SHE made the transition from cafe owner to tuckshop lady at a top Port Elizabeth school four years ago, but Lindie Alcock has lost neither her business savvy nor her charming personality in the process.
The mother of two says he has no regrets about the move to head the Grey Junior School tuckshop, as she now has more time to focus on her flourishing baking business, Lindie’s Homemade Brownies.
However, she is always willing to help restaurants around the city and recently designed a menu for her sister and brother-in-law, Wehrner and Annette Lemmer, when they opened their new cafe, RAAK, in Newton Park’s Pickering Street.
“After I sold my restaurant, the Blue Cactus, which was also in Newton Park, I was in limbo for a while. Grey approached me to take over their tuckshop, which I did, and I am very happy where I am now.” Under her management it has grown into a thriving venture that would rival many a cafe, though Lindie confesses it can be hectic feeding up to 800 boys.
“I love it, but I couldn’t do it without the mothers who volunteer their time to work in the tuckshop every day.”
She said she would only consider dabbling in the industry again if the opportunity arose, “but not to manage or own – simply to consult for other restaurants”.
As the former owner or driving force behind several cafes and restaurants around Port Elizabeth, including Crazy Daisy, Cherry Place and Mezzeluna, Lindie said she was still doing what she loved at home.
“My brownies which I make at home are still the number one reason I receive calls. I supply four Spars around Port Elizabeth, several coffee shops in the city and now they are being enjoyed by coffee shops in Cradock and Bloemfontein as well. So business is booming,” she smiled.
“I haven’t lost any of my passion for food. I am still cooking and baking at home. It’s what I love. I’m experimenting with new flavours and combinations all the time.”
Husband, Paul, and sons Ross, 14, and Ryan, 11, were poor guinea pigs for her culinary creations, she quipped. “They are extremely fussy, but luckily I have lots of family and friends happy to try out whatever I make.”
Lindie says because of the size of the tuckshop and the number of boys in the school, the amount of work has hardly decreased since her days in the restaurant industry. “The turnover in this tuckshop is comparable to my days in the restaurant business.
“So there is a lot of work to be done, but thanks to my helping hands [volunteering mothers] we can handle it. It’s about ensuring there is always stock and staying organised. If you don’t have the product, you can’t sell it. The tuckshop has grown substantially over the past four years, and I am hoping it will continue on this upward trend,” Lindie said. – Tremaine van Aardt and Louise Liebenberg
Recipe: Lindie’s butternut and sundried tomato quiche
1 bunch of spring onions, finely chopped; handful parsley, finely chopped; ½ teaspoon of finely chopped garlic; ½ packet sundried tomatoes (the one in oil) roughly chopped; 500 to 600g butternut cubes; olive oil; chilli flakes (optional);2 rounds feta cheese, roughly crumbled; 1 ½ cup grated cheddar; 1 ½ cup cream; 1 cup milk; 7 eggs; 3 sheets phyllo pastry; butter, melted; few teaspoons of pesto (Lindie likes the Thai one as it has a bit of a bite)
Preheat oven to 180°C. Prepare a large ovenproof dish (24cm x 34cm) by layering three sheets of phyllo as per instructions on the box.
Place butternut on baking sheet and drizzle with a little olive oil, sprinkle with chilli flakes, salt and pepper. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until butternut is soft – Lindie likes it with a bit of colour on it. Set aside.
Fry the spring onions, parsley and garlic in a little oil and then add the sundried tomatoes. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cream, milk and eggs, and then add the feta and cheddar cheese. To this, add your spring onion mix and the butternut.
Mix through, pour into prepared dish, dot with a bit of pesto here and there and bake for approximately 45 minutes. Rest for 10 minutes and serve.