15 questions for Bertus Basson


15 questions for Bertus Basson

The beloved chef and restaurant owner talks to LAUREEN ROSSOUW about food that turns him on.


1. If you could eat one type of food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Karoo lamb cooked on an open fire.

2. What do you eat on a typical day?

I don't have a typical day. Mostly a smoothie after gym, I taste in between at our restaurants, and then dinner my wife makes. At the weekend, as a family we eat eggs from the chickens in our garden for breakfast.

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3. What 10 ingredients are always in your fridge?

Butter, olives, anchovies, mustard, milk, ham, cheese, tomato paste, Hellmann's or Kewpie mayonnaise, tomatoes.

4. What can't you live without in the kitchen?

My KitchenAid mixer and blender.

5. What is your favourite dish when you entertain?

Something simple like a big pot of risotto or chicken in the smoker, so that we can also enjoy the company and not stand in front of pots all the time.


6. A few practical questions:

- How long can you keep anchovies in a fridge before they go off? Our anchovies don't have time to go off!

- Your favourite olive oil? Morgenster.

- Honey? I love fynbos honey.

- Oxtail with or without red wine? With.

- Favourite salt? I use Khoisan salt from the West Coast.

7. What is the secret of a good hamburger?

Good meat, good bread and not too many strange sauces or ingredients.

8. Your five favourite cookbooks?

Cook and Enjoy It by SJA de Villiers; Saam by Errieda du Toit; Larousse Gastronomique; The Family Meal by Ferran Adrià; and Nose to Tail Eating by Fergus Henderson.

9. Where does your inspiration for dishes come from?

The seasons, ingredients I come across or something I eat somewhere, South African cultures.

10. Your favourite food shows on TV?

I don't watch a lot of food shows, but probably Chef's Table on Netflix.

11. Your comfort food on a bad day?

Pasta or melkkos.


12. How do you plan a menu?

It's about balance, freshness and seasonal ingredients — and of course I like small menus.

13. Do you bake your own bread?

In our restaurants we bake our own bread and occasionally also at home. I've been trying to avoid shop bread for the last few months.

14. What do you think of food and wine pairing?

Although we offer it in our restaurants, I prefer to order bottles of wine from a wine list, like a grown-up.

15. Do you like to use chillies in your food?

Yes! We always have pickled chillies from our garden in our fridge or our own chilli crisp.

♦ VWB ♦

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