Posts in Category: Our story

The Power of Food in Connecting People

We received this amazing email about a guests experience at Ginger & Lime food studio. Food really does connect people.

Firstly a big thank you for the amazing morning at Liam [Tomlin’s] cookery class in Ginger and Lime last Saturday. It was the perfect end to our holiday and we really appreciated your hospitality.

As you know it was even more special as I met up with my friend Amy. I had travelled to India ten years ago with a couple of friends and we met a group of South African doctors who had all trained in Ireland and had married Irish girls. They had a reunion trip to India and that is where I met Amy. We hadn’t seen each other since then so we could not believe that we met up again at an Indian Cookery Class in South Africa!! The world is very small!

Our best regards to all your team,
Ann and Shane

Friends reunite from India in Cape Town cooking Thali Tapas

How beautiful is this photo of friends reunited.

Avanti – Creole for Adventure – Denise visits the Seychelles

I believe that things can’t stay still, they need to continually grow and evolve. And so it is with Ginger & Lime. Once the rough concept became a reality, it seemed to have a life of it’s own, on a journey that almost runs parallel to my own life, and I am able to detach and observe.

What I fascinates me over and over again is the ability of food and wine to heighten experiences, conversation and life in general.

I, like most others that are passionate about food, am obsessed with Chef’s Table. I savour each programme, digesting every detail, nuance and emotion that each chef awakens in me and then I wait a while in between before I allow myself the pleasure of devouring another episode. Each one is so incredibly unique and each chef has their own story, and I want to hear each one, and dedicate the respect to this person that they deserve for bearing their soul to us. They are incredibly brave to do so.

In particular, I loved these words by Francis Mallman, Argentina:
‘The energy just rolls with us and people from the outside get attracted to this. They feel the magic!
I need a joyous, festive, feeling in my kitchen, with the hours and hard work we do as a team, we must have this.’

These echo and ring true for the experience that happens when we host one of our interactive courses. No matter how hard the day has been, or how late the night before was, how sore the back might be, when the guests arrive in the kitchen and we do the welcome chat of how the evening will run, my team and I also feel this incredible energy that seems to carry us through on a high of note. All tiredness, physical and mental, melts away. We work smoothly as one, we dance around each other in the kitchen, and we have incredible fun doing so. We each give our all, every single time, as it should be. Our guests feel this magic, feel this passion and in turn become ignited by it. There is a joyous and festive feeling in my kitchen, which spurs us on to keep giving, to keep doing more to make this experience more than what was expected.

The hours are long, and physically this work is exhausting, so I know I need to recharge from time to time, or there is a huge risk of burnout and throwing in the towel.

Having said that, I am presently in the Seychelles, and I am doing just that. I have not been here before, and what a wonderful experience it is to discover new places and all that they have to offer. How blessed to have this opportunity!

thumb_IMG_0691_1024

I knew of course that Creole cooking is big here, and that they use a lot of spices and are well known for their aromatic curries. This of course is right up my alley, as there is nothing more satisfying to me than the complexity of a well balanced curry. And then of course there is the ample supply of fresh seafood, being a remote island, which is again, right up my alley.

thumb_IMG_1494_1024 thumb_IMG_0799_1024 thumb_IMG_0798_1024 thumb_IMG_0797_1024 thumb_IMG_0802_1024 thumb_IMG_0796_1024 thumb_IMG_1809_1024 thumb_IMG_1810_1024

I will share some of my experiences with you, but I do want to note that there is a discipline to Seychellois cuisine that I had not expected. Each place seems to offer fairly similar dishes, and they are prepared strictly as the ancestors no doubt have done for centuries. It is bound by tradition and a formula, and certain ingredients that deny experimentation, as if they don’t want any surprises, but are comfortable in the familiarity of knowing what to expect on their plates. Interesting! In a way this is to be admired, as for us from South Africa, we seem to have so many different ways and styles of cooking, that there is not that sense of heritage that they display here (apart from of course the Cape Malay Cuisine, which remains true to its roots).

