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‘My mom inspired my love of food’

Steenberg’s chef Kerry Kilpin. Picture: Supplied

Steenberg’s chef Kerry Kilpin. Picture: Supplied

Published May 7, 2022


For many of us, some of the greatest influences for our love of cooking and food has been our mother figure.

Let’s think back as to just how your mother’s cooking influenced and inspire your love of food?

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I’m sure, many of us can relate a good memory to a plate of food made by our mom, when that meal snuck its way into your heart like melting butter, knowing that it’s more than just flavour but the most important ingredient – love.

But in some cases, this sparked enough of a love that we chose to make cuisine our lifelong careers.

In honour of Mother’s Day this year, Steenberg’s chef Kerry Kilpin revealed a few stories about how her mother figure influenced her love for the ins-and-outs in the kitchen, and what valuable advice she gleaned when it comes to food and healthy living.

Feeding a memory

Chef Kerry Kilpin stated that her mother gave her advice on cooking that she still applies to her cooking today.

“Taste, taste, taste from start to finish when cooking. And she has taught me how to respect food and never waste anything,’’ said Kilpin.

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One of the key factors her mother highlighted when it came to food is to know where your food comes from.

“I was raised on a farm in Bathurst, in the Eastern Cape, so most of the protein and vegetables were our responsibility to grow and manage. So, from a young age, I knew where my food came from and had respect for what I ate,” she adds.

What are one of your favourite memories of you and your mom in the kitchen?

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As stated before, a meal can add to so many memories stored in our brains, from sitting at the dinner table every evening; to a quick snack made for lunch, even if its something strange, like rice on a slice of bread, it remains a special memory

Chef Kilpin shared one of her fondest memories: “Making an insane amount of mince pies each Christmas. My mom used to make them for the local home industries and I just loved getting involved.’’

In addition, chef Kilpin shared that her mother enjoyed making home-made scones with her, and encouraged her to mess around with the flour and taste along the way – the best part of cooking isn’t it?

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“My childhood memories include sifting flour, rolling dough, and the wonderful smell of baking scones. Over time it became a Sunday morning activity, while my parents had a lie-in,” she adds.

When asked what lavish meal her mother used to make, chef Kerry Kilpin stated: “The classic roast leg of lamb, with all the homely trimmings – roast potatoes, cauliflower cheese sauce, rich gravy – you name it. It made the birthday and special occasion wish list year after year, as nothing surpassed the love that went into it. And it was the ‘last supper’ before returning to boarding school. Nowadays, I do consider cooking a ‘mean’ roast!’’


Further, chef Kerry Kilpin shared that her mother had a classic handwritten cookbook. Something that many of us hold dear to our hearts is a handwritten cookbook, that is most likely passed down through generations, varying from your favourite meals to your favourite desserts.

Chef Kerry Klipin’s cooking inspiration came from her mentoor of 12 years, Franck Dungerux. But of course, the biggest inspiration is her mother, who fired that love for food in her.

Her advice as a mother today is simple and sweet: “Food is the comfort of any home. Sitting around a dinner table at home and having a conversation is so important. Just eating and talking about everyday life is one of the best habits instilled into me from a young age and I will never let it go.”

“Cooking isn’t always about being a professional chef obsessed with perfect knife cuts and a spotless workstation, it’s that food is the great connector. I’m grateful that my mom helped me find a career where I can now help others have a meaningful experience with food,” she concludes.