting hot headed (doesn’t work sometimes) because as humans, we always believe that we are right. 

It’s really a task. I’m away from home. I miss my creature comforts. I miss the convenience of sleeping in on a Sunday or just a random trip to Woolies. I miss my family and friends, and most of all for some strange reason, my pillow. In saying all of that, the past seven weeks, have been an intense, overwhelming, sometimes draining, always tiring, hurdle after hurdle of complete chaos and energy and personalities and insane talent.  

Here the thing. Take 40 people, from all over the world. Some with experience, others not so much. Put them in a kitchen. Train them. Copy, paste, repeat, for 18 hours a day. 

Here’s the magic. Watch them come together. Watch them fight, watch them have moments of meltdown, watch them create, watch them inspire. Watch them get it right. Watch their faces when you say hello, watch their reaction when you tell them “well done”

Kitchen staff will forever be pirates. We are a “dysfunctional” batch of people, put into a space, with knives, fire and hot oil. We graft. Hard. We find energy somewhere to keep going, plate after plate, after plate. 

The magic happens when we come together. Nothing takes the feeling away of a “good service” or that sauce that comes out right, or even that soufflé that doesn’t flop! 

Dubai. You have been tough. Hard. Hectic. Draining. Tiring. But thank you, for all the magic you’ve added to my life and for introducing me to a team that I don’t want to leave. 

Natasha, thank you for allowing me to have my way on most things and for meeting me half way a lot of the time. Thank you for your guidance and understanding and for the freedom to be myself in the kitchen. 

Just excuse the little shout outs to my kitchen team but they all deserve one

Elze. Oh goodness! Where do I start!!!! Thank you for coming on board. Thank you for your reassuring hugs and for allowing this menu to be so fucking amazing. I’m so proud that I was able to work with you, it was such a learning curve for me, and I will be forever thankful! 

Tanith. Thank you for everything. For allowing me to vent, for accommodating me in a space that would be yours to run, for allowing me to make changes, for holding my hand, for your guidance. Thank you for you constant support and for your AMAZING balance that you bring to my complete craziness sometimes. 

Johan. Thank you for your dedication to this menu and for making sure that all my needs and wants where made a reality. Thank you for allowing me to change products and suppliers and for not hesitating in making sure that everything on this menu is really phenomenal. 

Liberty, Danilo, Chris, Raymar, Kabelo, Virginia, Noks and Rowell. Thank you for your hard work, for your hearts, for your concern, for your smiles, for your ideas, for you commitment. For all your random stories and little comments, for your constant talking and support. You are really the soldiers that have gone to war with me. 

Sangiwe, Bianca, Jamie, Manuel, Francis, Ronel and Juliet. I’m sure you are so over table bread, plating lobster pasta, ricotta hot cakes, breakfast vol-au-Vent and making hamburgers, but thank you for your hard work and your smiling faces. 

Zandi, Pamela, Raquel, Con, Jay, Nelly, Lexter and Mukai. I’ve watched you all gain more and more confidence in what you do and how you run your sections. Thank you for the laughs, the countless Texas salads and calamari starters. 

My Chef line. Blessing, Roy, Thembani, Valentine, Christopher, Moses, Ozzy and Raymond. Thank you for understanding. Thank you for your patience and thank you for your dedication to making sure the lemon butter sauce is just right, and that the ten thousand Lobster catalan that we’ve served comes out perfectly. 

Ali and Nishaal, sorry for the headaches and thank you for making sure our stock arrives so that we can cook. 

Kairat and Charles. You guys are really such a big part of what happens behind the scenes. Thank you for being patient, for understanding, and for dealing with ALL of our attitudes. 

My little babies in Pastry. Bae, Joseph and Nelly. Thank you for learning everything so quickly from Elze, and recreating her vision everyday. 

Lastly, Mateus. Thank goodness that you finally arrived! Thank you for bearing with our (mine) temperaments and for understanding all the chaos. You’ve already added value and your ideas and direction have already brought about change. 

Ok. Back to work. NEW ORDER!!!!! 

(Also, I don’t have photos with my entire team, but stay tuned for that on my Instagram) 

Bucket list

Bucket list

Do you have one? I do. I remember thinking, what the hell is a bucket list? And then my dad said to me, its stuff to do before you “kick the bucket”. English. So strange sometimes. So basically things to get done before you die. 

