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Amazon Alex

Yesterday, acclaimed Brazilian chef Alex Atala took to the stage at The Design Indaba as a ‘Food Design’ speaker. He seduced the packed room with his passion for Brazil, indigenous ingredients and food philosophy. Some out-takes are:
“Old ideas can be more clever and modern than new ideas. New ideas tend to be driven by innovation, think of the phone to the smart phone.”
“What is creativity for a chef? It’s not doing something that’s not been done. It’s doing something surprising.”
“The best way to be global is to be local.”
At one point Margot Janse joined him on stage, so we asked her a few questions.
What did you do on stage?
Nothing! [laughs]. He said I was his translator, but I didn’t need to translate anything. My Portuguese is great. [laughs again].
How would you describe his cooking style?
He’s my hero, my inspiration. I really appreciate that he so respects his country and is proud of Brazil. He realises he has a responsibility to educate people about the amazing produce and culture. In his speech he spoke about reinventing and making food a surprise; you’re getting something that’s already done, but in a new way—and he shows respect to where it’s come from.
His food is not overdone, and he honours Brazil in such a deep way.
He’s coming to eat at The Tasting Room tonight?
Yes, and everybody is asking me what I’m going to give him. Well, what I usually do! But I’ll start off with suurvygies. I’ve visited his restaurant, D.O.M in Brazil many times and I’ve given him baobab and buchu already!
What Brazilian ingredients piqued your interest?
All the strange and unbelievable things from the Amazon; from the wetland plant priprioca which he uses in desserts as you would vanilla, to jambu root which literally tastes  electric.

Yesterday, acclaimed Brazilian chef Alex Atala took to the stage at The Design Indaba as a ‘Food Design’ speaker. He seduced the packed room with his passion for Brazil, indigenous ingredients and food philosophy. Some out-takes are:

“Old ideas can be more clever and modern than new ideas. New ideas tend to be driven by innovation, think of the phone to the smart phone.”

“What is creativity for a chef? It’s not doing something that’s not been done. It’s doing something surprising.”

“The best way to be global is to be local.”

alex atala

At one point Margot Janse joined him on stage, so we asked her a few questions.

What did you do on stage?
Nothing! [laughs]. He said I was his translator, but I didn’t need to translate anything. My Portuguese is great. [laughs again].

How would you describe his cooking style?
He’s my hero, my inspiration. I really appreciate that he so respects his country and is proud of Brazil. He realises he has a responsibility to educate people about the amazing produce and culture. In his speech he spoke about reinventing and making food a surprise; you’re getting something that’s already done, but in a new way—and he shows respect to where it’s come from.

His food is not overdone, and he honours Brazil in such a deep way.

He’s coming to eat at The Tasting Room tonight?
Yes, and everybody is asking me what I’m going to give him. Well, what I usually do! But I’ll start off with suurvygies. I’ve visited his restaurant, D.O.M many times and I’ve given him baobab and buchu already!

What Brazilian ingredients piqued your interest?
All the strange and unbelievable things from the Amazon; from the wetland plant priprioca which he uses in desserts as you would vanilla, to jambu root which literally tastes  electric.

Posted by: Susan Huxter
Posted in: Chefs, Indaba, Ingredients, Inspiration,
comment-notesComments: 0


  

Learn a language free online

Peux je prendre un café et un croissant? Or ‘Can I order a coffee and croissant?’
Wouldn’t it be grand to sit at a Paris sidewalk café and utter that magic phrase in French? These days anything is possible online. We’ve discovered an amazing, interactive site where you can learn a number of languages for free. The layout is easy to follow and the information is comprehensive. You can learn French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, German and more. Plus you don’t have to do it alone; you can invite friends to complete the modules with you.
Do we want to learn a new language for free? I think the answer can only be, Oui!

Peux je prendre un café et un croissant? Or ‘Can I order a coffee and croissant?’

