One of my favourite foodie influencers is Laura Sealy of Laura’s World!
She’s not shy to express her opinion, but she’s she never gushes about something unless it is truly fabulous. Trust me, if Laura loves something, you will love it; and if Laura loathes something, you’re best advised to avoid it.
Laura is one of the fastest growing social media influencers that I’ve met, so I’m thrilled that she took the time to answer a few questions – and to call her my friend!
Why did you start Laura’s World?
As someone who is passionate about all things food, wine and travel, I would receive requests for recommendations from friends, colleagues and acquaintances alike. Eventually, in 2013, I decided to launch my website and Laura’s World became official.
Your growth has been stratospheric – did you ever think you would become so big?
I’m not sure that we are ever where we’d like to be in terms of growth!That being said, it is great when people (who I have never met) approach me out to tell me that they follow me, or that I helped them plan their anniversary trip and share a story. I truly feel that it is a blessing to be able to relate to and interact with like-minded people who share my passion.
What excites you when visiting a restaurant?
People who genuinely love what they do as much as I do! In every case, whether it be the Chef in the kitchen or staff serving the table, it is a clear cut advantage and I truly believe that that passion shines through. Favourite Foods? Tried and tested classics done well. I couldn’t even begin to pick a cuisine as I really do love them all, but that being said, whether it is a traditional Panzarotti Al Salmone (served in a blend of smoked salmon, leeks, tomato, cream and Brandy), a medium-rare steak cooked to perfection or a good cheese sandwich, quality ingredients and good preparation make all the difference!
What turns you off when visiting a restaurant?
I firmly believe that the most telling moment when I visit a restaurant is not at the table. It’s in the bathroom. Hygiene and cleanliness standards in a restaurant matter so if you aren’t going to take the time to ensure that the bathrooms in your establishment are clean, neat and hygienic, I would struggle to think that the kitchen would be of a different standard.
Least favourite foods?
Anything with a specific Liquorish flavour to it (which includes Fennel and Aniseed)!
Margarine. I find it hard not to judge when a restaurant does not make use of butter.
What top 5 restaurants in South Africa would you recommend everyone has to try?
In order to provide context, in the past few years in South Africa, I have reviewed just over 950 restaurants so picking just five (5) is a really tough call for me but I have decided to steer clear of my favourite fine dining haunts for these recommendations:
- Freshly shucked oysters on crushed ice served with their red onion salsa at one of the best land-based whale-watching restaurants in the world… Bientang’s Cave, Hermanus. Where else in the world can you sit in a cave, watching whales playing the bay in front of you?
- A surprisingly affordable, Fishmonger classic: Lobster Bisque at Fishmonger Illovo. Don’t let the waiters fool you by recommending it as a starter. This creamy French classic is by no means small and, served with generous amounts of fish, is both delectable and sometimes messy so be sure to ask for the bib!
- Wood-oven Roasted Mozambican Chicken with spectacular 360-degree views of Franschhoek at ROCA Restaurant, at Dieu Donne.
- Tapas heaven with panoramic vineyard views at Chefs Warehouse (Beau Constantia) that are hard to beat! I’ve tried everything on the menu and still find it difficult to pick a favourite but if I had to.. Coal Seared Tuna, Korean Chilli Oil, Miso Cream Cheese, and Tigarella Tomatoes.
- A medium-rare fillet on the bone served with bone marrow and a mixed mushroom and red wine reduction sauce at Wombles Steakhouse in Johannesburg. A steakhouse that I grew up eating at in Zimbabwe, and with some of the most personalised and efficient service that you will experience in Johannesburg. What’s not to love?
Are you a good cook – and what’s your favourite dish to make at home?
With a busy career and lifestyle, I, unfortunately, do not get as much time as I’d like to dedicate to culinary skills, despite my Masterchef Australia obsession. My motto: Leave the difficult dishes to the professionals! Instead, I tend to stick to a small range of tried and tested classics that I feel that can do well and at the top of that list would have to be a roast.
What’s your guilty foodie pleasure that you’d never admit to …
That would be telling… All-you-can-eat wings (with blue cheese ranch sauce).
What is the biggest misconception people have about Laura’s World?
The misconception that because I’m passionate about food and wine, I’m overweight. I find it surprising in this day and age, that if you enjoy good food, you are perceived to look a certain way, but it has happened too many times in the past five years not to take note of it.
What advice would you give to anyone who wants to become the next biggest foodie influencer?
Reputation is everything! As rewarding as this line of work is, you need to add value and maintain relationships whilst doing it, which entails a lot of hard work so be ready for it.
Last Question: What would be your last supper?
Honestly, this is a question that I get asked A LOT and it’s a tough one because I know that given the opportunity, I would just go all out on an eating spree cross country. However, if I was hard-pressed to narrow it down, it would be my mother’s Roast Chicken.