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5 Questions with food content creator and influencer Emma Backeberg

We chat to the Cape Town-based culinary influencer about her career, restaurant recommendations and more

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By Alyxandra Carolus | December 25, 2022 | Travel Leisure

Hailing from Kwa-Zulu Natal and now based in Cape Town, Emma Backeburg aka @emmasalwayshuuungry is a self-described ‘eatout lifestyle exemplar’ and an avid wine enthusiast. A culinary influencer who has her hands in many different pots, we recently had a chat with her about her recs, future plans and more.

Can you share a bit of your background, what got you into the culinary space and what are you currently doing now?

Growing up, I've had access to homegrown ingredients and adapted a farm-to-table lifestyle. Having a variety of fresh produce ranging from rosemary to potatoes, livestock and a dam full of Drakensberg trout right outside the kitchen door inspired me to create dishes that are true to my upbringing and the environment in which I’ve been surrounded by.

After studying and working within the events industry I shifted my focus to the foodie side of events and realised my ‘happy place’ was back of house in the kitchen with the chefs. This loss of income pushed me to think out of the box reverting back to your passions and I started using social media to create a brand and soon this would become my source of income. Being confined to cooking from home during lockdown inspired me to learn new methods and experiment with the few ingredients that I had. I started taking videos of my recipes , step by step - posting them on social media.

South Africa is home to some of the world’s best restaurants, what’s been a few of your most memorable experiences?

South Africa has been on the top of its game this year. Some of my most memorable experiences have been attending master classes with some of the country's top chefs and learning first hand how to cook at a professional level.

A few notable master class mentions are Storyboard Events Chef Callan Austin who shared his italian heritage with his guests in a series of cooking classes using sustainable as well as fine imported ingredients and Chef Ghenwa from Ghenwas Culinary Club going back to her Middle- Eastern, Lebanese roots with an interactive class ending with a colourful feast.

Can you share some of your best recs for eateries in and around Cape Town (and South Africa?)

I have many recommendations but here’s a few: Tang Waterfront, Ouzeri, Claras Barn, Hacienda and Scala Pasta in Cape Town and Mamasamba and Kōl Izakhaya in Johannesburg.

A notable mention for yet another new kid on the block, Dusk in Stellenbosch by Chef Callan Austin and Chef Darren Badenhurst, where I recently had the privilege of dining.

This unforgettable restaurant encompasses sustainability, elegance, and service of the highest standards. I walked onto a stage set for a near to perfect performance by the Chefs and service staff. I'm a firm believer that in a restaurant it is 50/50 between the food and the service and this ticked all the boxes.

What would be the ideal gift for a foodie friend this festive season?

Some trending goodies to gift a foodie friend this festive season would be an air fryer which is the ultimate must have appliance in 2023, a vintage inspired wine cooler, the Alessi plisse kettle which is the perfect aesthetic addition to your kitchen, a portable picnic tray table to encourage al fresco dining this summer holiday with the family and a new gadget; the wine preserver for tasting your special occasion wines without opening them too soon. My go-too gifting stores are Setamono Japanese grills & ceramics, Ardmore, Poetry and Yuppiechef.

Finally, what are you looking forward to in the culinary world in 2023 (trends, eateries, travels?)

This year alone has been so rewarding to the culinary world following the recent FIFA World Cup in Qatar

Looking at South Africa in 2023, I can predict some big names in the culinary industry of young chefs taking on new ventures and leading our restaurants onto the World's 50 best restaurants list as Fyn restaurant did so in 2022.