Wouldn’t it be grand to sit at a side walk café in Paris and utter that magic phrase in French? These days anything is possible online. We’ve discovered an amazing, interactive site where you can learn a number of languages for free. The layout is easy to follow and the information is comprehensive. You can learn French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, German and more. Plus you don’t have to do it alone; you can invite friends to complete the modules with you.

Do we want to learn a new language for free? I think the answer can only be, Oui! Go to duolingo.com and get started!

french flag

Posted by: Susan Huxter
Posted in: Inspiration,
comment-notesComments: 0


  

Malik Bendjelloul chats to The New Yorker about Rodriguez

Malik Bendjelloul chats to The New Yorker about Rodriguez
As we all know by now Searching for Sugarman won an Oscar last night! We’re so, so pleased and think this accolade is richly deserved for a documentary that’s so close to the hearts of South Africans.
We did some digging and found an article from August 2012, in The New Yorker about the documentary and the man himself, Sixto Rodriguez.
Here’s an interview excerpt from the article.
You said you were taking tips, looking for stories, when you found out about Rodriguez.
I had been working for Swedish National TV, the SVT, on something called “Cobra,” an arts and cultural show that did stories like you’d find in The New Yorker. But in 2006, I quit and went backpacking, looking for stories with a camera. In six months, I went to sixteen countries: Ethiopia, all the countries in Central America, and a few countries in South America. I went to many places. I found quite a few pretty good stories, but this was the one I was like, “Wow, this is like a fairy tale, this is scripted, this sounds too good to be true.” I fell in love, very, very much. I’d never spent more than four weeks on story before, and I spent four years on this. Normally, I get a salary when I work. I didn’t get any salary for four years.
You sacrificed a lot for this movie.
It was very hard to finance, it really was. The music and the illustrations and the editing was done by myself, but it wasn’t on purpose. I don’t think you should do that. I think you should collaborate with professionals, but I couldn’t because I didn’t get any funding. I borrowed money from friends and family. I didn’t really buy clothes for the last two years.
Is anybody working on that trail of money that Rodriguez hasn’t seen?
Rodriguez today still sells gold in South Africa—only in the last five years he sold another gold disc, but that money does not go to Clarence Avant. It goes to another company in England, and someone should investigate what happens with that money. I spoke to a South African lawyer who solved the case of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” and he said, “Sure, we can solve this, but it will take three years and we will need some money because these things are difficult.”
I didn’t get too deep into what happens with Rodriguez’s record checks today, because the story is not really about money. We had a country during apartheid that was isolated, so we didn’t have any cultural exchange. The South African record labels didn’t search for him because they couldn’t bring him to South Africa anyway, it was a boycott. We had a guy who was living in a house without a telephone, which is not very common, and we had a time before the Internet, the third factor. I mean, there are a few factors that made this story happen and the money is only one of those factors, I think.
Have you figured out how many other people knew about this phenomenon?
We haven’t screened the film in South Africa, but there are South Africans that came to screenings. A South African told me, “Of course I knew all this already. I actually had this conversation with an American a few years ago.” He also said, “We were talking about something completely different, and I said, ‘That would be like the seventies without the Beatles, the Stones, and Rodriguez,’ and the American was like, ‘What did you just say?’ ” They talk about him in the same breath as those rock gods in South Africa.
Have people reached out to you that were part of that moment after the release of the movie?
There’s one story that’s pretty cool. In 1970, track number six on “Cold Fact” is called “Inner City Blues.” Next year, 1971, there’s an album by Marvin Gaye, called “What’s Goin’ On?,” released in Detroit. Track number nine is called “Inner City Blues.” On both those albums, you find the same guy, Bob Babbitt, an amazing bass player who just passed away two weeks ago. I called a year ago and asked him, “Is this a coincidence? Or did you tell Marvin Gaye the title of this completely unknown song?” He told me, and I think he was truthful, “I don’t remember anything. I don’t even remember Rodriguez.”
Go here to read the rest of the article.

