5 MINUTES WITH KUNJANI’S HEAD CHEF, LAMEK MNISI
- Apart from the most beautiful season of the year, Spring, what was the inspiration behind your new menu for this season?
Vibrant colours! I thoroughly enjoy creating dishes that are colourful and representative of Spring. I am very fortunate to have an edible flower garden a few steps away from the kitchen, so our dishes this season will be colourful with a visually appealing “Hello Spring” welcome. This is the perfect time to show off the beautiful colours that are popping up all around us.
- What can guests expect from Kunjani’s menu when visiting for the first time?
A burst of fresh flavours and only locally sourced seasonal produce. Each of our dishes were also created with our range of wines in mind, so we’ve taken out the guess work and made it really simple for guests to enjoy the appropriate wine with any of our dishes. Most importantly, I want guests to leave having tasted authentic African flavours. Dukkah, Rooibos, Springbok and Chakalaka flavours are combined with elements of spring such as asparagus, strawberries, coconut and passionfruit to create wholesome food with seasonal freshness.
- What are the 3 ingredients you always have in your fridge or pantry at home that you simply cannot cook without?
A good piece of steak, fresh asparagus whenever I can find them, and truffle oil. I sometimes make my own truffle oil butter to accompany meat dishes when I entertain at home. I also really love a generous drizzle of truffle oil on mashed potatoes. It is so simple to create and yet so decadent.
- Which ingredients have fallen out of fashion for you, and what are your favourite food trends for this season?
Beef tongue has definitely fallen out of fashion for me, although it is still occasionally spotted on a Christmas table accompanied by a mustard dip! My favourite foodie trends are using more robust flavours, and putting a bigger focus on gut health, veganism and vegetarianism. Our new ratatouille and swiss chard parcel, which is served with red pepper essence and cashew nut pesto, is a new vegan dishes on our Spring menu. I also enjoy using plant-based proteins such as quinoa and dark leafy greens such as broccoli and asparagus.
- If you could share your favourite meal with one person, what dish will you share and with whom?
Most definitely my Mom. I would cook us the Chakalaka rack of lamb, which was inspired by her, on a Sunday afternoon. We would talk for hours and reminisce about the good old days when I was a kid. This dish just brings back such phenomenal memories, and I am proud to share a bit of my favourite African flavours with our guests.