Monday, July 27, 2009

Rooibos Cookbook #4: Giggling Gourmet's Playground with Morne Botha

So, Morne was actually the first chef to be contacted regarding the book, even before he was part of Jenny Morris's fold at Giggling Gourmet. He was then still executive chef at the Bay Hotel. He's been know for his absolute passion for South African flavours, of which Rooibos is a firm favourite. A colourful character who'll wax lyrically about food, just doing it, having food talk to you, and generally experiencing food and not just cooking it, our shoot was filled with anecdotes, education and lots of passion.

Modern TV and celebrity chefs like creating the air of superiority and the idea that cooking is a lofty affair, best reserved for individuals with the proper respect for freshness, flavour and texture etc. That can leave Joe Everybody out in the cold, feeling inadequate, and honestly, like cooking is probably just a schlep anyways. Morne has a different approach, making you want to shout "Amen" every now and again when he starts going on about "en as jy uit stock hardloop, gooi sommer 'n koppie rooibos in!" (if you run out of stock, just add a cup of rooibos!).

Some of the most yummy and inexcusably sweet and unapologetically indulgent dishes came from his pen...pot? Not one for suggestion, if the food's meant to taste like something, it does!

As was the case on most of these shoots, our list of dishes to cover was the length of my arm. If memory serves me right, we had to get through 12 dishes, prep and finals included. Any foodie will tell you that you're pushing it with 8. Well, we were waxed in the "METHOD" by now, but it did get so late I had to come back early the next morning to do the portraits of Morne. Probably a good idea too, because we were both fresh again, and ended up chatting for hours, sitting on the floor, taking pics of his various gestures, antics, smiles and serious poses.

A short while later, we'd end up working together on another food book project, this time though a small pamphlet type one, with Morne's exec, Jenny Morris herself. Needless to say, once you add her into the mix, with an already Energizer bunny..., things got busy!


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