The curries are mild, and favour turmeric and a blended premixed mild curry powder of the usual kind (coriander, cardamom, cumin, chili, paprika and so on) along with lots of ginger and garlic. When I asked for extra chilli on the side, my request was met with a little resistance, and I actually felt that it was just not the thing to do! I can only imagine the conversation in the kitchen when the request was put through… the raised eyebrows, the beautiful Seychellois language expressing firmly just how wrong this was.

On that note, the language is amazing, and the locals really sing when they speak in a very lilting, lyrical way. Seychellois is French, but in a simple, primitive and almost childlike form. Even the spelling seem to be phonetic, and easy to pronounce. I feel it is more Caribbean than African in the intonation and sound. Really charming and beautiful! I have heard no loud voices, and no anger. Just many very white smiles and a pure light shining through the eyes that is wonderful to see. These are gentle people who seem to go through life life at their own pace, in true laid back island style, not in much of a hurry.

Arriving here, and stepping out of the crisp air-conditioned plane, you feel like someone has thrown a wet blanket over you as the humidity hits you. You do seem to get used to it somewhat, as when you are on holiday, and can swim often, it seems okay, and I am not a fan of heat or humidity.

There is a special exotic scent that seems to be in the air everywhere, hard to define, but some vanilla, lemongrass and perhaps a hint of cardamom. Subtle and soothing.

The other thing of beauty to behold is of course the lush thick greenery and vegetation. For those of us coming from the drought stricken Cape, this is a sight for sore eyes!

We arrived at Eden Island late on the first evening by taxi, so had absolutely no idea where we were. Husband was slightly grumpy that no restaurants were open at 10.30pm, but fortunately for us, the wonderful Rosemary from Eden Island had stocked the apartment with breakfast goodies for our stay, so scrambled eggs on toast it was, washed down with a gorgeous bottle of Kevin Arnold Shiraz from duty free. Not too shabby!

We awoke the next morning to the beautiful view of the Eden Island marina and the palm trees outside the window. There is not a thing out of place in this complex, and it is incredibly well maintained. First thing, jump in our own golf cart (Gav loved this the most) and head for a swim at one of the beaches which is right there on your doorstep. Beautiful aqua clear, calm water, postcard perfect. We had now arrived!

Being the adventurous sort, we of course hired a car and headed off to explore the island. Map in hand, we navigated our way to Victoria and then over the most amazing mountain pass to the West side of the island coming out at Port Glaud. When I say hairpin bend, after hair pin bend, I mean it!!! Phew! It was thick tropical jungle all the way, the kind with those monkey ropes hanging down that you would expect to see Tarzan swinging from. The roads are incredibly narrow, and with busses heaving down the other side of the road at serious pace, we were in dire need of a drink once we came down on the other side!

We came across a restaurant right on the beach, and decided to stop for lunch. This was called Le Del Place, Porte Glaud, and has the most idyllic view across to small islands over the crystal clear bay. This little bay, we discovered later, is one of the best snorkelling places on the island. We settled ourselves outside on the wooden deck and sampled the SeyBrew local beer, which slipped down a treat in the heat, have to say, and I am not a beer drinker!

thumb_IMG_0682_1024 Seychelles Ginger and Lime 0
thumb_IMG_0695_1024

The menu had a mix of Creole specialities as well as the usual burgers and so on for those with less adventurous palates. I decided to have the Crab Curry (crab is my all time best seafood), and Gav had the fresh fish of the day. Mine was superb, and I insisted on cracking every leg, sucking out every piece of that sweet meat, as Gavin cringed and tried to pretend he didn’t know who I was! I was covered in the turmeric based yellow curry sauce, as was most of the table, and needed a shower once I was done! It was delicious, and I loved every morsel. They serve it with a Pumpkin Chutney (baked cold pumpkin that is mashed up with finely chopped onions, thyme, red chillies, coriander, honey, lemon juice and vinegar), coconut chatini, aubergine chatini and Laaaaantils, as they say (lentils). Gavin kept asking them to repeat themselves, as he had no idea what they meant!

