Jenny Handley sits down with chef David Schneider of the Chefs Warehouse at Maison wine farm in Franschhoek for a quick-fire Q&A.
Together they discuss food waste, sourcing ethical meat and plant-based diets.
1. What are your favourite local ingredients?
Buchu, Rooibos, Amasi, Karoo lamb, Charlie’s Glen Oaks Pork, Belnori goats’cheese, Gonedsa Gouda, Klein River Gruyere, Langbaken-ashed Camembert and local fish from the ABALOBI Marketplace app.
2. What about food intolerances and allergies – how do you cater for these?
We do our best to have an all-inclusive atmosphere. We have a pescatarian, vegetarian, vegan and kiddies’ menu printed and available always. We also design almost all dishes so that nuts, gluten and dairy can be omitted without detracting from the main elements of the dish. I can comfortably say that we can cater for every type of dietary requirement at the drop of a hat and with huge smiles on our faces.
3. You are very resourceful when it comes to kitchen waste. What advice can you give to the home cook?
Never throw water down the drain, it can always be used for another purpose. Buy a juicer and experiment with using juices in sauces and dressings such as apple, ginger, carrot and beetroot (this will cut down on water intensive stocks and make for clean, healthy and light alternatives). Start a composting system at home for any offcuts. Use eggshells and coffee grinds for your compost. Avoid using single use plastic wrap.
You also might like: The Importance of Composting in SA
4. Have you got any tips gleaned from your time in the butchery about working with meat?
Don’t be fooled by a label. A-grade meat is no indication of quality or flavour, it simply indicates that the animal was young. Meat is graded according to age and not quality. Rather ask questions when buying meat such as: “Where is this meat coming from? How was is reared? Has it been frozen? What was it fed?” Be willing to pay extra for meat… cheap meat cannot be trusted and is produced without any concern for the life that was taken.
5. What’s your favourite piece of kitchen equipment?
Thermomix, a very sharp Santoku knife, Victorinox speed peeler, Combi Oven, Silpat mats, juicer.
6. Any advice for people wanting to adopt a healthier lifestyle?
Eat meat and dairy in moderation. Consider moving the bulk of your food over to plant-based items. Meat and dairy are fantastic and flavourful but from a nutritional point of view, you can get all the kilojoules, protein and calcium you require from plant-based foods. It is far easier for your body to digest and will also lower your cholesterol intake and chances of developing certain types of cancer and disease.
7. Do you have any other helpful shopping tips?
Always support local produce. It isn’t necessary to purchase any imported produce; we produce incredible food items and ingredients in this country and we need to showcase and take pride in them. Try your best to get out to the farmers’ markets and buy from small producers who farm ethically and sustainably.
Looking for a local farmer’s market? Take a look at our Country Markets section.
8. What is always in your fridge at home?
Fresh fruit, mixed salad items, yoghurt, some form of chicken and leftover pizza.
9. If you could choose your last meal, what would it be?
Roast free-range chicken, duck fat-roast potatoes, creamed spinach with a massive fresh salad and the company of family and friends.
10. Is there one iconic restaurant that you would fly to for a meal?
Central, Lima in Peru – it just so happens I’m planning on going this year.
Lunch is served from 12pm to 2:45pm with dinner starting at 6pm and ending at 8:45pm.
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