As we all know by now Searching for Sugarman won an Oscar last night! We’re so, so pleased and think this accolade is richly deserved for a story that’s so close to the hearts of South Africans.

We did some digging and found an article from August 2012, in The New Yorker about the documentary and the man himself, Sixto Rodriguez.

Here’s an interview excerpt from the article.

searching for sugarman Oscar

You said you were taking tips, looking for stories, when you found out about Rodriguez.
I had been working for Swedish National TV, the SVT, on something called “Cobra,” an arts and cultural show that did stories like you’d find in The New Yorker. But in 2006, I quit and went backpacking, looking for stories with a camera. In six months, I went to sixteen countries: Ethiopia, all the countries in Central America, and a few countries in South America. I went to many places. I found quite a few pretty good stories, but this was the one I was like, “Wow, this is like a fairy tale, this is scripted, this sounds too good to be true.” I fell in love, very, very much. I’d never spent more than four weeks on story before, and I spent four years on this. Normally, I get a salary when I work. I didn’t get any salary for four years.

You sacrificed a lot for this movie.
It was very hard to finance, it really was. The music and the illustrations and the editing was done by myself, but it wasn’t on purpose. I don’t think you should do that. I think you should collaborate with professionals, but I couldn’t because I didn’t get any funding. I borrowed money from friends and family. I didn’t really buy clothes for the last two years.

Is anybody working on that trail of money that Rodriguez hasn’t seen?
Rodriguez today still sells gold in South Africa—only in the last five years he sold another gold disc, but that money does not go to Clarence Avant. It goes to another company in England, and someone should investigate what happens with that money. I spoke to a South African lawyer who solved the case of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” and he said, “Sure, we can solve this, but it will take three years and we will need some money because these things are difficult.”

I didn’t get too deep into what happens with Rodriguez’s record checks today, because the story is not really about money. We had a country during apartheid that was isolated, so we didn’t have any cultural exchange. The South African record labels didn’t search for him because they couldn’t bring him to South Africa anyway, it was a boycott. We had a guy who was living in a house without a telephone, which is not very common, and we had a time before the Internet, the third factor. I mean, there are a few factors that made this story happen and the money is only one of those factors, I think.

Have you figured out how many other people knew about this phenomenon?
We haven’t screened the film in South Africa, but there are South Africans that came to screenings. A South African told me, “Of course I knew all this already. I actually had this conversation with an American a few years ago.” He also said, “We were talking about something completely different, and I said, ‘That would be like the seventies without the Beatles, the Stones, and Rodriguez,’ and the American was like, ‘What did you just say?’ ” They talk about him in the same breath as those rock gods in South Africa.

Have people reached out to you that were part of that moment after the release of the movie?
There’s one story that’s pretty cool. In 1970, track number six on “Cold Fact” is called “Inner City Blues.” Next year, 1971, there’s an album by Marvin Gaye, called “What’s Goin’ On?,” released in Detroit. Track number nine is called “Inner City Blues.” On both those albums, you find the same guy, Bob Babbitt, an amazing bass player who just passed away two weeks ago. I called a year ago and asked him, “Is this a coincidence? Or did you tell Marvin Gaye the title of this completely unknown song?” He told me, and I think he was truthful, “I don’t remember anything. I don’t even remember Rodriguez.”

Go here to read the rest of the article.

Posted by: Susan Huxter
Posted in: Inspiration,
comment-notesComments: 0


  

The food photographer as a painter

The food photographer as a painter
Food is art, we’ve always known that! So you can imagine how we felt when we stumbled on this food photographer /stylist’s work who approaches the subject as he would a painting, and styles it as such.
Andrew Scrivani says his work is known for his ‘painterly style’. We love the moodiness and light.  See his blog SundaySpace for more.

Food is art, we’ve always known that! So you can imagine how we felt when we stumbled on this food photographer /stylist’s work who approaches the subject as he would a painting, and styles it as such.