My meal of the trip had to be the fresh Palm Heart salad, at La Plage in Beau Vallon. Again a beach restaurant, we sat on the deck right on the beach, with unbelievable views. A really friendly French owner, who clearly took immense pride in his restaurant, explained how the palm heart was delivered whole and then had to be shaved, much like Parmesan shavings, and that the yield per tree was very small. I have to say that I kind of felt bad that a tree had to go simply to supply us with this delicacy, but it was one of the best things I have ever had in my life. It was simply prepared, just with a very light vinaigrette dressing, and a few tomato slices.

thumb_IMG_0706_1024

thumb_IMG_0693_1024

thumb_IMG_0719_1024

Another fabulous dish that they served was the Prawns Saganaki, hardly a purist Creole dish, I know, but worth a mention as it is one of the ones that we have on our Mediterranean course, and I have actually never seen it anywhere else. Man it was good! Plump juicy prawns, creamy tangy melted Feta and rich tomato sauce. Heaven! Must do that one again on our menu – so look out for our next Mediterranean inspired cooking course.

thumb_IMG_1555_1024 thumb_IMG_1554_1024 thumb_IMG_1551_1024 thumb_IMG_1546_1024 thumb_IMG_1545_1024 thumb_IMG_1537_1024 thumb_IMG_1535_1024 thumb_IMG_1533_1024 thumb_IMG_1527_1024 thumb_IMG_1525_1024 thumb_IMG_1524_1024 thumb_IMG_1520_1024

Beau Vallon is the most popular beach (and yet is was really not very busy at all) where they have a night food market on a Wednesday night which is very famous. We sadly missed this, but if you happen to be there for this, don’t miss it. There are many locals on the beaches, and most bring along copious amounts of food in storage containers and have a picnic under the trees on the beaches. I was dying to sample what they had bought along, as it looked amazing.

We did head into Port Victoria early one morning to go to the food market, one stop I never miss in each new place I go to. Parking is definitely a problem here, and watch out for rush hour traffic, as the roads can become very congested, as generally there is one road in, and one road out. I have to say that the market was a tad disappointing, apart from the super fresh fish (including shark … minus the fins) which were really straight from the sea. Not ONE tomato in sight!!! Limited spices that were prepackaged, and definitely more for the tourists than for the locals.

We enjoyed a superb Indian meal at Maharajah Restaurant in the Eden Bay Plaza, that was really worth a visit. One restaurant that we did mean to visit, but ran out of time, was Mari Antoinette, which is on the hill above Port Victoria.

We decided that having done two days of driving around, really doing a thorough recce of the island, as we do being in production, that we would head over to the small island of La Digue for a night and check that out. The ferry ride to Praslin is about an hour, and of course on island time, left 20 minutes late. A motley mix of travellers of all ages from all over the world, from weary parents of toddlers and newborns, to the many honeymoon couples, with that happy but somewhat smug look of satisfaction on their faces, and several locals doing their commute to or from work.

From there it is another quick ferry ride for fifteen minutes to La Digue. The golf cart from the hotel was waiting to fetch us on the jetty, and it was a 5 minute ride to the hotel right on the water. Wow Wow Wow, is all I can say! We have stayed in many places, but Le Domaine de L’Orangerie has to be way up there with some of the best ever.

thumb_IMG_0728_1024 thumb_IMG_0726_1024 thumb_IMG_0736_1024
The beautiful neutral colours with rough contrasting natural textures used throughout was so soothing to the eye. A wonderful palette of tones is used here, and exactly my colours, from a warm caramel to grey beige to a creamy oyster shade and everything in between. Incredibly natural and yet luxurious. I felt instantly calm and at peace and at home. We were taken on another golf cart up a steep hill to our suite. Again, so well thought out, and gorgeously decorated. The large bathroom with a bamboo shower and a huge stone bath was outdoors, with worn wood, stones and rocks used to finish it off. The view was into the lush green tropical vegetation with a large balcony. We were so overwhelmed, we immediately asked to stay another night to really absorb this beauty.

