TODAY’S featured chef on The Global Table is a newcomer to the Eastern Cape, having only moved to the province in December last year, and to Port Elizabeth in June.
A product of the famed Silwood Kitchen School of Cookery, former Capetonian Jody Theodore is the head lecturer at the Bay’s snazzy new Capsicum Culinary Studio.
Capsicum is the largest private national chef and hospitality management school in the country. They have six branches and the one in Newton Park, Port Elizabeth is their newest, having opened in June.
Before heading its training kitchen, Jody spent several months at Cob Creek, the Eastern Cape’s first wine farm, which is situated just outside Jeffreys Bay.
Jody, 27, has played personal chef to a British property tycoon living in Clifton, done food styling for magazines and a cookbook, and even hosted a children’s television cooking show on SABC3.
His culinary explorations already began in childhood – fuelled, he says, by his late grandmother who loved baking and a mother with a flair for food.
“I love entertaining, and food and entertaining go hand in hand,” added Jody. “My approach to food and cooking is to keep it simple and be consistent.”
His training at Silwood – Jody graduated from their three-year programme in 2004 – set him on his path to success.
While still a student he seized the opportunity to work at several of the Cape’s most upmarket hotels and fine dining establishments, among them the Spaanchemat River Cafe at Constantia Uitsig wine estate, the Mount Nelson Hotel, Savoy Cabbage and Five Flies; he also assisted acclaimed South African food editor and stylist Abigail Donnelly during his student years.
“Straight out college I worked for high-end Cape Town catering company Out of this Planet. The experience was amazing because no function was the same and no client had the same needs.
“I learnt the importance of consistency – in the cooking world this is what separates the greats from the ordinary – and to this day I base my cooking on it.”
Jody also spent time on a herb farm in Paarl before being chosen to host several seasons of the What’s Ur Flava show in mid-2006.
“It was awesome,” he recalled. “We had the highest rating for a kiddies show on South African TV.”
Other career highlights included a stint at South African retailer Pick n Pay’s school of cooking, which brought the opportunity to work alongside celebrity chefs like Sharon Glass.
In 2009 Jody assisted on shoots for Taste and Femina magazines and for Phillippa Cheifitz’s South Africa Eats cookbook.
This was followed by a move to the Eastern Cape to join Cob Creek last December, after which Jody headed to the Bay to take up the head lecturer’s position at Capsicum following its opening in June.
* Calling all chefs! Mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to be considered for inclusion on The Global Table blog. Whether you are an established or upcoming chef or foodie personality, we want to hear from you.
Wherever possible, we will photograph each selected chef with a dish of their choice and, besides the recipe for the featured dish, we will also post either a profile of the chef or a Q&A style column on the blog every Saturday. Don’t miss it!
Jody’s recipe: Self-saucing chocolate brownie
The recipe Jody is sharing on today’s blog is for a decadent, self- saucing brownie that is baked in a mould and literally oozes rich, chocolaty delight.
Poppyseed tulles finish off the dish, so scroll down for that recipe as well. Serves 7.
250g butter; 100g castor sugar; 250g dark chocolate (this can be the good stuff or even just regular Bourneville Dark); 250g cake flour; 8 eggs (5 whole eggs and 3 egg yolks)
Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius. Whisk the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy.
Melt the butter and chocolate over a low heat.
Once the chocolate mixture has melted, fold it into the egg mixture (not the other way round).
Sift the flour and fold this into the egg and chocolate mixture. Divide the mixture equally into even ovenproof moulds or ramekins.
Bake for 15 to 18 minutes until a crust has formed but the insides are still nice and saucy.
Recipe: Poppyseed Tulles
1 egg white; 50g icing sugar; 50g cake flour; 50g butter, about 35g poppy seeds.
You’ll also need a Teflon or non-stick sheet (available from baking shops like the Baking Tin), as well as a template – you can make your own out of any material.
Sift the dry ingredients, then incorporate the slightly beaten egg white and the melted, slightly cooled butter.
Spread it thinly onto the Teflon sheet using the template and a palette knife.
Sprinkle the poppy seeds on top, then bake for a few minutes at 180 degrees Celsius until pale golden. Shape while still warm.
You can keep the tulles in an airtight container for up to a day.
Q&A: Jody Theodore
1. When and how did your love of cooking start?
It began in the comfort of my family home in Athlone, in the Cape, with my late granny’s joy of baking and my mom’s flair for food.
2. How would you describe your teaching style in the kitchen?
My style is quite unique, I think, because I use my sense of humour and combine it with my cooking skills. This inspires and encourages people to cook, or gives them the confidence to try the dish at home.
3. Which chefs or foodie personalities do you admire?
There are so many people who have inspired me locally. Everyone I’ve worked with on my journey of cooking has made an impact of some sort and the knowledge gained and shared was awesome. On an international level I admire Gordon Ramsey. People see him as that foul-mouthed guy but under all that rudeness I admire him for his intelligence and what he has achieved.
4. What is the most interesting or unusual function you’ve cooked for?
Each function is unique, like the time I cooked for the finalists of British Next Top Model in Cape Town two or three year ago. Working as a chef on What’s Ur Flava was always crazy fun. Another one that stands out was cheffing in the President’s Suite at the IPL Cricket in Cape Town last year – we cooked for President Jacob Zuma and Bollywood stars like Shilpa Shetty and Shahrukh Khan – amazing stuff.
5. Give an example of a three-course winter menu you would prepare for guests at your home.
Starter – Bought-in sushi (don’t tell my guests!)
Mains – Balsamic and red wine beef fillet medallions served with garlic and parmesan puree and blanched vegetables with a jus (aka gravy).
Dessert – Chocolate Marquise with a berry compote, or I’d make an amazing cheese board.
6. When making a quick meal for yourself at home, what do you eat most of the time?
I like keeping it simple… and you don’t get much simpler than a peanut and apricot jam sandwich!
7. What are your five favourite ingredients at the moment?
Vanilla pods, cream, fresh salmon, ostrich and my sense of humour!
8. Which kitchen tool or gadget can you not live without?
My Global knife (a Japanese brand) has special meaning to me and I love working with it.
9. What is your favourite foodie haunt or hunting ground for ingredients?
The Old Biscuit Mill in Cape Town has a fantatic local farmers’ market.
10. When not cooking for yourself, what are your favourite restaurants?
In Port Elizabeth, Fushin in Stanley Street, Richmond Hill has awesome sushi and the atmosphere is really good.
On the Garden Route, Ile de Pain in Knysna offers a great start to your day with breakfast, or even lunch.
Then there’s Cob Creek wine estate outside Jeffreys Bay, for good food, good wine and a good atmosphere.
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