If you thought all trained cordon bleu chefs were as arrogant as Marco-Pierre White or as aggressively sweary as Gordon Ramsay – prepare to change your mind. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Jaclyn (also known as @PrncessJacalini on Twitte) - the chef behind Chef Privé. She is neither sweary nor arrogant – but she is a self-professed food nut, and the array of delicous recipes on her blog pays tribute to this beautiful obsession. So pull up a kitchen chair and let's have a chat with her:
1. Where are you – in South Africa or out in the wide world?
I live in Cape Town, but I was born in the sleepy town of Bulawayo, in beautiful Zimbabwe.
2. How long have you been blogging?
Chef Privé only started in February 2010, but growing actively. In blog-time it's the equivalent of the terrible-2's – we've found we have a voice, and this period of self-discovery & boundary-testing is a challenge & a delight for all involved.
3. What do you enjoy the most about food or wine blogging?
I started blogging because I'm inspired by the combined creative processes involved: cooking, styling food, photography & writing. I also love sharing my epicurean obsession with other similarly inspired folk. It's like therapy for food junkies, just without the bad coffee, cigarettes & flannel.
4. Any downsides or frustrations?
I have a pretty full-on day job which sometimes spills over into the evenings, so finding the time to blog is my biggest obstacle at the moment.
5. What or who are your inspirations to cook, drink and write?
My grandmother was my inspiration when learning to cook, as she was the stereotypical food-fanciful matriarch of our family. My mother has extraordinary elocution & an impressive comprehension of the English language, and so perhaps my inspiration to write came from her. As for the drinking part, well, dues must be paid to Silwood Kitchen and the Cape Wine Academy, as they taught a young, hapless Zimbabwean girl to quaff a wide array of drink at all hours of the day, all in the name of getting an education!
6. Where and when do you like to blog?
I blog at 3am when I've lost the battle with insomnia. I also blog on the WordPress app on my iPhone when I'm out & about. Modern technology allows us to pretty much take out blogs with us wherever we go, kind of like that Chicken Licken advert where that guy has a growing toy orangutang masquerading as his hunger attached to his back. Yeah, just like that actually.
7. What's your signature dish or favourite wine?
I'm not really into signature dishes. I enjoy cooking rustic, al fresco Italian cuisine, as it's so simple & the seasonal, sun-ripened, grown-in-your-back-yard ingredients are made to be the hero. Osso buco is probably my favourite dish to make, probably because of my strange love of gremolata. It has the same effect on me as catnip does to cats. We'll leave it there.
Wine-wise, my favourite wine would have to be a very cold Provençal rosé on a very hot day by the sea.
8. What other food or wine blogs do you read? I
I just adore Béatrice Peltre's La Tartine Gourmand. It's a feast for the senses – I love the way Béa writes. Her stories & recipes for the Boston Globe food section entice & delight me constantly.
9. Favourite restaurant?
I simply have far too many favourites to list. Thomas Maxwell in Johannesburg ranks high up there. I'm part of the outdoor furniture at Jardine Bakery (sadly closing soon) – Captain Bread makes a bacon croissant that will literally make your toes curl.
10. For my last meal on this planet I would order…
Kylie Kwong's book Heart & Soul contains a recipe for carpaccio of wagyu beef with Parmigiana Reggiano, baby rocket, black figs & capers. That'd be it. Finished and klaar.