The pool area was so inviting with huge comfortable loungers and a wet bar, just calling you to come and get a Pina Colada or an ice cold SeyBrew. We were in heaven! Then feeling somewhat guilty for the overindulgence of all things bad for you, we decided to go for a snorkel, from the beach a short walk from the hotel. Everyone rides around on bicycles, and there are very few vehicles on the island, these being mainly utility style or taxis. The snorkelling was fantastic! Crystal clear water, and loads of fish of all sizes and bright colours. We were really amazed to find this right on the shore, as usually one has to go out on a boat to see such abundance and so many species!

We hired bikes the next morning and did a full ride from one side of the island to the other, which is a great way to see and experience all the sights there are. It is so unspoilt and natural, with lush green vegetation and the typical palm fringed soft white sandy beaches. The one unique feature they do have are the huge boulders on several of the beaches. We rode through an interesting vanilla plantation and then saw the house that the movie GOODBYE EMMANUEL was shot at, a typical Seychellois Plantation house, of which they seem particularly proud as it is marked on every tourist map.

We left reluctantly and headed back to Mahe on the last ferry. The next day we packed up and drove across the island to the West coast, another gorgeous drive over a winding pass, and stopped for lunch at a very small beach called ANSE DE SOLEIL. You drive down a very steep and curved road and come out at this small beach restaurant called CHEZ JULIEN. I highly recommend a visit here. Feet in the sand, casual and very local. You can go for a swim in between courses, that kind of place. We enjoyed a barbecued fish and salad, and of course an icy SeyBrew. The meal didn’t look like anything, and I have to say, it really makes me very uncomfortable when my food looks at me as I am devouring it, but it was incredibly tasty.

thumb_IMG_1783_1024

Then a short hop and we arrived at the BANYAN TREE. And when I say arrived, I do mean ARRIVED. It is a spectacular property! It was owned years ago by Peter Sellers and George Harrison, so you can imagine the parties that must have happened there! A massive banyan tree set at the entrance welcomes you to paradise. Vast natural gardens with large rocks and water features. It is a combination of a well established Colonial and Seychellois beach style property, with dark wood inside and light wooden almost Carribbean style architecture on the outside. Spectacular long private beach with wild waves, which is so great to see after the calm flat lake like seas we had been experiencing. We were taken up to our suite by golf cart, and again just blown away!

thumb_IMG_1752_1024 thumb_IMG_1771_1024 thumb_IMG_1770_1024 thumb_IMG_1498_1024 thumb_IMG_1491_1024

You get your own pool with a covered indoor/outdoor style lounge area, a jacuzzi, set on a wooden balcony high on a cliff overlooking the ocean. Palm trees everywhere to ensure your absolute privacy. Again a classic well appointed comfortable room, with a huge window, so it feels like you are almost outside. From the moment you open your front gate and enter the villa, you could walk around starkers, as not one person looks onto the balcony or the room. A real honeymoon spot. We immediately headed down to the sea for a walk along the beach and good swim in the waves, which was so energising. You hardly see anyone, as the property is huge, and privacy seems to be the order of the day. There are only 60 villas, on this massive property. Thankfully we are fairly connected with the management, and received a good family/friend rate! The staff were so caring and yet professional, that you almost felt like you were staying at a friend’s house, and yet they were discreet and left you to your own devices to enjoy your privacy too.

thumb_IMG_0871_1024 thumb_IMG_1491_1024

Talking about rates, be warned…….. the Seychelles is one of the most expensive places we have ever, ever been, and we have traveled extensively! You just need to bite the bullet and go for it. A good way to try to experience everything is to share different dishes where you can, so that you can get to taste more things. Beer is of course affordable, but the wines and cocktails do push the budget somewhat. Such a crime to be charge 20 x the price for a seriously cheap SA wine, that you wouldn’t ever drink at home! Even the supermarket is incredibly expensive, and yet to buy the local fish is very reasonable and abundant.

