South Africa! You often hear locals and tourists say there’s no place on earth quite like it. The beautiful sights, friendly people and a variety of wildlife, offers everyone a unique experience you simply can’t find elsewhere.
As for South African cuisine – it’s in a league of its own. With a history that reflects our diversity, each culture offers something unique in terms of cooking styles, flavours and ingredients.
Therefore, at Capsicum Culinary Studio, we aim to broaden the minds of aspiring Chefs from all walks of life by encouraging this diversity to promote a unique understanding of local as well as international cuisine.
In the 1600s, Cape Town was established by the Dutch East India Company as a refuelling station for ships en route to merchants in India. In doing so, locals were exposed to the commodities of the trade, one of which was spices. That’s how the rich and aromatic spices became the basis of Cape Malay cuisine that introduced traditional dishes like bobotie.
Over time we have become educated about the importance of sustainable living. As a result, many South Africans have realised the benefit of organic and subsistence farming, allowing them to live from the land. Together with our accommodating climate, produce like potatoes, butternut, samp and corn are local staples which are easy to grow.
This means that we don’t need to import exotic ingredients. It’s all here in our own backyard and is possibly the reason why we’re so adventurous with our dishes. The wide variety of produce available to us, assists in the creative process.
Global trends such as root-to-stem and nose-to-tail are characterised by people that utilise the entire vegetable, fruit and carcass to minimise wasteage. We live in a world where waste is higher than ever and because of this, kitchens are encouraged to be creative with leftover ingredients. This means being innovative and opening up our taste buds to undiscovered avenues of food.
At Capsicum Culinary Studio, we teach students the basic principles of cooking but also allow them to use their own creativity and culture to prepare their dishes. Through this innovation, they have gone on to have successful careers in the industry around the world, but still proudly South African.