Each new year brings with it new resolutions, hopes and dreams.
We spoke to five South African chefs to share their plans and vision for 2020.
Theo Mannie - Executive Culinary Artist at Granny Mouse country house and spa
Mannie said he resolves to grow, push his boundaries and laugh out loud.
“I feel I should grow every year, but this year it is top of the list. With this resolution of growth, I extend from myself to the entire team. This year I intend on imparting as much knowledge to the team whilst taking time to learn from them no matter how small the technique or detail maybe.
"I have to push my boundaries. With time must come change. This year I want to challenge myself to push my boundaries and go against my grain food-wise. And lastly, a chef’s work requires a lot of focus and discipline. Because of this, it can be easy to forget to be human and laugh at both the good and bad.
"This year I feel that happiness and joy should translate throughout all that I do in the kitchen,” he said.
Qhawe Tshabalala - Executive Chef at Royal Palm Hotel
Tshabalala said he wants to put Royal Palm Hotel on the map this year.
“Since I am a new chef at Royal Palm, I want to give The Royal Palm the best of my cooking.
"I need to put the Thyme Restaurant on the map by creating exciting dishes packed with flavour from breakfast, lunch to dinner. I want my guests to experience different cuisine, and I want them to have good hospitality experience when it comes to The Royal Palm and talks about my food,” he said.
Tshabalala said he also wants to invest in young chefs.
“I believe in investing in young chefs as they are the future. I want to do more training with young stars from different schools. As a board member of the South African Chefs Association in KwaZulu-Natal, I believe that we can take this industry to the next level.
"As a member, we plan to encourage the chefs to join the association. There is a lot to learn. Lastly, I just want to enjoy my career and find myself in the industry. I want to enjoy the journey this year because this industry comes with a lot of pressure and stress.
"I believe I have a lot to offer the industry. I want to work hard to achieve my goals, and my team to see it possible to achieve anything as long as you put your mind into it,” he said.
Joanita Venter – Executive Pastry Chef at Beverly Hills
Venter wants to keep up with local international trends, meaning keeping her guests excited and interested and making dessert an experience and ‘wow’ factor, using quality ingredients full of flavour.
She'll do this by using classical desserts as inspiration, adding all the elements and turning it into something completely different, but still bringing back the nostalgia of the original dessert.
She also said the move towards healthier lifestyles, and people becoming far more conscious of what they eat and drink, has been very prevalent of late in our industry.
And this is making them re-look at what they offer from a dessert perspective. Therefore, 2020 is about experimenting and creating desserts that are suitable for vegans, vegetarians, and allergy-sensitive guests, without compromising on flavour, texture, and presentation.
Tony Kocke - Executive Chef at Fairmont Zimbali Resort
Kocke said he resolves to create menus that are sustainable from local products only - as in 50km from the kitchen. He also aims to empower his junior staff to greater culinary standards and to make his food the most compatible food ever and create a great culinary destination.
Prenolan Naidoo - Executive Chef at Jeera
Naidoo said he would resolve to practice more self-preservation, seek new sensations, and to cut down on food waste.
“I want to improve my skills in methods of canning, fermenting and pickling. We have some of the best produce right on our doorstep.
"Let us improve our skills so that in the next year we can look at the items that we put time and effort into pickling, canning, fermenting and use them to develop new improved dishes and recipes.
"I also want to try a new product or process, which is a great way to grow as a chef, find new interesting spices and flavour profiles that are not your normal pairing and implement that into practice. Continuously growing your flavour palate allows you to improve your knowledge of what can and cannot work, “ he said.