Gavin went out on a fishing trip from the Ephelia Resort, which he thoroughly enjoyed, and he came back to the hotel laden with fresh fish like Bonita, Grouper and Kingfish. The chef prepared this simply, grilled with a lemon butter sauce, for us that evening. Unbelievably good! This kind of simplicity seems to be missing from most of the menus where they make so many mild curries and use sauces extensively, and tend to overcomplicate what should be a simple cuisine.

The Spa is set high up in the resort and is open to the elements, so this is a wonderful and unique experience, highly recommended as well. I enjoyed the yoga/pilates classes and there is a great gym too, so we did try to balance out the amounts of food that we consumed…… all for research purposes of course!

It was so refreshing to experience all this greenery, so restful to the eye after the harsh arid conditions that our drought in the Cape has created.

We were very sad to leave the island, but it is always good to leave wanting more, and that is how we feel. The Seychellois people are a gentle folk, which is … by their lilting language, a variation of French. The island is totally unspoilt and natural in so many places, and this is so rare to see nowadays when you are used to what has happened in the overcrowded, overdeveloped popular Thai islands or Mauritius.

After this break, I was so ready to get back into the kitchen and to whip up some tasty creations with my fabulous team!

Ginger & Lime ON SET in Yzerfontein

It is these early mornings that allow for reflection.  It is so peaceful and calm at this time of the day, the silence is comforting. Sometimes you fight against it, “Just another hour of sleep, please…… I am SO tired!”.   But then that first cup of strong tea, and the slow awakening of the consciousness to the possibilities of the day ahead, make it impossible not to embrace the day.
blog morning-tea-brooke-ryan
It’s 4am now, the rain woke me up.  What a beautiful sound that is, and how grateful we are nowadays to hear this!  In the distance I hear the waves crashing thunderously on the rocks down on the beach in front of the house; the sea is wild today, matching the stormy sky conditions.
I am in Yzerfontein at the beach houses, where Cape Town Productions has been hosting some of their international crews to shoot their summer campaigns. I am taking care of the food side of things, and of course end up being Mom, counsellor & friend to the various crew members who stop by in the open plan kitchen and chat to me as I chop the carrots, sear the lamb shoulder, or whatever prep I am involved in They are always so interested in what meal is coming next, how it is being done and more importantly to them….. when is lunch being served?  It is an important part of their day to make sure they are nourished correctly, and that they feel nurtured and looked after. I like to feel that my input in some way contributes to the success of the shoot as a whole.
IMG_5116
It never ceases to amaze me how food bonds and connect us all.  It is so easy to start a conversation with a relative stranger with “how to chop an onion”, and “what is that spice you are putting into the pot now” and then move on to,  “I miss my Mom, we used to have such fun cooking together in the kitchen, and now we live on different continents, and I am finding this so hard” or “What do you think I should do about …” . This makes it all so much more than just a job for me, the personal involvement on a deeper level with the individuals.
Yzerfontein Lunch Kimmy Ginger & Lime food studio
I have so enjoyed my time here, and today is my last day.  Seems strange, as I have been here for 2 weeks now, and I am in a steady routine, with clear purpose each day. I am very present here, living in the moment, and it is hard not to be.  You need to be organised, prepared and have a plan.  But the fun part is that you can change your mind at anytime, add something in, make just one more thing in case the already extensive menu is not enough.  I have enjoyed the freedom that my guests have allowed me, and I have been able to be as creative as I want.  There was no brief beforehand,  no fixed menu planned that I had to adhere to. I had total free reign to be as creative as I wanted to be.
Yzerfontein Lunch Buffet Ginger & Lime food studio
