I met Guy Clark at the Big Bottle Festival at the Cellars recently and was immediately struck by a man hugely passionate about cooking and becoming a chef. Guy was one of the top 18 finalists on Masterchef South Africa.
Not wanting to ride on the crest of his new-found fame, Guy realised he needed to up his skill set in order to make it in the industry and gain credibility as a chef. He has been working in a professional kitchen ever since.
Now that my book is published and I have a little more time, I invited him into my home to cook one of his favourite home-style recipes, and to get to know to know him a bit better.
I asked Guy a few questions:
How has being a finalist on Masterchef changed you and affected your life?
Without doubt, mcsa was the greatest door opener for me. I resigned immediately after it as a property consultant and started working in the Madame Zingara kitchen. Mcsa gave me a platform to find my passion.
How would you like your career in food to pan out?
I am currently working at Reubens in franschhoek. Right now, all I care about is honing my skills and learning under a top chef. My own cooking show is in motion, I have already met up with a director and its going to be full of travel, laughs, good food and smiles!
How would you describe your food philosophy?
I use these wise words when I cook: “the lust for comfort is the thief of passion for the soul”. Kahlil Gibran. Food is an infinite source of hedonism. I get goose bumps if I let my mind explore the untapped flavour pairings and pulling it all together on a plate.
Mindblowing in the best possible way!
What are a few of your favourite things to eat and drink?
I love cheese, I don’t know why exactly, its just a medium that carries so many flavours. Breakie is definitely eggs benedict with a fresh hollandaise sauce, orange zest and smoked salmon. At lunch I enjoy Asian flavours and food, its light and healthy and it doesn’t make me tired. Dinners are when I mostly play around with flavours. I recently made a reduced apple cider, lemon grass, lime leaf, goose berry and coconut cream sauce, served it with crispy pork belly, ginger zest sweet potatoe fries and asian broth veg. Cooked it whilst visiting my parents, we all loved it purely cause its different! Food tastes better when shared with loved ones and friends. Fact.
Do you have any favourite restaurants?
My favourite spots to dine: When I lived in Mumbai, India, I dined at a restaurant called Saltwater Cafe, sublime fish is always served there. The Blue Marlin in Obs has without doubt the kitchest decor but the best sushi. Reuben’s of course for local cuisine done well. Bombay Bicycle Club for ribs and a touch of madness. My best place to dine however, is at home with an amazing woman.
Melanzane Parmigiana is Southern Italian in origin consists of layers of aubergine and cheese that is baked. Guy added a delicious spin to this comforting classic by adding chorizo, and I have to say it was delectable.
Recipe | serves 4
- 8 ripe tomatoes
- 1 tin of tomatoes
- 60 grams fresh basil (50 g fo the recipe and 10g for garnish)
- 1 tub Bocconcini mozzarella torn
- 150g Parmesan grated
- half cup / 125ml red wine
- 5 T sugar
- Splash of balsamic vinegar
- 150g chorizo sausage
- 5 medium aubergines
- pinch of Oregano (dried)
- salt and pepper
- 200 ml fresh cream
- half a red chilli
- 3T butter
- Drizzle of olive oil
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- 3 cloves of garlic crushed
Chop the sausage into medallions and fry for one minute with 1T of the butter. Remove the skins of the tomatoes by plunging them into boiling water for a minute, and finely chop them. Add to the pan with the sausage and cook over a medium heat. Add the red wine and allow the alcohol to burn off. Add the balsamic vinegar, the rest of the butter, oregano, lemon juice, garlic and red chilli. Season with salt n pepper to taste. Chop the basil basil finely and add it to the sauce. Let this simmer down until it thickens.
Whilst the sauce is cooking, slice the aubergines into O.5cm rounds. Degorge them (sprinkle salt on them until they sweat) dab off liquid with kitchen towel.(*we didn’t do this as I feel it’s an unnecessary step which I had put to the test a while ago with my grilled aubergine recipe, but you can decide). Cook these under the grill, turning once until they start to brown on either side. Set a aside.
Pre heat the oven to 180C . In an appropriately sized oven proof dish, start layering the ingredients in the following order: aubergine, sauce, bocconcini (tear pieces off), Parmesan, a drizzle of cream, salt and pepper. Continue layering until all the ingredients are used up. Cook for 15 min until the cheese is bubbling and just starts to brown. Garnish with fresh basil.
What I loved about Guys version (apart from being ridiculously delicious), was he didn’t fry the aubergine. Often this can lead to the dish becoming very oily. He also added butter to the sauce which is proof that being a chef is in his DNA.
Thank you so much for sharing this with us Guy, and I for one will be watching to see how you get on in Franschhoek and in your future cooking career.
Guy can be found on Facebook.
I look forward to connecting with you again in the future.
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