#aTypicalInterview: Why chicken breyani is a special meal for celebrity chef Reuben Riffel
Celebrity chef, restaurateur and media personality Reuben Riffel is best known for his food-focused TV shows and advertisements, cookbooks and philanthropic work.
The 45-year-old began his culinary career in Franschhoek at the Monneaux Restaurant, establishing it as one of the top 10 restaurants in South Africa.
Some of the awards he has acquired over the years include the Eat Out awards of Chef of the Year and Restaurant of the Year.
Reuben’s in Franschhoek was ranked as one of South Africa’s Top 10 restaurants for three consecutive years. Riffel has published three bestselling cookbooks.
He was a judge on Masterchef South Africa and has hosted, and participated in, other local reality TV food shows. Politicians, artists and musicians frequently invite him to cook for their functions or at their events.
Riffel’s latest venture is his brand new TV series, Aansit, broadcast on Dstv channel 147.
You are tasked with coming up with your very own Gatsby. What are the main ingredients?
Oh, that’s nice; I think my favourite combo would be crispy fries, kimchi, creamy melted cheese and slow smoked brisket.
What’s the best restaurant you have eaten at in your life? And what did you order?
I really enjoyed The Fat Duck. I had all the dishes that made the chef famous; snail porridge, quail jelly with langoustine crème, parsnip cereal, fat scallops.
The most adventurous thing you have eaten in your life is … ?
Haggis, black pudding. I don’t know if I am an adventurous eater as these things are easy to eat.
You are able to cook for any three celebrities in the world. Which three celebrities would you choose?
Lewis Hamilton, Siya Kolisi, Will Ferrell.
Joburg, Cape Town, or Durban. Which city can claim the rights to having the best restaurants?
Cape Town off course, but I know of some amazing eateries in both the other cities.
The biggest misconception people have of Reuben Riffel is?
I’m quite reserved, maybe shy, and some people think I’m a bit full of myself because of that.
If Reuben Riffel wasn’t a professional chef, what would he be?
Motoring journalist or a classic car restorer. I enjoy cars, especially older ones.
The meal that most reminds you of your childhood is …?
You are on death row. You are given one last three-course meal. What do you have?
A large tub of Beluga caviar with crème fraiche and blinis, a juicy Wagyu steak with shaved white truffles, Grand Marnier souffle with white chocolate ice cream.
You can cook up a storm with any chef in the world. Who do you choose and why?
My friend and mentor Richard Carstens. Super-intelligent chef with no ego problems. Always learning and sharing knowledge.