Let’s say, places to visit, things to eat, goals to achieve. My list mostly consists of things to eat, secondary to that, it’s places to visit so that I can eat said things. Somewhere along the list, there are a few random names. Those names might not mean much to most, I’m a chef, my list includes a handful of these rockstars that are in the industry. A lot of them, maninstream now, thanks to Netflix, social media, MasterChef Australia, but when I started in this industry, unless you knew their names, you didn’t REALLY now them.
On top of that list. Marco Pierre White 

White Heat, was gifted to me by a family member, about 15 years ago. I remember looking at this chef on the cover. This rough looking, gaunt, badass. His photo almost looked like a mugshot. I read the little blurb at the back and thought, OK!, this could be interesting. 

In that moment, not once did I think that this man would be the “driving force” behind my career as a chef. I say that, knowing that my family pushed me to succeed. My dad drove me to work at 4 in the morning when I needed an extra 20 minutes to sleep. My mom finally gave up her kitchen to me and was happy to just wash up while I did countless recipe tests. They were and still are my biggest support system, but a “driving force”, like maybe that little voice in my head. That push, internally, when I was about to give up. His quotes and pieces of advise are on constant replay in my train of thought. 

Do it with love. Keep it simple. Learn. Be humble. Stay focused. Allow your emotions to be your inspiration. 

I’m never going to be that chef that takes 3 elements, puts it on a plate and tells you to enjoy your meal. I cook with butter, I season with salt, I use wine, I slow cook, I smell, I taste, I listen. I also over cater and theres always left overs. I cooked from my heart and let my mind follow after. I want you to sit at a table and see that glazed look of satisfaction when you take your first bite. I want to leave you with a memory, a moment, a feeling. 

Marco does that. He cooks from the heart. Honest, classical, natural, simple. Key factors: good ingredients, simple flavors, elevated to bring out the best in a simple piece of fish or steak. Yet, don’t think that this makes it simple. 

Ever had a really bad bolognaise? Overcooked pasta, horrible sauce, no seasoning? Has that memory stuck with you?  That’s one of the most basic meat sauces in an Italian kitchen, yet, if it’s made shitty, it’s a complete mess, but making it with good meat, fresh herbs, sun ripe tomatoes, good wine, it gets elevated to something that’s worth remembering. 

Simple doesn’t always mean it’s easy. Simple can sometimes be really difficult to execute. 

Ok, going off track here. So, where was I? 

Marco. In a nutshell, all I wanted to be. Everything I looked up to, everything I admired in a chef and a person. He was at the top of his game when I was in diapers. When I finally read the book and discovered who he was, I was like a star struck dummy. I wanted more, read more, learned more. Anything about him, that I could know, I knew. 

Yesterday, I met him. 

For the past 14 years, this chef has set the bar for me. His precision, flavors, drive, passion, have moulded my precision, flavors, drive and passion. He cooked. A simple veloute made with shellfish stock. Pasta, lobster, loads of fresh basil, salt. That was it. I sat in a corner, savoring the moment. 

I got up to meet him and felt an entire wave of emotion hit me, then I just started crying. He hugged me, wipe a tear away, told me that it will be ok. He was so worried. I could hardly talk. He must of looked at me and thought “What a strange little girl” I looked at him in that moment and everything made sense. 

The countless hours of dedication, the burn marks, the cuts, the sore back, the bad shoulder, the sore feet, the stress. They burnt sauce, the fixed sauce, the 500 turned carrots, the 30kgs of mash, the 25L of split mayonnaise, the shouting, the heat. The tension, the chefs angers, the laughing after service, the countless flops, yet the satisfaction of one that just stays perfect. The complaints, the compliments, the fussy eater, the jealous co worker, the sabotage, the intimidation, the hours and hours and hours of sacrifice, the years missed, the days missed, the summers on the beach missed. In those few moments of meeting him, it all made sense. It all came back in flashes, and it was so completely overwhelming that I couldn’t contain the emotion. 

He invited me to be his guest today. Before the event, I sat in awe, while just watching him, talk, drink his coffee, smoke his cigarette. Thinking, he has no idea how much he has impacted my life and my journey in this industry. I sat with him for a few moments and thanked him, but I could not really put it into words. 

Sometimes a simple “thank you” is also just enough. 

Bucket list : less one 

Matcha making?

Matcha making?

