Chef Revelations – Werner Seebach

05 April 2012
Chef Revelations – Werner Seebach

What was your first job? Working at a horse racing course in South Africa every Thursday after school - I had to ensure the jockeys were wearing the right colours for each race; it was great fun

What was your first job in catering? I worked as a trainee chef at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Johannesburg as part of my practical work while I was studying hotel management

Which is your favourite restaurant? The Strandloper in Langebaan, an hour's drive from Cape Town. It's an open air, casual restaurant with sand underfoot, blue skies above, and at the water's edge, a magnificent view of Langebaan Lagoon. The central focus is an open barbecue (braai) with fresh seafood straight on the grill.

What is your favourite food? I like Japanese food, especially cooked on an open fire

Which ingredient do you hate the most? Natto - soy beans fermented with bacteria. The Japanese chefs I used to work with would eat it, and the adductor muscle from scallops after they cleaned it on rice. Not for me!

Are there any foods/ingredients that you refuse to cook with? Shark fin. I remember my culinary studies lecturer, Kevin Gericke, saying: "Never eat something that can eat you!"

What do you always carry with you? Small folding scissors the size of a 50p coin, which I keep in my wallet

Which person in catering have you most admired? Anthony Bourdain

Which person gave you the greatest inspiration? Kevin Gericke, chef lecturer in South Africa

Cast away on a desert island, what luxury would you take? My foam gun, cream whipping bulbs and some balloons

What irritates you most about the industry? Vegetarians and people with food allergies - if you don't eat fish then don't go to a sushi restaurant, please!

Who would be in your "fantasy" brigade? Pass - me; sushi section - Nobu Matsuhisa, Nobu; grill - Nicholas Watt, Roka; hot section - Kevin Gericke; salad - Ben Purton, executive chef, Royal Horseguards hotel; pot wash - Gordon Ramsay; pastry - Heston Blumenthal; pastry commis - Nigella Lawson

If you had more time, what would you do? I would buy an electric guitar and learn how to play it

Werner Seebach, group executive head chef, Chino Latino Restaurants, UK & Germany

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