First holiday memory?
My dad used to be a part-time nature conservationist when I was young, and bought an old Kombi (VW van) and turned it into a mobile home of sorts. Almost every second weekend we would drive up the coast and explore as much of the Western Cape coastline as possible. We would go diving, and put what we caught in the potjiekos pot. I moaned when I was a kid but these are some of the best memories I have.
Favourite place in South Africa?
I am completely biased here, but definitely Cape Town. I love that I’m always 10 minutes away from the beach and 30 minutes away from some of the most breathtaking wine estates in the world. (We all know how much I love wine.)
Definitely my five-week journey to Thailand, Vietnam and Hong Kong. Taking a two-week holiday just isn’t enough to properly unwind considering at least three days is generally taken up by travel. Spending three weeks of that trip exploring Thailand was amazing.
I have always loved Thai food. The food in Vietnam was just as amazing but the rich history is what I enjoyed most.
Ha Long Bay was absolutely mesmerising. The hustle and bustle of Hong Kong and the dim sum is some of the best I have eaten!
What have you learnt from your travels?
Being a chef, I always try to experience the foodie cultures first, before any of the mainstream tourist attractions. When I was in Thailand, I spent a week getting my Master’s in Thai cookery, which has been an invaluable experience. Learning about indigenous ingredients in each country I visit is what I love about travelling. And the most important thing I have learnt: don’t beat yourself up if you pick up a kilo or even five. You’re on holiday, enjoy every minute. And every glass of wine over lunch.
Ideal travelling companion?
My partner and I went on a European foodie tour together last year, travelling from London to Paris, then Barcelona, and drove across the entire south of France ending up in Venice, which was amazing.
I was a bit nervous as I usually love travelling on my own (call me selfish), but as it was his first time abroad,
I loved being able to show him the big world outside of South Africa, especially London town, where I lived for over two years.
Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?
Culture vulture (food culture in particular), then beach bum, then adrenalin junkie, if I have to. I have enough adrenalin in my day-to-day life.
Greatest travel luxury?
I love travelling without too much of an itinerary. It makes things more exciting and less stressful.
Funnily enough, I read more at home than when I’m travelling. There is so much to explore. so why would I be reading?
Which place has seduced you?
Definitely the south of France. Although I have not experienced much of Italy, I have a feeling it may seduce me.
Worst travel experience?
Travelling is what you make of it. Everyone warned me when I went to India that I was going to hate it. Despite the warnings, I loved India. There were some shocking experiences but that is what travelling is about, learning new cultures and the way the rest of the world lives.
I usually try to go self-catering when I travel (so I can cook and not drink bar fridge wine), so my favourites are right at home: the Saxon Hotel, Villas & Spa in Sandhurst, Joburg, have a million-thread count bed linen that I can sleep in for ever, and in Swellendam there is the Schoone Oordt Country House, which has a beautiful old school charm with all the modern luxuries you could wish for.
Favourite walk, swim, ride or drive?
Swimming in Nice, France, was amazing! I thought the pebbles would annoy me. However, I could swim in the pristine warm waters for days.
We booked some sun loungers at Castel Plage, at the end of the beach, which was a huge luxury but worth it. The drive from Nice to Monaco was one of the most beautiful I have ever done, perhaps even more beautiful than, dare I say, the Chapman’s Peak drive in Cape Town.
Best meal abroad?
There are so many, it is really hard to say. I had a truffle pizza in Saint-Tropez that blew my socks off. However, a meal at our very own Michelin Star South African chef’s restaurant, JAN in Nice, was also mind-blowing.
I would move to Nice in France tomorrow, given the chance. However, I also still love London.
Where to next?
I have my eye on Australia a t the moment. And I have always had a thing for Japan ever since being obsessed with ninjas as a child. However, now it would be for the Japenese cuisine, swopping my deadly samurai sword for a sharp sushi knife.