And this is what happens when I have left over crinkle cookie dough, and Matcha powder from the cool guys and dolls at Get-Matcha

I have always been a big fan of loose leaf green tea, it’s aromatic and gorgeous and amazingly good for you. Along came Matcha. For those of you that are not aware of it, Matcha is a finely ground powder of specifically grown and processed green tea. It also has a very interesting growth process. It grows in the shade, and some how through science, this helps it produce more theanine and caffeine, these two combined, account for the calming effect that you might feel after drinking this amazing elixir. As with most teas, it comes in different grades and the greener looking and more earthy tasting Matcha, means its of the higher grade variety.


Ok, enough of the education. Onto the good stuff.

I’m not going to ramble on about it’s health benefits, you can read about that here Get-Matcha : reason being is because I have turned it into a frosting…for cookies!! Again, chef life and looking at just being different! Ha!

Besides using it in this decadent recipe, you can use Matcha in smoothie bowls, lattes, cappuccinos, ice creams, even in the biscuits itself…the list only ends when your imagination stops.


Right. The yummy goodness. Like I said, I had left over crinkle cookie mix, and if you haven’t eaten a crinkle cookie before, you are missing out…it is also so easy to make and it’s the perfect cookie for ice cream sandwiches, eating on its own, or filled with and type of yummy frosting. Head over to All Recipes to get my go to recipe for these. For this recipe, I did not use the icing sugar coating, I used it in the frosting!


So I thought, what can I do with Matcha, to make it different. What can I do that will make it even more appealing to the masses! (Also bearing in mind, to me, Matcha tastes much more earthier and robust than normal green tea, slightly bitter, with hints of grassy notes) so it’s not everyones cup of tea (I am hilarious!! Excuse the pun) … and in a moment of Pinterest searching (actually for recipes for my new inspired by menu) I found some photos of Matcha filled chocolate wafers…4 clicks later, I was on a webpage where a home cook, took shop bought biscuits and filled them with Matcha frosting. A few changes here and there and Hey, Presto! Matcha frosting was being made while biscuits were being baked.

Fun times…



Matcha Frosting

  • Servings: About 30 Sandwiches
  • Print

110g soft unsalted butter

3/4 cup icing sugar

1/4 cup cornflour

2 TBSP Culinary Grade Matcha or 1 TBSP Premium Grade Matcha

1/2 tsp Vanilla

A pinch of salt

2 TBSP of cream cheese

Place butter in a bowl mixer with a paddle attachment and slowly start whipping the butter until it becomes pale and fluffy.

In a separate bowl sieve your dry ingredients, to remove any lumps

Slowly start adding your dry ingredients to the butter, incorporating after every addition

Once you have added all the mix, pour in the vanilla, add the salt and cream cheese, and place the mixer on high. Whip again until it is fluffy

Place the frosting into a pipping bag and keep aside until needed


The cornflour helps almost balance out the sweetness, not just of the icing sugar, but also of the biscuit itself, so you have a light and fluffy frosting, without it being overtly sweet and then the soft taste of the Matcha just sends me over the edge! I did think after, that if you top some vanilla cupakes with this frosting, it would also make a heavenly afternoon treat!


It is really worth a shot, and with the addition of Matcha, it gives your sweet treats a healthier spin (ever so slightly) !! But you will still have all the goodness that it has to offer running through your body!






My heart on a plate

My heart on a plate

Ok, so here’s the thing. Development, like  I have mentioned before, is my absolute best thing. I love taking a raw ingredient and making it something amazing (or not) and being able to see peoples reaction to what I put down in front of them.

My biggest project in my new job, so far, was developing a menu inspired by the tastes of the Mediterranean. Think, oregano, lemon, mint, olive oil. Up the anti, to make sure it’s contemporary without being too modern, that it’s packed with flavor and that half the team I work with are actually Cyprian…eeeeeeek! Also, the entire process. I have a menu team/committee, that does research on the theme or feel we are going for, they give me the research and then I do MORE research. I then come up with dishes, not 3 or 6, but like 80….again, eeeeeeeeeeek!!!!! Then we sit, and run through the dishes I have in mind, we talk about plating, I try to paint the picture, so that they can see my vision. I have photo references of certain things, or print outs of recipes. Ok. We figure out what works, tweek some ideas, cut some dishes. Right. So we have 40 know. (Still Eek!)