I spent much time developing a varied menu as a rough guideline which would always have something for everyone, as I know there are those that wanted to eat healthily, and those that wanted something more hearty and nurturing, some that like a bit of spice, and others having milder tastes.  I was conscious of textures, colours and strength of flavours, trying to vary these in each meal. I didn’t want plated food, I wanted casual family style food, that allowed my guests to select what appealed to them, and then to come back for more.  And they did! I wanted the spread to be visually pleasing, as these are after all some of the leading creative people in their fields. Visual is what they do. This has been amazingly rewarding, as well as challenging of course.
Yzerfontein Lunch Buffet Ginger & Lime food studio 04
I was supported on the first part of the job by a different assistant every 3 days or so.  For this one, Marks & Spencer, we were doing lunches for from 25 to 38 people, and dinners for around 15 per day, so this was necessary.  It  was great to have this support, as each one brought with them new and fresh energy, so that at the times when my energy took a dip, they were able to lift me up and allow me to become enthusiastic again.  They also assisted with the meticulous planning and cooking ahead for the next day.  Thank goodness I did production for all those years, is all I can say!
 Yzerfontein Lunch Team Ginger & Lime food studio
I arrived here with 2 cars full of stuff, from special pots, pans & knives, with every spice and sauce under the sun (just in case, as heaven forbid you never know when you may just need a juniper berry and not have one on hand, right!), all the dry goods (gluten free options too, of course) and then the meat, fish & chicken, and all the fresh produce and herbs for the first few days.  Actually the ordering in itself was an exercise of military precision, as in how much as well as coordinating the delivery dates and times. Well I have to say when the meat order arrived, I actually did think I was feeding an army!  Phew!  I don’t know how those guys in big restaurants do it on a daily basis, as it sure takes out the creativity of our lives.
Yzies IMG_C
We quickly established an easy routine of starting the lunch prep in the morning early, and then serving at 1pm to the crew who were by then so ready to eat, having seen some of the prep and smelt the gorgeous aromas wafting out of the kitchen. What  a wonderful bunch of people! There were people from all over the world; from New York to Amsterdam as well as the UK bunch and our local crew.  The smiles on my team’s faces got broader as the compliments rolled in.  They were SO appreciative of what we served them every single time, and could not stop commenting on this.  Of course, this is what we live for, what we do it for…for reaching into those souls and warming their hearts.  “Do you like it?” we ask with trepidation, waiting for the answer. Then that warm and fuzzy feeling that comes from hearing the praise for what you have produced, makes it all worthwhile. We puff up our chests, say “YES!” to ourselves silently, and can’t wait to do it all again, even better next time, and give them even more, just for that moment that you experienced. For the recognition, for the appreciation. They all said they could feel that the food was cooked with love, unlike most of the catering companies for whom this becomes just another job on the board, as I can fully appreciate and understand. If we did this all the time, this would probably happen too.
Yzerfontein Lunch Buffet Ginger & Lime food studio 2 Yzerfontein Lunch Buffet Ginger & Lime food studio CTPRODIMG_5164
Then back to the kitchen to begin the preparation for that evening’s meal, as well as start prep for the next day.  Dinner was often not until 9pm, as they shot with sunset light most evenings, so our day didn’t end until 10pm or so.  Then we would get to put our feet up on that table, and enjoy a very large glass of wine, and some mindless sitcom to switch off the adrenalin rushing through our veins.
Yzerfontein holiday beach house
I LOVE cooking, what can I say!  What a privilege to have cooked for these two amazing teams, to have stayed out here on the beach, to work out of the most incredible houses and to be supported by the most wonderful team throughout the job: Kim, Gabi, Almo, Lee, Tinashe, Tapiwa & of course Mary, I could not have done this without you. I am truly grateful. Till the next one, guys, bring it on, I am ready!!!!!
Please remember to book your private events at the Beach Houses or at Ginger & Lime by sending us an email
info@gingerandlime.co.za | Online Course Bookings | denise@ctprod.co.za

Sunday Morning Musings by Denise

Denise Levy By Cape Town Photographer Adrian Shields 00117… And my very appropriate angel card for the day!

