Bloggirls Q & A
Food blogger Ishay Govender chats to us about her favourite restaurants and her ideal dinner guests.
When did your passion for cooking and food begin?I was definitely more focussed on academic pursuits when I was a kid, apart from the random "everything in the cupboard" desserts I would experiment with, that no one would try! I started taking a real interest in food in my late teens and early twenties at university.
What is your favourite dish to make?
What a toughie to choose one. I love using herbs and spices so South East Asian dishes translate well with my style. And slow cooked stews using seasonal veg.
What has been the proudest moment of your blogging career?
I started the blog in September 2010, so I feel it's still quite new in comparison to many. Being awarded the best food and wine blog last year at the SA Blog Awards was a highlight thus far. Apart from the selected amount of work I showcase for clients, the blog is a journal for me, so I prefer to keep it fun and write about what interests me and not necessarily what will bring "hits".
What do you find most challenging part of blogging?
Not all of what I cook or experience gets on to the blog, especially when I'm travelling with a hectic schedule like we have been for the past three months. Blogging takes time, as well as dedication and inspiration.
What is your idea of the perfect winter’s meal?
I'm going to advocate a curry or something with spice and zing in any weather, but one of the things I'm really looking forward to when we return to the South African winter is a chicken curry with potatoes and basmati rice or a xacuti, a peppery spiced Goan dish I learned about in Portugal. A glass of South African Chenin's to go with it. I'm looking forward to winter comfort foods by the fireplace.
What are your favourite food blogs?
I enjoy blogs that focus on experiences of life, particularly food and travel - David Lebovitz is a master and I've referred to his blog for tips on book baking and travel in Paris. Bon Attempt writes food related essays that are humourous and I've always enjoyed Ruth Reichl's style. I'm drawn to the ability of some to be witty and informative on microblogging platforms such as twitter. Here Trish Deseine, excels.
What are your three favourite restaurants in South Africa?
Haiku for dim sum and rapid service, La Mouette for great value tasting menus, and fireplace seating, Hemelhuijs for brunch. I am biased towards Cape Town, naturally.
You’ve travelled quite a bit. Where is your food capital of the world?
It's impossible to compare New York to Marrakech for example, and not fair too. I think London has got variety down pat, Istanbul has fresh food as fast food under its belt and Cape Town for value.
What foodie destination is next on your list?
There are so many. I think I'm going to have to put it all in a hat and draw one out.
If you could choose anyone dead or alive to cook for, who would you choose and what would you cook?
I do wish I had more of an opportunity to cook for my parents who live in Richard's Bay. In terms of a dinner party scenario, I think it would be fun (and exceptionally challenging) to cook for Meryl Streep, Jerry Seinfeld and Nigel Slater. If the dinner flops, I think Jerry could handle the entertainment and Nigel could whip us up an omelette with herbs from my garden.
What’s your dream cooking experience?
If I could return to the kitchens of both my grandmothers (long since passed), whom I never cooked with as a child, but now, as an adult and interested cook, I would love that. Not only to learn how to make these traditional recipes, but to ask the stories of our family’s history and food journey that I never had an opportunity to.