Now for the fun.

I cook.

Each dish, with each component, with each garnish, with each flavor, with each issue, with each struggle, with each thing. Ha!

Then, I present. To our little panel. Tasha then tastes, and dissects, and critiques, and adds her flare. Then again, we sit, make changes, cut items, add items, get recipes, do more research, look at photos, sit with recipe books…and AGAIN, I cook and we go through this process until we are all happy.

The final tasting, I cooked about 38 dishes. Over the period of 5 hours. About 8 people tasted.

When I know something is good, I find myself really excited when I put that plate down. Sometimes though, I have doubt and I think, what the actual hell did i just make? Other times, I’m just like “Ok, no, back to the drawing board”

When I am doing these tastings, I don’t sleep, I hardly eat and I run off pure adrenaline, until I collapse into a chair, next to Tasha, she then hugs me and kisses my forehead. “Well done” she says, and I get emotional and almost start crying. Almost like a parent telling you how proud they might be. Because goodness grief, I basically just put myself on that table and made myself vulnerable to everyone that just tasted my food. Props go out to my menu team, Alex and Melpo, because sometimes, guidance, patience and understanding is also needed in a menu process!

You see. As chefs, we put ourselves on a plate. We want to create a memory for you. We want you to walk away with a feeling, a sensation. That sensation is one that stays with you. The memory lasts. Remember the first time you ate something that blew your mind? Can you associate the smell, the taste, the texture. Can you take yourself back to how you felt? Was it happiness? Were you content? Did it forever change the way you looked at that certain food? On the flip, can you remember tasting some that you didn’t like, and how that made you feel?

Food forever remains such a THING. We are always going to need it, we are always going to crave it. This makes my job easier, because it will always be in demand. BUT, we want it fresh, flavorsome, inventive. We want to be able to recall that first bite, that first taste, that first goose bump moment. We want to try to recreate it, to capture it in a bubble, to make it last.

That is the heart of it. That’s what gets me pumped and excited and enthusiastic. That’s what makes me love what I do





Let me pre-warn you, this is not a blog post about food, recipes or anything that will make your mouth water, this is just a little start to 2017 and how you always need to trust the timing of every path that you are on, of every person put infront of you, of every phonecall, conversation, chance encounter and most importantly, going with your gut instinct is actually better than overthinking things. 

Here’s the thing. Everyone knows, life throws you these curveballs and knocks your off your feet, and makes your wonder what the hell it is you are doing!? The curveballs come in two forms. One being negative the other positive, and obviously both come with major life lessons and you allow yourself the time to think about these things, reflect in it all, gather yourself, ask the questions that need to be asked, then you make decisions and you figure it all out. 

You either sit in a heap on the floor and cry your eyes out (which is allowed) or you gather yourself and move on. The positive curveball allows you to almost question wether all that’s right in your life now, is actually real? You ask yourself, “but what did I to do to deserve this?” Or “surely this is all a dream?” 

We have this ability to always question “the right” in our lives and not just take it and run for the hills. We are unable to acknowledge when things fall into place, and land in our laps. But here’s the thing, do you not think that there’s already been a complete build up to this? Everything happens for a reason, that’s ones of those “nag” sayings, that my mother always echoes, or that gets told to me when I am having a moment with my entire life. But it’s SO true. 

Last year, I walked out of a job, an actual “I’m done, I can’t, I’m over it”. That’s the short of the long…between empty promises and a completely draining work energy, I was just finished. I had lost weight, wasn’t eating or sleeping, and questioned my love for food, my passion to feed and my entire being as a chef. Also, that old thing about working in an industry that’s already so male dominated and being taken for a joke if you are a women, can also make you feel completely messed. 

After two weeks of feeling sorry for myself, ok, wait, not so much “feeling sorry for myself” more of a “I’ve never not had a job, what the actual fuck am I going to do now?”, type of mindset, I quickly had to figure out where my next salary was coming from. I had an amazing support structure in my previous boss, both him and his amazing girlfriend, gave me sound advise and kept me distracted, my family, supported me and became my back bone, with constant conversations and phone calls, and my sister and her boyfriend even flew out to come to me to help me keep some sort of sanity. (Leaving this job, or at least the build up to it, actually affected me more than anything has in the past few months, I was in a really bad space) Also, my friends rallied around me and I felt safe and secure in their support and love. 