Andrew Scrivani says his work is known for his ‘painterly style’. We love the moodiness and light.  See his blog Making SundaySauce for more.

pear sorbet

pancake

vegetables
Posted by: Susan Huxter
Posted in: Inspiration,
comment-notesComments: 0


  

How to set a table for Chinese New Year

How to set a table for Chinese New Year
Sunday, 10 February 2013 marks the Chinese New Year celebration. Whether you’re cooking an Asian feast or simply ordering takeout make sure you dress your table to impress.
The table cloth
The colour red is hugely symbolic in Chinese culture, it signifies life and all living things, so either use a red table cloth, or lay your table with Chinese newspapers and lay a red runner down the centre.
Prawn crackers
Sinfully delicious, these quintessential Chinese treats make beautiful table dressings too. Pile a bowl full of the colourful crackers in a red or black bowl.
Square Plates and Round Tea Cups
In China circles and squares are said to respectively represent heaven and earth. Brew a pot of jasmine tea to enjoy in the tea cups while feasting.
Red envelopes
On Chinese New Year it’s considered good luck to give a red envelope filled with money, normally to children, but for sake of the table setting place one on top of each napkin. Simply fold over red paper to make your own and adorn with a gold sticker (an image of a snake would be appropriate considering 2013 is Year of the Snake). Or buy one.

On Sunday, 10 February 2013 is the Chinese New Year celebration. Whether you’re cooking an Asian feast or simply ordering take-out make sure you dress your table to impress.

The table cloth
The colour red is hugely symbolic in Chinese culture, it signifies life and all living things, so either use a red table cloth, or lay your table with Chinese newspapers with a red runner down its centre.

Prawn crackers
Sinfully delicious, these quintessential Chinese treats make beautiful table dressings too. Pile the colourful crackers in a red or black bowl.

Square plates and round tea cups
In China circles and squares are said to respectively represent heaven and earth. Brew a pot of jasmine tea to enjoy in the tea cups while feasting.

Red envelopes
On Chinese New Year it’s considered good luck to give a red envelope filled with money, normally to children, but for sake of the table setting place one on top of each napkin.  To make your own simply fold over red paper and adorn with a gold sticker (an image of a snake would be appropriate considering 2013 is Year of the Snake). Or buy one.

chinese table setting

Posted by: Susan Huxter
Posted in: Food, Inspiration,
comment-notesComments: 0


  

Honest Cooking Magazine

And yet another cutting-edge foodie publication! Last week we reported on FOOL magazine with their rock and roll approach to food writing. This digital read promises to not disappoint either.

honest cooking

Honest Cooking is a new iPad magazine available for free download. Born out of well-respected website of the same name, the digital magazine focuses on interesting figures within the food industry, there are no recipes, but instead lengthy  features on “weird and wonderful food personalities and phenomena from around the world.”

Get it here!

focus on the most interesting people in the industry.
Void of recipes, the team behind the the new app say it has been created to tell longer stories and features on “weird and wonderful food personalities and phenomena from around the world.”
Posted by: Susan Huxter
Posted in: Inspiration,
comment-notesComments: 0


  

FOOL Magazine

FOOL Magazine
Food, insanity, brilliance and love… That’s the tagline of this rock and roll foodie mag. It’s published four times a year in Sweden, and you can order your copy online—though you have to be quick, issue #2 is already sold out. Winner of the Gourmand Book Award for Best Food Magazine of 2012 FOOL was created by husband and wife team, art director and editor Lotta Jorgensen and photographer and co-editor Per-Anders Jorgenson.
The magazine focuses on cutting-edge food photography and stories about chefs and people in the food world who inspire the enigmatic couple.
“FOOL is different to other magazines on food, taking inspiration from fashion, design and popular culture. We like working with photographs and illustrations the same way as fashion magazines. There are no recipes; no high end fashion magazine would have sewing patterns for clothes. Gastronomy needs to be taken seriously but with humour.”
Check out their website.
Another interesting foodie mag to check out is Gastronomica

Food, insanity, brilliance and love… That’s the tagline of this rock and roll foodie mag. FOOL is published four times a year in Sweden, and you can order your copy online—though you have to be quick, issue #2 is already sold out. Winner of the Gourmand Book Award for Best Food Magazine of 2013, FOOL was created by husband and wife team, art director and editor Lotta Jorgensen and photographer and co-editor Per-Anders Jorgenson.

