SPICE4LIFE chats to Seline

Seline is a qualified industrial engineer but quit her job to pursue a culinary career after coming third during the second season of MasterChef South Africa. Following her success on the show, Seline dove head first into the culinary world and is currently writing for newspapers and local magazine’s while launching her business called Es; which focuses on patisserie orders for weddings and parties, demonstrations, food media and running a pop-up gourmet restaurant available for bookings at people’s homes and businesses. She absolutely loves food and is passionate about fresh ingredients, South African cuisine and sustainable and responsible farming.

 

ON A PROFESSIONAL NOTE

When did you know you wanted to be a Chef?

I have always loved cooking and baking and grew up being very experimental in the kitchen. MasterChef opened the door for me to do it for a living!

What do you love most about your job?

I love the look on people’s faces when they receive a dish; or the look on the brides face when she sees her wedding cake for the first time.

What are your favourite food combinations?

I adore chocolate with basil – the peppery notes in the basil highlight the complex flavour levels in the chocolate in an intense way.

If you had 30 minutes to cook a meal to impress guests, what would you cook?

I’d make some fresh pasta with prawns, cream, garlic, fennel and some fresh green grapes.

What is your favourite spice to cook with?

I love the Robertsons Cumin and use it in both sweet and savoury applications.

Have you ever had a kitchen disaster? If so, tell us about it.

I once tried making a filled, shape cake for one of the girls at our foster care home. I thought I would get creative with a strawberry custard and some mini marshmallows. Unfortunately for me (and the kids) it just didn’t work out; not only did it not hold its shape it tasted a bit like soap. All round failure if you ask me.

In your opinion, what is going to be “the next big thing” in the food world?

Gourmet doughnuts. Yummy!

 

ON A PERSONAL NOTE

Who is your inspiration when it comes to cooking?

I love feeding off people’s memories and special moments; but reworking the dishes and flavours in a fun and new way.

What are your other passions, besides food?

My first love will always be music – life is just so much sweeter with a great tune.

Do you do the cooking at home?

Yes, well of course.

What is your regular comfort meal?

Nothing beats a perfectly roasted chicken; crispy flavoured skin and a succulent juicy inside…

 

ADVICE

Would you recommend studying or doing an apprentice in a restaurant?

I genuinely believe you learn more in practice than in theory; but only if the chef you work under is a willing teacher. At the same time, it is really important to know and understand the basic techniques and science behind cooking – but only studying at one of the best culinary schools will be really worth it (e.g Prue Leiths academy, the Culinary Institute or Silwood etc).

Any words of advice for aspiring Chefs?

Working in the food industry is something you can only do because you’re passionate about it. The hours are long, the money is scarce and you won’t have a weekend off in a long time… But, if it is something you truly love; it will be the best thing you ever do. Do your research, keep up with trends, but do not let it define you. Do your own thing and make your own path and never be afraid to try something new.

Twitter: @SelineVW

Instagram: @SelineVW

 

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