Moving onto how there is ALWAYS a silver lining on that fucked storm cloud. 

Once I made my mind up that I would be ok, and survive, I reset my thinking to just be like “I’m fucking amazing” it all just took a turn in my favor.

I got to film on a local TV show, Top Billing, with one of my best friends, and we got to share that amazing journey together. Read Riyaadh’s story over at Supersetta , besides being an inspiration to me, he is the most amazing person and is honestly such a genuine soul. I love surrounding myself with people that support my journey so that I can be the cheerleader in theirs. 

I did a cook off for the team of an amazing restaurant franchise called tashas and landed my absolute dream job as their executive development chef. Anyone who knows me, and my life as a chef, knows that I am extremely passionate about development. I love taking ingredients and producing something spectacular, new and different. That’s mainly our jobs as chefs, but with this, there’s no pressure of being in a kitchen with 40 other staff members and being pressed for time. Don’t get me wrong, it comes with its own amount of stress and deadlines, but it’s more fulfilling to my soul. 

I went home to visit my family and did amazing private chef work in Cape Town over the December period and got to meet amazing people from all over the world. That is always a good thing, right? Right. 

I also found my amazing person, who I have known for sometime, but who I now see differently. 

I am in such a good place, mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. More than anything, my heart is happy. Like ecstatically, stupid “how do I manage to breathe” happy. I’m following this journey, taking it a day at a time, allowing myself to be swept up in all of it and embracing it hard. It’s so unlike me, I need lists and plans and confirmations, but, I think that because I’m finally in such a good space, I’m just like “oh well….wake up, breathe, drink coffee, repeat. 

Be blessed and stay tuned. ❤️

When life gets in the way 

When life gets in the way 

Whoa! So I haven’t been on here for the longest time! If you know me, you would find that strange, but you would also know that I’m back in industry and the hours of work are insane. I’m at a point now where wearing anything but a chefs jacket is such a pleasure that I get excited to just be able to go to the mall (which I’m not a fan of in general) 

Besides that, my days are still filled with the hustle and bustle of trying to make a name for myself, fill an Instagram, take good food photos, create recipes and manage to get some sleep. 

The recipes haven’t stopped, and the creative process is a daily occurrence, but I just have not had the time to sit, construct, and photograph for this little blog of mine. 

I looked at my Instagram the other day, and realized that it’s filled with other people’s/places food, and thought that my name should rather be “Food With Jill” and not “Food By Jill” 


Life is busy and I’m still out and about experiencing new things, tasting new dishes, being invited to events and launches and trying to be a cool person! 🙂 

What I do know is that, being a chef, is still very much what makes my heart happy. 

Everything that is food is what makes my pulse race, it sets my senses on edge, and it creates those endorphins that one might get when sky diving or finishing a hectic gym session (speaking of, I need to make time to get my ass in shape) 

So, I pledge (more to myself) that I will not forget about this platform that I have created, I will load more recipes (one again) and photos, because the followers and feedback that I got (once upon a time) actually did make me feel special and knowing that someone else (possibly you who is reading this) could take my recipe and recreate it in your own home! (That’s ridiculously cool) 

❤️ Jill 

Yes Chef!!

Yes Chef!!

I tend to not write about my daily life happenings and ramble about things that probably have no relevance to most, but today I thought that I would do some soul searching and put feelings to “page” and try to figure out in my brain, and mostly my heart, what it is about being in this industry that makes me stay. 

I could make it all fairy tales and happy endings by saying that it’s all about passion and that it feeds my “soul” or I could also say, it’s the rebel in me, that led me to this, chefs are a special breed of character and are normally the “outcasts”. We work in confined spaces and kitchens that are boiling, with people of all different colors and creeds, all chasing after the same goal, getting food out. I could say it’s the military precision of service or the poetry in motion, that plays out like a ballet, yet, at the end of the day, it’s all about this; it’s the shouting and screaming, the laughter and sometimes the crying, the raw emotion on someone’s face when they mess up an order, the adrenaline and the constant buzz, it’s the realization of what a dish would look like on a plate, the components coming together like a orchestra playing a master piece, the tastes and textures of a meal, the complete “high” that comes from sending 300 plates of food. It’s the satisfaction of seeing a full restaurant, knowing that you are about to get hammered, but you have your systems in place, you have your team behind you. It’s the dynamic of being able to think, on your toes, make decisions without batting an eyelid, and coorindiante the entire line, while trying to remain cool and calm and collected, because table 43 is a group of “gluten free, vegans, but eat meat on a Monday, that don’t want garlic or tomatoes or salt or life” on their plates. (Even though we love you guys)  
It is HARD work, we hear it all the time, how chefs burn out, how it takes a knock on your mental stability, how you can’t keep a grasp on reality, because most days, you are at work for 18 hours and you have no sense of what else is going on in the world. Try having a normal relationship, your partner better love you, like really REALLY love you. You tend to only have a sense of normality with the people you work with, hence why most of us date other chefs, or FOH managers. We tend to work hard, and play harder, so our vices sit in drugs or alcohol, but luckily, a lot of chefs these days, have a healthier idea of what works for their mind and bodies. 

