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.

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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.

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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.

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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!




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