June kicks off Relish’s new project: “Flavour of the Month”. Our first Flavour is Seline.
1- Meet Seline
My name is Seline van der Wat and I’ve been everything from an engineer to a food writer, TV presenter and contestant on MasterChef South Africa. Life has a crazy way of feeding you curveballs and it’s been fun letting life take me on whatever adventure it has for me. I’ve started my own company called Es by Seline which does bespoke catering and pastry (think wedding cakes, pop up restaurants and interesting eating solutions). Recently the cookbook I wrote with my sister, Leandri (who was also on MasterChef with me) won an international award, as well as placing third overall in the whole world in the cookbook division. The book is available at bookstores and is called “TWO”
2- What is Seline’s all time favourite thing to eat?
My absolute favourite thing to eat is Mexican food. It’s so fresh, so pungent and so textured. I can literally eat it everyday. Leandri and I actually wanted to open up a Mexican eatery 5 years ago; before the trend hit and before MasterChef. That’s how much I like it. On a simpler level, I wouldn’t be able to live without watermelon, wine and lemon.
3- Who is Seline’s foodie inspiration and why?
I am inspired by chefs like Adriano Zumbo – he is a mastermind of his craft and very much an innovator and leader in pastry. I admire it when people can be ahead of the trend, inventing new things and calling trends with the guts to back it up and trust, neigh know, that people will queue for it. I wish I had that self-assurance. Sometimes when I try something new I stutter, wondering if my clients would enjoy it. My husband always reminds me that people don’t always know what they want; sometimes you need to show them. Somewhere somebody has to be the first person to try something. I’d rather be THAT guy than the one copying other people. That flows over into my habits and attitude in the kitchen. I’m always experimenting, always pushing it. I’d rather create a few flops while creating something genius, than never creating anything great at all.
4- Where is Seline’s go-to restaurant and why?
Oooh I live in Pretoria and I know a lot of people think we’re the ‘ugly stepsister’ of the group but there are some incredible places to try here. My favourites in Pretoria include:
- El Pistelero – best Mexican in Gauteng!
- Ginger and Fig – Killer coffee and incredibly inventive pastries and lunches.
- Forkies – one for the hipsters! This zombie apocalypse joint makes everything with wood fired ovens (not a single pan in sight!)
- Coffee: Roast Republic – coffee with a conscience! They use their profits to fund education projects in underprivileged areas and they fund business incubation and social development. Plus, their coffee is the best in the country. Trust me. (www.roastrepublic.co.za)
- Food: The Pot Luck Club (unpretentious, inventive) and Open Door (new restaurant in Constantia, Cape Town, with an incredible chef and show stopper dishes)
- Wine: Quoin Rock boutique winery. Trust me. Go there. You won’t regret it.
Thanks so much Seline for being Relish’s first Flavour. If you would like to receive Seline & Leandri’s Bobotie Sliders Recipe from TWO for free, sign up to the Relish email list and you’ll be in for a treat!