Name: Chef Jason Whitehead
Establishment: Author & Consultant
Q. How would you describe your style of cooking? What inspires you?
A: It has changed so many times through the years, as you visit different countries and explore different cuisines. I was French trained, but always had an attraction and love for Eastern cuisine, especially Indian and Thai. I have visited both countries for foodie explorations, and spent quite some time in Thailand getting my masters in Thai cookery. Since writing my cookbook, I have ventured more into healthy cooking, omitting sugar and overly processed foods. So in a nutshell, I would say that my style of cooking is very health focused with influences from Europe and the East.
There is definitely a move towards healthier eating and health conscious restaurants.
Chef Jason Whitehead
Q: What have been your proudest moments as a chef?
A: Having recently won an award for my cookbook, being nominated the most innovative cookbook in South Africa. My restaurant, which I sold in 2015, was always in the top 20 restaurants out of over 1,000 on TripdAvisor, which was definitely a proud moment too.
Q: What has been your biggest learning curve?
A: Finding my own unique style, and not always comparing myself to other chefs. Having faith in my own abilities as a chef and believing in myself really was a game changer for me.
Q. What are your favourite ingredients? And, 1 ingredient that we will never find in your kitchen?
A: So many favourite ingredients, and they keep changing too. You will always find fresh basil, coriander and tomatoes in my organic garden, and cumin and coconut milk in my cupboard. You will never find green peppers anywhere near my kitchen or garden.
Q. What is your favourite dish that you enjoy cooking?
A: Curries. I LOVE making curries, whether it be Indian, Thai or Cape Malay, the aroma that fills my house really makes me smile and salivate at the same time.
Q: Six people (dead or alive) who you would like to cook for?
A: My late mother for sure; Graham Norton to keep me entertained while I’m cooking; Donald Trump (I’ll leave the reasons to your imagination); Sia, so that I can see her in the flesh; The Dali Lama and Victoria Beckham (that girl needs to eat something!).
Q. What trends / challenges are restaurants facing in 2017?
A: There is definitely a move towards healthier eating and health conscious restaurants.
Q. The #1 thing that annoys you in restaurants?
A: Bad service.
Q. Any final thoughts you’d like to share?
A: Go fourth and grow your own.