Mynhardt Joubert was, with his cooking partner Chef Tiaan Langenegger, the winner of kykNET’s first Kokkedoor reality cooking series. This month he features as the Spekko Chef of the Month.
Mynhardt, a brand ambassador for the KWV, started his professional career on the ballet stage, but he soon fell headlong in love with food after working in a wine bar.
His first restaurant endeavor was as chef and co-owner of the Bar Bar Blacksheep in Riebeeck Kasteel. Winemaker Anton Espost, co-owner of the restaurant, became Mynhardt’s mentor. His message: “Cook simple, from the heart and with love” and the people will come to eat your food.
What is the first dish you ever cooked?
“Pastorie Hoender” a lovely dish made with roasted chicken cooked in a sauce on top of rice in the oven. I was very proud of my efforts!
Who is your favourite TV chef?
Definitely Jamie Oliver, he has managed to stay ahead of the times and is always original, fresh and real in his approach to cooking and entertaining
Who had the most influence in your career as a chef?
Anton Espost, a wine maker and larger than life person from Riebeek Kasteel with whom I opened my first restaurant in Riebeek called Bar Bar Black Sheep. His influence was profound as he woke me up to the beauty and simplicity of peasant food and country cooking. I will never forget his first words to me: “Just cook honest good food and the people will come” and they did.
What is your favourite South African ingredient?
Bireyani spices from Atlas Trading in the Bo-Kaap. I love cooking Bireyani and to me is one of the authentic flavours of South Africa.
Your best food on the planet?
The food I grew up with in the Eastern Free State: lamb tripe served on brown rice, there is nothing that makes me miss home more than the mention of this dish…
How would you describe you style of cooking?
I would describe my cooking as “Soul food”. I love flamboyant and rich flavours and textures in food. Cooking for me is a passion and the food has to speak to the people I cook it for and usually conveys a message.
Your biggest food dream?
To travel through Europe for three months eating, writing, cooking and photographing my journey through food.
Mynhardt, when you are in love, what would you cook for your partner?
I would source the most freshest and seasonal local ingredients I can get my hands on attentively prepare it with care and let my heart lead the way.
Describe your best winter dish.
“Leipoldt’s Slow cooked lamb and tomato bredie with waterblommetjies and served on Basmati Rice”.
Name your best eating out spots.
Savoy Cabbage in Heritage Square in Cape Town has been my favourite for years, followed closely by Bizerca, Bread and Wine in the Franschoek Valley is really special for lunch and for fun The Mexican Kitchen off Long Street.
And your markets?
I have just been on holiday on the Garden Route and was very impressed with the Sedgefield Market held once a week there. It was vibrant and packed with food lovers and stall holders and producers really passionate about their product.
What are the other loves in your life?
I am a movie fanatic and could watch alternative and art films for days on end. Photography is a growing passion and I love reading.
What is the best piece of kitchen equipment you have?
A small purple Victorinox knife that I use to do everything with. I have got many other knives but I find my hand reaching for it every time…
If you could invite a few guests to cook for, who would they be?
I would gather around a table of my favourite actresses: Anna Mart van der Merwe, Antoinette Kellerman, Sandra Prinsloo, Cate Blanchett, Judy Dench, Maggie Smith, Scarlett Johansson, Frances Mc Dormant, Lilly Tomlin and Bette Midler, this list could go on…
If you had to live off the land, could you slaughter a rabbit or a chicken?
Yes if the need calls for it I would!