Sharon Pye gave up a successful legal career to enter the wonderful world of culinary arts. The 53-year-old from Lonehill in Sandton graduated from the Rosebank branch of Capsicum Culinary Studio this month (March) and is looking forward to working in the industry after doing internships at a number of restaurants including Rosebank’s Sotto Sopra where she learnt the risotto recipe she shares here.
“When I had a sickly child with learning difficulties, I had to give up my legal career and I immersed myself in cooking books and magazines,” says Pye. “I discovered a whole new world and was determined to learn and improve my skills when my youngest child matriculated in 2018.”
Pye signed up for a three-year professional chefs’ course and any qualms about being a mature student soon disappeared.
“It’s a tough industry but I’ve learnt so much, both at the school and working in restaurant kitchens. In five years’ time I would like to be well on my way to becoming a head chef and putting my management and cookery skills to use.”
Pye answers a few fun questions.
Name five things always in your fridge or pantry:
Butter, pasta, chicken breasts, tinned tomatoes and olive oil.
Her last meal?
My mother’s Cornish pasty just as her mother made before her.
What does she not eat?
If she had to cook dinner for five famous people, who would they be and what would she make them?
Julia Child – Sole meuniere
Nelson Mandela – Chicken curry
Marco Pierre White – Croque monsieur
Barack Obama – Apple pie
Michelle Pfeiffer – Tofu and porcini mushroom
Favourite kitchen utensil and why?
My heavy-based cherry red Le Creuset frying pan. I use it every chance I get, from making curries to soups.
Favourite celebrity cook?
PRAWN AND LOBSTER BISQUE RISOTTO
900ml Vegetable stock
200ml Prawn & lobster bisque
1 Onion, finely chopped
1 Garlic clove, minced
100g Parmesan, grated
15ml Olive oil
400g Arborio rice
250ml White wine
3 Prawns in shell, grilled
Heat vegetable stock and keep to one side.
Heat oil, add onion and garlic and soften for 15 minutes.
Add rice to the onion mixture and stir until slightly translucent.
Add wine & stir. Once alcohol is cooked off, start ladling vegetable stock slowly into the rice mixture and simmer.
Keep adding stock, allowing each ladle to be fully absorbed.
Just before risotto is al dente, add prawn/ obster bisque and stir.
Remove from heat and add butter, parsley and half of parmesan.
Once plated, use grilled prawns as decoration.
Use the remaining parmesan to serve.