The magazine focuses on cutting-edge food photography and stories about chefs and people in the food world who inspire the enigmatic couple. The design is brilliant and bold. A decisively unique offering that stands out from the hum-drum of foodie publishing.

“FOOL is different to other magazines on food, taking inspiration from fashion, design and popular culture. We like working with photographs and illustrations the same way as fashion magazines. There are no recipes; no high end fashion magazine would have sewing patterns for clothes. Gastronomy needs to be taken seriously but with humour.”

fool magazine

We’re hooked. FOOL please print more magazines!

Check out their website.

Another interesting foodie mag to check out is Gastronomica.

Posted by: Susan Huxter
Posted in: Inspiration,
comment-notesComments: 0


  

The kitchen of the future

The kitchen of the future
It’s 2013—where are the hover cars, the square meals in a round tablet, and helpful robot slaves?
Well, we may not have the gimmicky stuff yet, but the future sure has come to the kitchen. Check out these gadgets we scoured off the web.
The Cutting Scale
A simply brilliant idea: a cutting board that has an integrated scale within a defined area on its surface. It allows a person to both cut and measure ingredients on the same surface.
http://www.designboom.com/project/cutting-scale/
The Brainwave
It’s a fax machine, no it’s a paper shredder –actually it’s a desk top microwave. An interesting solution for people who can’t tear themselves away from their work. “The appliance works with the C8 port connected to the mains and is controlled through a computer application connected via USB. A RFID-tagged plastic spoon comes along with specially packaged meals and scanning the tag transmits the meal info to the microwave.” http://www.yankodesign.com/2010/04/29/microwave-cooking-with-the-desktop/
Portable Toaster
Perfect for picnics! Say no to soggy bread with this nifty invention. It comes with a portable plate that recharges and stores the toasting knife.
http://www.designlaunches.com/gadgets/a_crisp_cut_with_the_portable_toaster.php
The Qumi
An entry for the The Electrolux Design Lab competition, The Qumi ‘is a “flexible cooking unit”. The versatile induction cooker is egg-shaped and able to fry, steam, or heat ingredients in a manner similar to today’s multicookers. However, unlike anything on the market today, the concept appliance has absolutely no control or display panel, and instead would be operated entirely by a mobile device.’
http://www.cnet.com/8301-13553_1-20007932-32.html
The Kitchen Countertop with a Brain
A kitchen countertop that can recognise ingredients and suggest recipes and tips as well as nutritional information. Say if you place asparagus on the counter, the ‘brain’ behind it will project information onto the surface.
http://www.technologyreview.com/news/419639/a-kitchen-countertop-with-a-brain/?nlid=3199&a=f

It’s 2013—where are the hover cars, the square meals in a round tablet, and helpful robot slaves? Well, we may not have the gimmicky stuff yet, but the future sure has come to the kitchen. Check out these gadgets we scoured off the web.

