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) 

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. ❤️

Thought process. 

Thought process. 


Hello! Remember me? 

I haven’t posted recipes in such a long time, or even anything really.  I had a friend tell me the other day that she gets sad when she doesn’t see posts appear daily, she’s also probably one of the few people that I know that are actually attempting the recipes I put up. 

When I started this (all of two months ago) I was doing it as a creative outlet, for myself, as my main passion is being a chef. I’m not a stay at home mom (gold medals to you) or a “foodie” – this is actually my life. I’m not looking for blind inspiration (my term : when everything looks like everything else) – I create my own, I do try to make atleast 3 NEW recipes a day, then adapt, change what I don’t like and only then do I post something. 

I try to post a recipe that I am really excited about or that has wowed me, or even something as simple as kale pesto, because it’s a staple in our fridge. 

So, Lee-sah, I’m sorry that I haven’t posted in a long time, and I’ll get my ass in gear and post more…promise! Also, thank you for making me realize that if my little blog is able to just reach out to you and your family, then it makes it all worth while! 


Let’s lunch 

Let’s lunch 

Some of the food made this week! 

Most times I forget that I don’t need to post a recipe, I could just post these beautiful photos! 


A quick salad for a lunch I did. 

Brown rice sushi salad! This was really yummy, cooked rice in a rice cooker and finished it like you would “white” sushi rice. Grilled the salmon with loads of black pepper and lemon juice! 

A grilled chicken burger topped with guacamole, cream cheese and sweet chilli sauce. 

Smoked salmon salad. 

My favorite creamy gaucamole with tahini, gives it a sharp tangy taste. Grilled the chickpeas in a hot pan, and fried the kale aswell! The bulgar wheat and broccoli mix I season with fresh lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper! 

Quick roasted chicken breast salad, drizzled with balsamic reduction and extra virgin olive oil. 

Skewered some chicken thighs and marinated them in mustard and honey, served with potato wedges, fresh avocado and a tangy mayo dipping sauce. 

This was cold tomato soup, served with kale pesto and I make puff pastry “superseed” sticks! Topped with linseed, sesame seeds, hemp seeds, and vegetarian Parmesan. 

Yummy kale, corn, and cabbage salad with balsamic marinated mushrooms and artichokes! 

This was a snack made for myself! Rye toast, kale pesto, chicken cold meat, Avo, fresh peashots and black pepper! 

Monday, bloody Monday. 

Monday, bloody Monday. 

My melt down actually happens on a Sunday evening

Maybe it’s because of school going days, but at 4 ‘o clock on a Sunday afternoon I think to myself, “It was Friday, like 1 minute ago!” 

Grumpy…I need a day between Saturday and Sunday. Can I call it my day? Ha! (See what I did there?) 

I try to embrace Monday, new week, new you, new day, new diet! Not really a new diet, but it’s always “I’ll start on Monday” that gets the engines roaring for the new week! 



Planning the week. 

Running around. 

Ok! Breathe! 

Monday. I’m going to try to hug you with open arms and give you the biggest kiss! 

I’m going to try. 


Love what you do

Love what you do

It is an old saying and most preach it everyday, because its absolutely vital to love what you do. 

When you have to wake up with the dreadful notion of getting to work, then you might as well stay under the covers and call in sick.

I am blessed to be working for an amazing family in Johannesburg, as their chef. 

Most of the food that I post to my Instagram account (@foodbyjill) and to this blog are actually their meals! Breakfasts, lunches, dinners and maybe some snacks in between.

I am fortunate enough to be given the time during the day to experiment with countless things, and they are obviously the ones that benefit from this! 

They have been really supportive of me using their space to capture all the yummy amazing’ness for my blog, and I am ridiculously grateful for that! 

Thank you for always reminding me to take photos, for your patience when I take the plate away to actually capture the picture and for pushing me out of my comfort zone (all the cakes) ha!