I was reminiscing over the past few days, about the path that I have been on with Ginger & Lime, and all the fantastic things that have been happening.  The journey has been an incredible one, and has personally stretched me beyond anything I thought I would be capable of,  that I thought I would be able to do and achieve. I was taken way out of my comfort zone, to a feeling and sense of achievement that I had not yet experienced in any of my other careers.  I put myself, my passion and my soul on the line, exposed, raw and open for all to see.  I am becoming more of who I am meant to be with each challenge that is presented to me, and all it took was taking that first step, even though I couldn’t see the top of the staircase.  I know that I am only a few steps up, but I also know that I am on the right path. I am where I am meant to be, and the people that have been drawn into this amazing journey, are meant to be with me. The support I am receiving, and the people that are showing up at my doorstep are making this a fascinating ride.

I wake up physically tired, yet emotionally elated, with a sense of incredible excitement as to what the day will bring.  Every day brings new opportunities and new experiences, with people contacting us from all over the world with so many different requests.  They want to be part of the magic that we are offering, they feel our passion, and they have faith in what we are doing. What a feeling this gives us!  I go to bed, drained, exhausted and yet on a high of note as I relive the all the happy, funny or trying moments that happened during that day. I just want to give more, share more and all  FOR THE LOVE OF COOKING. Knowing that my team feels the same as I do, that they give me the back up that I need to keep going, to want to reach new heights and to take this further that we ever dreamed of, with them alongside of me.

When I think back as to how it all started, going to Liam’s place for an evening lesson, & just feeling so happy, so at home and feeling that this was so right.  I then, of course, went back to as many of his lessons as I could fit in, as that was my treat, my way of relaxing, my happy place where I could immerse myself in the kitchen with no distractions, & become part of his world for a little while.   And then, that AHA moment, when I realised that I wanted to be on the other side of the counter where Liam stood, teaching, cooking… not an observer, but to be fully immersed in it, knife in hand & showing what I could do. Sharing all the years of experience from all the hours spent in the kitchen… Finally finding an outlet for my creative foodie to come out and play. It was like a light bulb going on and illuminating my life, it just felt so right. I want to grab this, own it & do it! I decided in that moment, that I would make this happen.  And for those of you who know me, when I make that decision, I will follow through, and it will happen.

Denise Blog 1

My angel card

Then the researching other courses on offer, the way other chefs taught, ran their schools and classes, seeing what I enjoyed and what I didn’t like, where I thought we could improve on what they did, and using these as references to find exactly our niche.   Then the day coming when I had to commit to the final kitchen design, equipment choices, and the work began, and there was no turning back now.   What a project to work on!  The kitchen became real, Ginger & Lime had to now start to crawl, had to get out there, and this was probably the scariest part.  Talking is easy, but I was now put to the test, and had to learn to fly fast, and just do it. I kind of get how a baby bird felt when it is pushed out of the nest!

I am blessed to have found my reason for being here, for being able to follow my heart and my dreams,  and make them real, and for being given the support all the way along.  I have learnt courage and how to be brave, stand tall, and to be fearless in the kitchen.  I have learnt to believe in myself, my abilities, my skills and to appreciate my talent, and I have learnt how to share this with others.  I am learning how to shine my light.  I am learning how to delegate, and to help to grow those that are on this journey with me, and loving the feeling of pride that I have in them as their abilities and their confidence grow.

I watch in awe as the requests for special events, product launches, recipe development, guest chefs, TV shows and course enquiries pour in, and I feel the mounting excitement inside of me. I see the endless possibilities.   I fully embrace the knowledge that there will be a TV show of our own, and that the Recipe Books will happen, as well as a product that I will develop, and I see the how this process is also unfolding and just happening.

