Clement Pedro, Woolworths Taste magazine food assistant and a winner of a Spekko Rice Celebrity Chefs Cook-Off earlier in 2015.
“Food is my life” says talented chef Clement Pedro. This is no wonder, with his passion, he also has the dream job of any potential food writer – that of food assistant to Abigail Donnelly at Woolworths TASTE MAGAZINE.
Clement was set on a career in the business world before he found his true passion. A 3 year stint to become a professional chef followed at the Cape Town Hotel School
He loves rice, having fallen in love with this grain when he worked as a student chef on a Spekko Rice stand at a GF & WS in Cape Town. One of his favourite dishes is a Cape Malay spin on a classic rice pudding: the fragrant dish is prepared with cardamom, cinnamon, condensed milk, a touch of cream and then toasted almond flakes.
Load shedding is a breeze for Clem – he keeps a tub of cooked rice handy in his fridge to make a favourite dish of his: Chili egg fried rice. Within minutes and with the benefit of a gas stove, the dish is thrown together with soya sauce, sesame oil, chilli paste, garlic and ginger through which an egg is scrambled. Crispy fried onions, spring onions and fresh coriander rounds off this masterpiece.
We asked Clem few questions:
What is the first dish you ever cooked?
I remember cooking eggs, bacon and grilled tomatoes for my parents. Now, I cook with my heart and all my emotions for them to show my love and appreciation. My sisters and I have so much to be thankful for.
What is your favourite South African ingredient?
Garam masala definitely. We make our own blends here. Many cultures use it in one way or another. Myself,, in curries, stews and marinades.
Your best food on the planet?
My mom’s oxtail curry with beans, served by mom on rice – definitely Spekko in our house.
How would you describe you style of cooking?
Traditional as in methods and techniques, but with a rustic flair. Rustic being my own “twist”.
Your biggest food dream?
To get people to enjoy cooking and sharing food together. Cooking should be taught in schools.
Clem, when you are in love, what would you cook for your partner?
Loads of food, French, buttery, creamy and delicious.
Describe your best winter dish.
Comfort comes first: Asian curried ribs cooked until sticky and served with a Spekko Royal Umbrella Jasmine Rice.
Name your best eating out spots.
The Pot Luck Club, Bap Shayona (for the best vegetarian Indian food) and Bistro Bizerca – all in Cape Town.
And your markers?
The Market at the Palms and Route 44.
What are the other love in your life?
Architecture, literature, our family Toy Pomeranian and my cute Scottish terrier. Oh yes, I want to travel to the Middle East and Asia.
What is the best piece of kitchen equipment you have?
My pressure cooker. I can prepare dishes that would normally take hours to cook in less than an hour.
If you could invite a few guests to cook for, who would they be?
Evita Bezuidenhout, Nataniel, Dora Sitole, Shapiro to illustrate it all, Helen Zille and Andrew Zimmern from the Bazaar Food Travel channel.
If you had to live off the land, could you slaughter a rabbit or a chicken?
Definitely – especially if I know they were raised organically and with care. We all have become so used to “eat off the shelves of a supermarket”.
Check Clement Pedro out in the Woolworths Taste magazine. We spotted him on the back page in the May issue with his recipe for a perfect starter: A crisp Grana Padano tower with Parma ham and a white chocolate drizzle.