Oyster Box chef Kevin Joseph Q & A

Chef Caro sits down for a chat with the man himself.

by: Caro de Waal | 22 Jun 2010
kevin joseph

The Oyster Box is an experience. A more-than-beautiful hotel on the beach in Umhlanga in KZN that conjures up tales of romance and exotic lands.

Chef Kevin Joseph is at the helm and with a casual and fine dining restaurant, conferencing, weddings and banqueting he has his hands full.

The fine dining restaurant, The Grill sees about 7-10 engagement rings hidden in the food a week, that's how fabulous it is, and the food on The Terrace was lovely - see my review here.

Kevin has an impressive background and has done time at The Peninsula Hotel in Cape Town, the Raffles Hotel in Singapore and the Michelin-starred ‘Tamarind’ and ‘Claridges’ Restaurants in London.

He has been with The Oyster Box for 6 years and within that time has had the privilege of traveling to their many hotels worldwide.

We sat down for a chat with him:

Q: Where did your love of cooking begin, can you pinpoint an incident or moment when you knew this would be your future?

A: I remember every Sunday watching my dad cook breakfast and seeing how it brought my family together and the fun we had around the table, he became my hero.

Q: What is your style of cooking? How has it evolved and changed?

A: I enjoy cooking old-fashioned food with a modern twist to the recipes and the presentation. I have evolved in the sense that I now prefer real food that is cooked naturally.

Q: What is the most exotic thing you have ever cooked with or tasted? Describe the dish.

A: While I worked in Singapore I had to cook with one of their local chefs and we were given dried locust as the main ingredient. He deep fried them and I, being Indian, curried them. They were very tasty.

Q: What is the worst meal you’ve ever cooked? What happened?

A: I once cooked chicken a la king for my kids at home and used sweetened cream instead of fresh cream, it tasted like a chicken dessert.

Q: What is the one implement in the kitchen you cannot do without? Why?

A: My personal chef’s knife, we have been together since my training and I am most comfortable using it.

Q: What in your opinion is the most underrated ingredient? Why?

A: Lentils, because people don’t understand how nutritional they are and they add an eastern feel to almost any dish. They can be used in almost any application such as casseroles, stews and as an accompaniment to an a la carte meal.

Q: What is your favourite thing/dish to cook at home/at the restaurant?

A: I enjoy a braai and my favourite dish is my wasabi, ginger, soya and honey marinated chicken.

Q: What is the best meal you’ve had in 2010?

A: My best meal to date was at Gordon Ramsay at Claridges in London.

Q: What is your most successful seduction meal?

A: Seared tuna with black and white sesame seeds, watercress and lentil salad, citrus and wasabi dressing.

Q: What, in your opinion is sexy food?

A: I believe any food can be sexy, it all depends on the way you describe it and the way in which it is prepared and served but my sexiest choice would be anything with chocolate.

Q: What was your most valuable lesson ever in running a restaurant?

A: Finding out that the chef does not need to be a tyrant and that you get better co-operation and loyalty from your staff if you care about them as human beings.

Q: What is your favourite food and wine combination?

A: I am not much of a wine person but my combination would be a glass of “Singleton” single malt whisky and a chocolate dessert.

Q: If you could have anyone cook for you – who would it be?

A: Alain Ducasse.

Q: Who would you like to sit down for dinner with – anyone in the world? 6 people.

A: Alain Ducasse, Gordon Ramsay, Mandela, My Wife so that she could control Ramsay, John Smit and Madonna for entertainment. If Batman was available I would swap any of the above to have dinner with him because he is my HERO.

Q: What would be your top foodie destination?

A: France.

Q: Your top recipe book of the moment?

A: “On A Plate” signature dishes from S.A’s award winning chefs by Jess Watts.

Q: Favourite place to eat out in SA?

A: La Colombe in Cape Town

Q: Your best foodie memory?

A: Being taught a recipe for spaghetti bolognaise by my two sons which includes Mayonnaise!

Q: Food hero?

A: Alain Ducasse.

Q: Food villain?

A: Jamie Oliver

Read more on: caro de waal  |  umhlanga  |  chef  |  food


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