The Radisson SAS Hotel Sandton has secured the talent of top South African chef, Paul Gindra, as Executive Chef for the hotel and their new restaurant Vivace.
We sat down with Paul to chat about his new role and some of his favourite foodie things.
1. Tell us about yourself and how you got to where you are now?
I grew up in Durban and left at the age of 17 for the UK. I started working as a chef in Southampton where I did my apprenticeship at the five star De Vere Grand Harbour Hotel.
I have been working as a chef for the past 12 years and have been fortunate to work in some of the most exclusive hotels and with some really fantastic chefs. Opening the new Radisson hotel has definitely been the biggest challenge yet.
2. The name Vivace means lively in Italian, how does this new venture suit your cooking style?
I have really grasped this concept of going back to basics and cooking uncomplicated dishes that rely on the natural flavours and the best quality ingredients. Saying that though, cooking this style of food is more complicated than it seems and you have to make sure that the few items on the dish are always cooked to perfection.
3. How would you describe your food to someone who has never eaten it before?
It is uncomplicated, fresh and may remind you of home with a slight twist.
4. What meal did you cook for Brad Pitt?
It was a citrus baked ricotta terrine with baby shoots, roast red onions and a fig balsamic reduction.
5. Over the holidays most of us revert to the most traditional foods we know. What do you cook for the holidays?
This year I am playing around with a traditional Italian Christmas lunch which includes dishes like a chicken broth with a wild mushroom tortellini, seared lamb rump and also tuna Carpaccio.
6. What do you think of global trends like veganism?
I don’t know where all these people were 20 years ago, I think in some cases it is more of a fashion statement. But at the end of the day I am in the service industry and will always do my best to accommodate any of my guest's requests.
7. If you could have any chef cook for you who would it be?
8. Your favourite recipe book:
The French Laundry by Thomas Keller.
9. Favourite place to eat in South Africa:
I would have to say my most recent great meal was at Roots Restaurant.
10. Your best foodie memory:
I recently went to Yve Matanye’s two Michelin starred restaurant in Brussels where I had the most delicious and expensive sole of my life.