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Off-duty: 5 SA chefs share their favourite 'lazy' meals to cook at home

Wonder what professionals cook when they're not working?

20 Mar 2018

(image: Max Delsid Upsplash)

Imagine having to spend your days (and usually nights) in a kitchen cooking food for other people. Hours and hours of pouring, chopping, stirring, slicing, mixing, frying and cleaning. After expending all that energy you'd probably find it a real chore to cook for yourself when you get home. 

We chatted with a few top SA chefs about what they cook for themselves when they're feeling 'lazy' to make something elaborate. 

Here's what they like to eat... 

1. Ivor Jones - head chef at Chefs Warehouse Beau Constantia (4th top restaurant in SA) 

I hardly cook at home as I love eating out on my day off but when I do cook, I love a fat steak from Woolies with brown butter and English mustard and then my wife and I love gem lettuce with Parmesan and pine nuts, olive, salt, and pepper. Super casual Netflix and chill!

2. Zola Nene - Celebrity TV chef, cookbook author and food media personality

Dat (FriYAY) glow doh ? #zolanene . . ?? @matannakatz

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My go-to lazy meal is always a bowl of pasta, whether it’s just spaghetti with a bit of olive oil, chilli flakes, basil and Parmesan cheese. Or penne with sautéed mushrooms, cream and a drizzle of truffle oil. Pasta is definitely my go-to when short on time or inspiration.

3. Michael Cooke - Executive Chef at Camphors, Vergelegen (6th top restaurant in SA) 

I’m not sure if it’s laziness, or just being smart, but the meals that my wife and I prepare at home are generally about getting as much use out of our ingredients as possible (possibly being lazy in avoiding the shops daily, it could be to cut down on cooking time, or to save on washing up dishes, but also about avoiding waste and getting creative with what’s in the house). 

We eat quite healthy food but I don’t enjoy leftovers – maybe it’s a childhood thing, but if I’ve had the meal last night, I want something new and don’t want to see it again in its same guise.

For example, on the first night we’ll do a chicken on the braai with slaw; on the second night, we’ll use the leftover slaw and shredded chicken to turn into a stir-fry on some fragrant rice (most of the prep has been done for us, so just add some stir-fry sauce to the mix, and boil some rice to which we add some chopped nuts, a squeeze of lime and some herbs); for the third night, throw everything together (chicken stir-fry and fragrant rice), mix it through, beat in a few eggs, and flash-fry in a wok – awesome egg fried rice!

That’s enough chicken for the week though!

4. James Gaag - Head chef at La Colombe (7th top restaurant in SA)

A splash of wine tasting??

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Late at night, I’m not the kind of guy who stops at the Engen for a pie. Generally, my fiancé Tracy always leaves me some supper for when I get home. If she hasn’t, my go-to is super simple...

I love a slice of 100% Rye with lots of wholegrain mustard, slices of Mozzarella, Heinz baked beans (has to be Heinz) with a lot of black pepper, salt, Dijon mustard, and cheese. Then you slice half an avo onto the bread and spoon over the cheesy beans, more black pepper and a few slices of Brie. Don’t ask me why, it's just something I’ve always loved since I was a boy, so you’ll always find some baked beans in my house. It's super simple, all in one pan and takes all of 5 min and satisfies that midnight craving.

5. Jenny Ward - Head Chef at CHEFS in Cape Town

My all-time favourite lazy meal is a good old toasted chicken mayo with an amazing aged Cheddar cheese with a fresh avo and rocket salad. This usually takes round about 20min to make and is my go-to after service or on weekends. 

4 chicken breasts grilled 
100ml mustard mayo 
100ml thick Greek yoghurt 
2 tsp Dijon mustard 
fresh chopped parsley 
Fresh ciabatta bread
Aged cheddar 

Shred the chicken breast, mix in the mayo, yoghurt, mustard, and parsley together, season well. Spread the chicken mayo between, two slices of bread, add shaved Cheddar. Pan-fry with a small amount of browned butter until slightly charred.

1  ripe avo
1 red onion
120g rocket
20ml seed mustard
50ml red wine vinegar
50ml olive oil oil 

Mix all ingredients together for the dressing. Finely chop avo, red onion and toss together with rocket. Pour over the vinaigrette and serve on the side of the toastie. 

Anyone hungry? We know we are!


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