The beginnings of great chefs in the local Knysna and South African community.
Pleasure in food is mostly derived from taste, but the sense of it, the reason behind the love of dish, adds a sensational value to the depth of otherwise simple food.
At the Knysna Tourism office, the meal is simple. Ras Mau-Mau plates a small dish of slowly cooked fish, lentils, rice, a roti and a spicy tomato salad, all recipes his mother taught him. After a breakfast of oysters it was nearly impossible to fit more food into an already full to capacity stomach space, but how could a person deny a dish from the heart?
Green Chefs, is a concept that aims to bring local chefs to local people in the Garden Route. The Knysna Tourism office is supporting a community of food lovers to embrace food from different cultures and chefs who have not yet been afforded the opportunity to shine. Green Chefs is taking pride in food from the soul by empowering untrained, local cooks, to strut their abilities through a competition that selects 20 entrants to cook at varying times for the local community, in the Knysna Tourism office (now you can see the mission full circle).
From many entrants there were 20 selected. Awarded prizes like professional cooking courses and tips on how to become successful chefs, the 20 thinned down to 5. These 5 could now showcase their talents for a wider audience and potentially win training from notable Kilzers Kitchen Basics Knysna.
The local chefs create a lovely meal to serve to the public in the centre of town, providing exposure, but also a sense of great pride for the individual burgeoning chefs. The 5 winners would host the most genuinely intended sense of a pop-up shop for a few days in the lobby of the building, so unhipster, it’s actually hipster again.
It’s small, sure, quaint and humble, a sensible representation of the town of Knysna itself. But the idea behind it, the quality of passion and importance of using food as a tool to simply bring people together; it really is the easiest way. People are happy when eating, satisfied, and to taste the toils of a single person’s love of food is unlike the ability to share anything else, food should feed our bellies and our souls.
Ras was the star this week and he explained that he’d had no training, like the other 19 contenders, and all that he was taught were from the experiences of his mother and mother’s mother and owning a small restaurant in the nearby community. While Ras wore his humbleness on his sleeve with a kind thank-you and sincere questions regarding if we’d like the meal, it was hard not to want him to win.
This project is part of a greater project that aims to involve more local vendors and chefs into the food community of Knysna and neighbouring towns, if you’d like to find out more information about when the chefs will be serving lunch, contact Visit Knysna.
If you want to eat a bit of Ras Mau-Mau’s traditional home cooked meals you can head to his restaurant called Rise and Shine that serves up Rasta food at Judas Square East. He also said you can give him a holler at 078 180 1172.