Rene Redzepi… Let that name sink in, (use google if you must).
Anyway, cooking is love but just in a way that we can see. Whether it’s on the table from mom or dad, Yiayia (grandmother), pappou (grandfather) or at a Michelin starred restaurant. For me, it’s one in the same. Some of the best meals, in my opinion, will come from home or an occasion that isn’t even an occasion, it just happened.
Recently I’ve been thinking more about the future. My future. I’ve never been more excited! What does it look like? Well, I couldn’t have answered that with first going back, going back to what food actually means to me and then being able to work and move forward with these feelings and memories and put them into my own ideas for my own place.
What does food mean to me? It’s not just a way to keep us going, to keep us nourished, to keep us living. Food is far more than that. It has the power to evoke incredibly vivid memories and being able to hold the power to potential evoke those memories is something that I cannot put into words. It’s special!
I find my idea of 14onFour constantly evolving, constantly getting better. My idea of sharing a meal with special people, around the same table, no technology to distract you, THAT my dear friends and family is how bonds are made and there just isn’t enough of it happening today and well, I think is a massive factor as to why the world is in the pile of hot and steamy it’s in today. Food is love. Love for the earth around you that you plant your seeds in. Love for the ingredient you use. Love for the animal who has unwillingly given itself to feed you. Love for the art of cooking. Love for the people you are feeding. And ultimately, love for those closest to you, the ones that drive you.
14onFour is not some pretentious place to come and eat. No! 14onFour is me. My heart and an extension of my home. I want people to feel that when they walk in and see that the kitchen is not where they expect it and can actually say hi to me because, you’ve just walked into my house for dinner.
I want the love to echo everywhere, on the plates and in each ingredient. I want someone to say to me, “Nic, this veg is ready this week along with this” and a farmer to say,”I have a sheep or 2″ or “I don’t have meat this week but the sheep’s milk and goat’s milk is superb!” I want my produce to dictate my menus… Not my menus dictating the produce. If I can get an animal that is raised in a natural setting and raised in the right way, then I know I’m starting on the right foot. And lets face it, not much comes close to the taste of a freshly picked tomato, still warm from the sun and smelling of the tomato vine.
Fire… the very element with which man learnt to cook with, wood burning. There’s something special about that and for me it reminds me of family braais, braais with friends out at a lake on a summer evening, having a lamb on the spit at easter, those kinds of things. If thats what it does for me, I shudder to think what it does for everyone else. That is why there will be fire in my kitchen, in that form. Not just from gas (And hopefully not the pan either). I want to be able to cook over the flame, on the coal and buried in the coal or under the ground covered in the coal.
I want my place to be a place where people have an experience. A place where I am able to afford young people the opportunity I had, to learn under some great people and jumpstart their own career.
I want 14onFour to be the best it can be, the best I can be, an extension of my love.
At the end of the day, the fact about food is this…
Food brings people together.
People are at their best when…
Well, I guess when they realise that they are truly connected. Regardless of colour or position in society.
When they realise that any argument or quarrel settles when you’re around a table to eat.
People automatically relax at a dinner table, they talk, they laugh… They LOVE!
And, well… That’s what food does.
Until next time my dear friends and Family.
Thanks for reading.