Try working a 18 hour shift, that’s beyond draining and exhausting, then fit in a work out, then a date night, then a discussion about the lack of groceries in the fridge, then the reason why the laundry isn’t done…..and sleep!!!!! Then deal with family that ask you why you are single and make comments like “the clock is ticking”…the only clock that is ticking is the timer in my kitchen. 

The reality of all of this comes to play, when you leaving work at midnight, after brining the pork belly, roasting the lamb, checking all the fridges and making the creme brûlée, launching a new menu, making sure the staff are coping and managing, testing the ice cream, and making sure that the medium steak is medium, focusing on orders, making sure that there is stock, then also running to the shops because “maybe we might run out of mushrooms”, we become mothers to our staff, making sure that they have eaten and that they drink enough water, we become teachers, advisors and instructors, we become focused on shit that we never knew possible, like obsessing over a dessert construction that causes a constant battle of “how do we make this work?” to “how do we make this pretty?” !!!!!!!!!!   

This constant “idea” that the “normal” guest has on their mind that the kitchen is all pretty and looks something out of a TV set, is beyond me…(thanks Food Network) No one looks that pretty when the cook, (thanks Nigella) and no one pulls a 48 hour roast out of the oven, because, “oh, I made this one earlier”

We graft hard, days are filled with sweat, burns, cuts, coffee, cigarettes, copious amounts of water, photographic memory and everything in between, sometimes we don’t eat, (not your fault…just saying) we are on our feet the entire day and land up having constant neck, back, feet and leg problems, we have cuts on our hands that we don’t know about (squeeze a lemon) we have the strength of a super hero some days and then others are filled with trying to energize ourselves so that we can make it through the first 4 hours. We also need to deal with the amazing FOH, that don’t always wake up on the right side of the bed, managers that are annoying, owners and budgets and deadlines and meeting and suppliers, out of lamb or fuck up with an order and now we don’t have an entire dish on the menu. 


What I know for sure. This is my entire being, I would not be in any other industry, I would not cope in a office, I would cry if I worked in a cubicle. This is in my DNA, it’s my driving force, it gives me purpose, it feeds my soul, it makes me happy.  It’s a basic form of showing love, we feed someone to make sure they are  happy, able to survive, to fill them, we feed a baby to nourish them, to provide comfort, to make them contnet. The love for what we do translates to plate, we take pride in it, in how we present something, in how we “magically” combine flavors to provide you with a euphoric state, a state of utter enjoyment and fulfillment.  

It’s simple. Do something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. 

Ostrich Sosaties

Ostrich Sosaties

Sosaties are a traditional South African dish of meat (usually lamb or mutton) cooked on skewers. The term derives from sate (“skewered meat”) and saus (spicy sauce). It is of Cape Malay origin, used in Afrikaans, the primary language of the Cape Malays, and the word has gained greater circulation in South Africa. Marinated, cubed meat (usually lamb) is skewered and barbecued shish-kebab style.

So the task was set by Mediterranean Delicacies to create a locally inspired dish using their range of amazing products. You can go have a look at their website to see the full range. Given that South Africa has become this melting pot of diversity and culture, I had the option to go many ways. I could of gone very Cape Malay and made an amazing curry, or very retro and stuck to making stunning canapes and snacks, but nothing screams South Africa, like Braai…we even have a day set aside for it each year, it’s a staple in most households, and every one claims to do it best. The #AfroChic element to this, is that it’s a different take on “meat on a stick”, served with a gorgeous cous cous salad and bursting with flavor.

