Interview: Chef Martin Kobald shares personal food choices & 11 food trends for 2017 @ChefMLK #ChefOfTheDay #JoziChefs

Name: Chef Martin Kobald
Establishment: ChefMLK

Q. How would you describe your style of cooking? What inspires you?
A: My style of cooking is “Personal”, every dish I make has a bit of me in it, I want my food to feed your soul. At ChefMLK, we’re all about doing things a little differently, and I love to encourage South Africans to think a little bit out of the normal grocery box. We are blessed with some of the finest ingredients – both local and imported – and there’s no reason that everything should be done the way it always was. Bringing some modern flavour to a traditional recipe brings spark, creativity and an element of delight.

Q: Describe a typical day in your restaurant?
A: Every day is jam-packed and different for me. It always starts with saying “Good morning gorgeous” whether it be checking into my Culinary School, meeting with clients or suppliers or planning the next catering job. There is no typical day as my job ranges from develop recipes to providing professional culinary consulting services, judging at various relevant events around the world and of course cooking training at the ChefMLK School of Cooking. Being a vice -president of the Worldchefs – World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS), my career has given me the opportunity to travel and learn about cuisines from all over the world, and I make use of this knowledge every day in a myriad of different ways.

Q: What have been your proudest moments as a chef?
A: Being the Convener of the Bidvest World Chefs Tour Against Hunger in 2011 were we raised R8 million to feed hungry children in South Africa

Q: What has been your biggest learning curve?
A: Opening a culinary school has been my biggest learning curve. Running a growing network of cooking schools that offers training of an international standard requires focus, business acumen and a large dollop of passion. ChefMLK School of Cooking is a City & Guilds approved center and offers a City & Guilds Qualification in Food Preparation and Culinary Arts. (Level 1 & 2) The schools are based in Johannesburg, Durban and Windhoek with plans for further growth in the future which keeps me very busy and on my toes.

Q. What are your favourite ingredients? And, 1 ingredient that we will never find in your kitchen?
A: My ChefMLK -Moroccan Rub is my favourite ingredient and I love cooking with Bok Choi. One thing you will never find in my kitchen is truffle oil.

Q. What is your favourite dish that you enjoy cooking?
A: My favourite dish to cook is Beef Consume broth or beef goulash. The one dish I could eat and make all the time through any season is soup of some kind.

Q: Six people (dead or alive) who you would like to cook for?
A: It is very difficult to mention names, I love to cook for people: that appreciate cooked food, hungry people that are not knowing what their next meal would be, for my family and friends. If I had to choose famous people I would choose:- Don Henley & Glenn Frey † from the Eagles, Angus & Malcolm Young from AC/DC & Thuli Madonsela – Past Public Protector – South Africa & Last but not least, Cristeta Comerford, the white house Executive Chef since 2005.

Q. What trends / challenges are restaurants facing in 2017?
A: The top challenge facing the hospitality industry as a whole is ingredients price increases in all food and beverages.

Other Top 10 Food trends include:-

Restaurants and even fast food chains are moving towards farming their own produce now. Why? Quality of food, freshness.
World trend of Healthy Fast Food.

Traditional definitions of “healthiness” are changing.
a) Whilst cutting calories and adding salads to menu are being debunked, “healthy” offerings now include transparency of the production chain and CSI.
b) Eating trends like veggie burger, banting meals, organic honest teas.

QUEST FOR TASTE, QUEST FOR EXPERIENCE – more than just a meal.
Value menus continue to the a major battleground.
Feeding people for a low cost.
How does a fast food chain manage the feasibility to sell at a low cost vs beating the competition?
Tech-savvy ordering like Uber – food delivery: convenience factor.
Move toward “snacking” culture – chains are finding new times in the day to draw in customers (e.g. McD’s $1 mozzarella sticks).
Fighting for their identity in a modern fast food market.
e.g. all-day breakfasts, build your own, coffee bars, new toppings, pastries, different breads – “home-made away from home”.
Doing away with the thin, perfect patty. The freshly made, juicy, thick patty (e.g. Rocomamas) is becoming big. How to fast food chains compete with it?
Consumers are willing to wait longer for “fast food” if it’s freshly made.
Dealing with and ever-more-fickle consumer – people will pay more for a quick meal if they know where the food comes from, if it’s healthy and if it supports their idea of “making a difference in the world”.
Food safety.

Q. The #1 thing that annoys you in restaurants?
A: Poor service and excuses

Q. Any final thoughts you’d like to share?
A: Life is too short to eat bad food, make very meal count

Visit www.chefmlk.com.

Editor's choice