The Cutting Scale
A simply brilliant idea: a cutting board that has an integrated scale within a defined area on its surface. It allows a person to both cut and measure ingredients on the same surface.

cutting scale

www.designboom.com

The Brainwave
It’s a fax machine, no it’s a paper shredder –actually it’s a desk top microwave. An interesting solution for people who can’t tear themselves away from their work. “The appliance works with the C8 port connected to the mains and is controlled through a computer application connected via USB. A RFID-tagged plastic spoon comes along with specially packaged meals and scanning the tag transmits the meal info to the microwave.”

brainwave

www.yankodesign.com

Portable Toaster
Perfect for picnics! Say no to soggy bread with this nifty invention. It comes with a portable plate that recharges and stores the toasting knife.
portable toaster 1 www.designlaunches.com

The Qumi
An entry for the The Electrolux Design Lab competition, The Qumi ‘is a “flexible cooking unit”. The versatile induction cooker is egg-shaped and able to fry, steam, or heat ingredients in a manner similar to today’s multicookers. However, unlike anything on the market today, the concept appliance has absolutely no control or display panel, and instead would be operated entirely by a mobile device.’

the qumi

www.cnet.com

The Kitchen Countertop with a Brain
This Sci-Fi invention is a kitchen countertop that can recognise ingredients and suggest recipes, tips as well as supply nutritional information. Say if you place asparagus on the counter, the ‘brain’ behind it will project information onto the surface about the vegetable. Just make sure you get a doormat that reads ‘ Welcome to The Jetsons’.

intel_coffee_x220

www.technologyreview.com

Posted by: Susan Huxter
Posted in: Inspiration,
comment-notesComments: 0


  

We love Gastronomica

Gastronomica is like a National Geographic for food. A magazine for the thinking foodie with ideas and research grounded in academics.

A note from founding editor Darra Goldstein: Gastronomica uses food as an important source of knowledge about different cultures and societies, provoking discussion and encouraging thoughtful reflection on the history, literature, representation, and cultural impact of food.”

This is an arresting publication with visually striking design and equally striking articles. Content is available on their website too, visit: www.gastronomica.org

GASTRONOMICA

Posted by: Susan Huxter
Posted in: Inspiration,
comment-notesComments: 1


  

Mo Yan’s food obsession

Mo Yan’s food obession
Put down the recipe book, and get your foodie fix through fiction.
Chinese novelist, Mo Yan, has an obsession with earthly delights. The winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature has a new book out called ‘Pow’. The New York Times describes it as ‘… a red-toothed fantasia about meat production and meat consumption.’ And, ‘The narrator is a young Chinese man, Luo Xiaotong, who as a boy loved meat so much that it called out to him, begging to be eaten. He is referred to as a “carnivorous genius” and “the world’s most gluttonous boy.” Just watching him stuff his face, one man says, “is better than embracing my wife in bed.”.’
This isn’t the novelist’s first foray into fictional food writing, the man clearly loves to eat!
Also on our must-read list by this epicurean author:
The Garlic Ballads
An epic novel set in a brutal landscape of politics; and a garlic harvest with nowhere to go.
The Republic of Wine
A rich almost surreal tale under the dark shadow of cannibalism.
Red Sorghum
A collection of five novellas spanning three generations of a Chinese family, interwoven with vivid imagery of the nation’s food.

Put down the recipe book, and get your foodie fix through fiction instead.

Chinese novelist, Mo Yan, has an obsession with earthly delights. The winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature has a new book out called ‘Pow’. The New York Times describes it as ‘… a red-toothed fantasia about meat production and meat consumption.’ And, ‘The narrator is a young Chinese man, Luo Xiaotong, who as a boy loved meat so much that it called out to him, begging to be eaten. He is referred to as a “carnivorous genius” and “the world’s most gluttonous boy.” Just watching him stuff his face, one man says, “is better than embracing my wife in bed.”.’

This isn’t the novelist’s first foray into fictional food writing, the man clearly loves to eat! pow Mo Yan

Also on our must-read list by this epicurean author:

The Garlic Ballads
An epic novel set in a brutal landscape of politics; and a garlic harvest with nowhere to go.

The Republic of Wine
A rich almost surreal tale under the dark shadow of cannibalism.

Red Sorghum
A collection of five novellas spanning three generations of a Chinese family, interwoven with vivid imagery of the nation’s food.

Posted by: Susan Huxter
Posted in: Inspiration,
comment-notesComments: 0


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