Processed with VSCO with e1 preset

Processed with VSCO with e1 preset

Using these four products from the range, two as a marinade, one as a dipping sauce and the other as part of the salad, you really don’t need loads of prep-time, its easy to pick up on your way home from work, or even to add to the trolley over the weekend, because you can find the range in allocated fridges in most supermarkets, including Pick ‘n Pay, Checkers and Spar.

The key element to making this a success is the marinade. You’ll have the earthy punch of coriander pesto, with the spicy kick of the chilli and garlic relish. Make the mix and generously coat your ostrich pieces, leaving it covered in the fridge for about 2 hours. (If you are pressed for time, half and hour would be cool, but have patience….make it amazing)


The cous cous salad can be made with rice, Bulgar wheat, or even pasta, but the addition of cous cous to this recipe makes it simple and easy!

Ok, so here is the run down.

  • Scroll to the end of this post and print the recipe
  • Go get all your ingredients
  • Light your fire, or grill.
  • Do your preparation
  • Put someone on Sosatie duty
  • Watch as your family and friends devour your yummy food!

Also, tag @medideli on social media so that they can see what you are making and creating with their awesome range!

Ostrich Sosaties

  • Servings: 7-8 sticks
  • Print

For the Sosaties

  • 500g of Ostrich cut into cubes
  • 2 TBSP of Coriander pesto
  • 2 tsp of Chilli and Garlic Relish
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Sosatie/Kebab sticks (if you are using wooden ones, soak them in water for half an hour, this prevents them burning on the flames)

For the salad

  • 2 cups of cooked Cous Cous (follow instructions on the box)
  • 1 jar of the Artichoke Salad, chopped
  • a handful of soft herbs, chopped (I used coriander and parsley)
  • 1 cup of baby roma tomatoes, cut
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Olive oil

To Serve

  • 1 tub of tzatziki
  • lemon wedges
  • extra coriander to garnish
  1. In a bowl, add your ostrich, and marinade mix, and season well with salt and pepper, as said before, leave aside to soak up all the yumminess. Once you’ve allowed marinading to happen, skewer the meat onto your prepared sticks and set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, add your cous cous, chopped artichoke salad, herbs, tomatoes and season well, with salt and pepper, and copious amounts of Olive oil.
  3. Once your fire/grill is ready, brush the sosaties with olive oil, and place them onto the grill. I gave mine about 5 minutes of the first side and then 3 once i flipped them, giving me the perfect medium.
  4. Prepare a big board or platter, layering your cous cous salad and topping them with the grilled Sosaties, topping those with tzatziki and fresh coriander stalks.
  5. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over all of this amazingness and serve immediately.


Sosatie Defintion from Wikipedia




Kale, chickpea and sweet potato cakes 

Kale, chickpea and sweet potato cakes 

I last posted a recipe in January and effectively it feels like a lifetime ago. The last three months have flown out of the window, and although loads has been happening, I feel like I’ve gotten nothing done! Do you think we can press the reset button and just go back to the 1st of January (without the hangover)  

This recipe was a quick one, developed over maybe 20 minutes using what I had in my fridge and pantry. That’s the best type of cooking, I believe, because you are able to experiment and create, which is always a good thing. 

Handle these babies with care, as they are fairly fragile, but pack power, crunch, and loads of flavor!  

Kale, chickpea and sweet potato cakes

  • 1 large sweet potato, roasted in the oven until soft, remove skin 
  • 3 big leaves of curly kale, stalks removed 
  • 1 cup of chickpeas 
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced 
  • 1 small chilli, chop finely 
  • 1 cup of peas (I blanched them in vegetable stock to just soften them) 
  • 3 purple spring onions 
  • A hand full of soft herbs, I used coriander and basil 
  • 1 cup of Panko crumbs / or normal bread crumbs 
  • 1 cup of white sesame seeds 

Process all the ingredients in a food processor, besides the breadcrumbs 

Season well with salt and pepper 

Remove from the food processor and add to a bowl. 

Add half the the breadcrumbs, you want a slightly firm, but not dense mixture, basically able to shaped but not too stiff. 

If you need to add more breadcrumbs, do so. 

Shape them as you big or small as you want, I got about 12 mini cakes 

Coat in sesame seeds 

Place on a greased tray and bake in an oven on 200C until they are slightly golden 

It’s a fragile cake, so handle with care