With September being Heritage Month, it’s only natural that we should talk about food. After all, food is a big part of our heritage as South Africans, as well as our heritage in general. Every culture around the world, in one way or another, has traditional dishes that probably date back centuries.
The same is true for South African heritage, whether Zulu, Xhosa, Indian, or Afrikaans. Because food is such an important part of our different traditions as South Africans, we decided to sit down with a couple of our top chefs here at City Lodge Hotels to find out what a “taste of home” means to them.
We interviewed Devandra Narismulu, Executive Chef at City Lodge Hotel at OR Tambo International Airport, and Trevor Boyd, General Manager of Operations for Food and Beverage at City Lodge Hotels support office. Here’s what they had to say.
What dish takes you back to home?
Devandra: My dad’s lamb mince and butter bean curry.
Trevor: We used to eat frikkadelle cooked by my mother. She made them brilliantly and every time I make them, I get a fond nostalgic feeling. Pure childhood delight!
Who would cook your Heritage Day meal for you if you had to choose one person?
Devandra: My late gran.
Trevor: I don’t have one specific person, but I would love to join a farm family and spend a few days being treated to what I perceive as “heritage delights”. Earth-to-table style cooking, not to mention the freshly baked farm-style bread!
How do you bring your “taste of home” into City Lodge Hotels kitchens?
Devandra: Curry plays a huge role in an Indian household, and as a South African of Indian descent, my “taste of home” is definitely curry. I like my curries mostly Indian-influenced but with a twist of Africa. At City Lodge Hotel at OR Tambo International Airport, I can add this twist frequently and showcase my heritage on the dinner buffet.
We do various curries with condiments which are unique to Durban. We have lamb curry with potatoes, chicken curry with peas, butter chicken curry, and vegetable curry. We also have sides and starches like poppadoms, raita (minty yoghurt sauce), sambals, and soji (an Indian dessert made with semolina).
These are just some of the items I have taught my team to execute to perfection and incorporate into our dinner buffet.
Trevor: Our menus are filled with comfort food, and we take pleasure in giving guests a meal that is value for money. We have many meat-based meals that are appreciated by most of our guests. One highlight on our menus across City Lodge Hotels is the locally named Shisa Nyama dish, which is a fan favourite and consists of a feast of beef boerewors, mild peri-peri chicken wings, rump kebab and BBQ pork ribs with sides of pap, chakalaka and grilled corn.
Whatever your “taste of home” is this Heritage Day, don’t forget to savour the tradition and culture that’s embedded at the root of it. Food has the power to build nations and forge communities, and with South Africa’s rich and diverse heritage, there are many opportunities to gather around a table (or braai, or pot) and engage in culture-building conversations and dialogues. Grab those opportunities this Heritage Day and enjoy!