#FeatureFriday | 5 Minutes with Chef Alex From #workshop55

Who is Chef Alex?

I studied at Prue Leith Chefs Academy. While studying there, I was an apprentice at Hartford House under Jackie Cameron. Later on, I worked at Cube Tasting Kitchen under Dario de Angeli for a number of years where I felt I was really allowed to expand my knowledge and experiences. I am now heading up Workshop 55 where we are ever growing with a great outlook for the future ahead.

How would you describe your style of food?

My food style is not necessarily a set thing for me, I do tend to have a more organic and raw approach to food design, but I am always evolving my style. I believe heavily in seasonal produce and will try to use locally produced items as much as possible. Food for me makes up a meal which is best spent among family and friends, and so my style often allows for that – but always with a twist.

What can we expect when we visit Workshop55 for the first time?

Certainly something one has not experienced before. Our food has an element of surprise yet with a hearty, hit-the-spot quality.

Tell us more about the new Workshop55 menu:

Like most of my food, it is inspired by my travels and experiences of eating all sorts of things from my earliest memories. Each of the dishes work well by themselves yet also make great combinations with each other depending on how you make your choice. I have focused on some great vegetarian dishes which are just nice to add into the mix even if your still here for the meatier dishes. There’s a curtain freshness to the menu using fantastic ingredients that are great at this time of the year.

What is your earliest memory of food?

I have some very fond memories of food and cooking. Some great ones that come to mind are of eating freshly caught fish from the ocean on the Natal north coast straight off the braai to messing about in the kitchen making pumpkin fritters with my Gran.

Do you have a signature dish?

I wouldn’t say I have a signature dish and would rather not like to have one as for me food is an ever evolving thing for me with new experiences every day.

Which are your favourite foods and ingredients to cook with?

My favourite flavours must be truffle which goes so well with so many things.  Nothing beats fresh out-of-the- ground picked vegetables out of my own organic garden, anything from there is always a treat to cook with.

What was it that got you into cooking: cook books, TV, your parents?

In a lot of ways TV got me interested in food, but before that, I was very fortunate to have parents that allowed me to experiment in the kitchen with a wide variety of ingredients. I owe a lot of what I know to them.

Tell us something funny, quirky or weird about you that people might not know

My greatest hobby and other passion in life are motorcycles. I have some great aspirations to complete a round-the-world trip and to possibly compete in the Dakar Rally one day.

What do you love the most about working at Workshop55?

There’s a lot of satisfaction in seeing the joy people get from a new experience or just great food. Working alongside the awesome team we have here at Workshop 55 and seeing their abilities grow day to day.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I often try to get away and travel, inevitably to try a new taste experience such as a brewery, producer or just a restaurant. If it’s just a few spare minutes in the day, I seem to always be browsing Pinterest, recipe books, or just jotting down a new idea I may have had earlier that day.

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