Denise Blog 4And most of all, despite the physical challenges of the 16 hour days, sore backs and aching knees, I love the rush of adrenalin and pure energy that seems to flow from a source outside of me, as we start our “performance”, and feel the guests anticipation of what is to come. I love the interaction both with our aspiring  “amateur chef” guests as well as with the other seriously talented professional chefs, and the fact that they love this beautiful space that I have created, and that they too want to be associated with it and be a part of Ginger & Lime.  I love the fact that they have accepted me into their world, despite the fact that they may never have actually cooked with me, nor tasted my food, and despite the fact that I do not have any formal training.  Guess they must feel that I have added value to the industry in my own way, and that makes me okay.  I feel  very much a part of something way bigger than just me, part of an exclusive club. Oh and how I appreciate the input from a giant of a chef like Liam, that he takes the time and energy to nurture Ginger & Lime, to support and endorse us, as well as to train Almo, which of course adds so much more to us all, as we learn through him and his time at Chef’s Warehouse.

Denise Blog 6

And as for Gavin, despite knowing that it would mean that he has to share not only his home, but also me and my time with so many others, has encouraged and helped connect me all the way along this journey.  He subtly pushed me when I had any self doubt, and believed in me all the way. I know I could not have ever come this far without his unwavering support.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What a week this has been!  Starting off with the SA BRANDY  at home event, finally after weeks of prep, and having our first very own recipe book printed in glossy full colour, with an influential who’s who’s as far as trend influencers go in the kitchen, and being blown away by our food creations, was a seriously  gratifying experience.  We DID it!  They loved the recipes, the food and the whole package.  We ROCKED!  I went to bed with the hugest smile on my face, and pure joy in my heart, knowing that I had done the best that I could, and that it was worth all the hard work that we all put into the project.  You get out what you put in, always.  My aim is always to overdeliver, to give people more than they expect, to WOW them.

Denise Blog 7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then the next evening,  having the contrast with the YPO event with  youngsters (19 to 25) who took to the Masterchef Challenge and show impressed us no end with their enthusiasm, energy and the way they embraced the project and the fabulous end results.  It restores our faith in the generation to come, knowing that we have future leaders of this calibre around.

Denise Blog 8 Neill AnthonyAnd the highlight of the week,  having Neill Anthony (Private Chef), Liam Tomlin and Matt Manning here the other evening, all at the same time…..TV crew all over and cameras rolling, the A List of all A list guests sitting at my table eating the fabulous food (you should have seen the Louboutins, Chanel and the diamonds!),  drinking in the atmosphere and so enjoying it, was an amazing experience. And there we were,  hanging out in the hallway, chatting up a storm, drinking wine, sharing our stories and our lives…. I cannot put into words how that made me feel.  How it makes me want more of this, this interaction, this feeding off each other and  off our ideas!  I know this is just the beginning, and I am ready for more, so BRING IT ON!

 

I also love and am deeply appreciative of our team, the very real support offered on a physical and a spiritual level,  and the special dynamics and relationships between us…. Each one of these people is a vital cog in the wheel of this awesome machine called Ginger & Lime.  I know that this is a team effort, and that although I may be the one leading us, it takes a team to make the magic happen. I AM TRULY BLESSED!

House

 

 

This is Me shoot with Adrian Shields

I thought I would share some of the photos I had done with Cape Town Photographer, Adrian Shields in 2015 with you. Adrian first visited our food studio with his wife Jaimi, who is our social media assistant, in February 2015 after she started working with us, since then their faces are regularly among the buzzing crowd in our kitchen. This shoot is listed as part of his “this is me” series which focuses on the personalities behind the brand, the passion and the behind the scenes.

Visit the rest of the photographs HERE | Visit our food studio HERE

Denise Levy By Cape Town Photographer Adrian Shields 00161 Denise Levy By Cape Town Photographer Adrian Shields 00110 Denise Levy By Cape Town Photographer Adrian Shields 00117 Denise Levy By Cape Town Photographer Adrian Shields 00120
Denise Levy By Cape Town Photographer Adrian Shields 00142

 

 

Denise Levy By Cape Town Photographer Adrian Shields 00125 Denise Levy By Cape Town Photographer Adrian Shields 00157

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Come and cook with us at Ginger & Lime in Fresnaye near Sea Point, we also cater for private functions, corporate get togethers and team builds. Give us a shout.