Refugee Food Festival: African Fusion Cooking Class at Ginger & Lime

Refugee Food Festival ginger and lime

I finally had the perfect excuse to visit Ginger and Lime Food Studio during the Refugee Food Festival. I was delighted to join in their interactive cooking class, learning about African fusion cuisine from two talented refugee chefs.

The Refugee Food Festival took place all over the city, inviting refugee chefs to showcase their talent by cooking in local restaurants in order to raise awareness, celebrate cultural diversity, open up dialogue, and unite people over food. Ginger and Lime took this one step further through their interactive cooking class. This allowed us to get hands-on with these chefs and eat their delicious local food.

A Warm Welcome at Ginger & Lime

When I arrived at the beautiful home of Denise Levy, I was welcomed in with hot coffee and yummy cinnamon cookies, the perfect way to start the day. I loved the ambience of the house, the cosy candlelit dining room had a really warm and inviting feeling, so I automatically felt at home.

Chef Almo explained the concept of Ginger and Lime is to share space, food, and different cultures, which was a great fit for the Refugee Food Festival as they shared the same vision. The guest chefs of the day were Chef Patrick from Angola and Chef David from the DRC, who both left their home countries to make new lives in Cape Town in the culinary industry.

Refugee Food Festival ginger and lime

The beautiful Ginger and Lime dining space

Refugee Food Festival ginger and lime coffee

Always time for coffee

The Inspiring Journeys of 2 Talented Chefs

Both chefs now cook in some of the most esteemed restaurants in the city. After having watched them in the kitchen and tasting their food, their talent is unquestionable.

Patrick left Angola as a teenager and did a four-year internship at the Mount Nelson Hotel before joining the South African Chef’s Academy. He now works at Chef’s Warehouse on Bree Street as Liam Tomlin’s protégé and I’m excited to see what this charming young chef does next.

David comes from the part of DRC that borders on to Tanzania and Zambia. He learned cooking from his mother. David only moved to South Africa four years ago to join his older brother here. After studying hospitality at the Swiss Institute, he now works in Constantia at Buitenverwachting vineyard.

It was wonderful to watch and learn from these chefs who share a great deal of passion for their native fare. Plus I was able to taste two distinctly different African cuisines that I had never tried before- Angolan and Congolese.

Refugee Food Festival david and patrick

The stars of the day: David (left) and Patrick (right)

Getting Hands On In The Kitchen

As we started cooking, the room descended into what can only be described as ‘organised chaos.’ We divided ourselves into two groups and got stuck in prepping the starter. I helped Patrick make Marinated Prawns with Mufete Comida, Baby Spinach and Tomato dressing. This dish was made up of prawns that had been marinated for two hours in an Asian-style soy and chilli dressing, then grilled to perfection. They were accompanied with Mufete Comida, which is white beans and tomato concasse, a really great combination of textures and flavours.

David’s starter was a Madesu Bean Brûlée with traditional Congolese Kwanga. Beans, tomatoes, onions, bay leaves and star anise were blended with cream and blow-torched with a little sugar on top for this interesting dish. Kwanga, made from cassava, is a type of fermented bread that is commonly found in the Congo. It was nice for dipping in the creamy bean brûlée.

The starters were paired with a zingy 2017 Sauvignon Blanc from Windfall Wine in the Agterkliphoogte region of Robertson. The lime and tropical fruit notes of this refreshing white wine really complemented the starters well.

Refugee Food Festival marinated prawns

Marinated prawns

Refugee Food Festival windfall wine

Windfall wine is always a winner

Surprisingly Winning Combinations

For the main course, Patrick cooked a Deconstructed ‘Maumbra de Galihna’ Grilled Chicken Breast with Wild Spinach and Plantain cooked in sage butter. This was served with baby marrow puree, spinach parcels filled with chicken and courgette, and a scrumptious coconut cream sauce to counter the well-spiced chicken. There were so many complex different elements to this dish that, when I finally tasted it, I was amazed how everything came together. The chicken was flavourful, beautifully tender, and the dish was perfectly plated by Patrick. It really was a work of art.

David grew up eating a lot of fish. He chose to make Pan-fried Sea bass with Ngaï Ngaï, Viazi Sweet Potato Mash, Spinach Puff Pastry and Mikebuka fish sauce. I’m normally not a huge fan of fish and, once again, I was dubious about the complexity of the dish with so many different flavour combinations. But it really surprised me. The sea bass was cooked flawlessly and served with a puff pastry roulade of wilted spinach and fish stewed vegetables. One of my favourite intricacies of this dish was the garnish of candied dried olives and the aubergine, tomato, and onion side. This was slightly crunchy and balanced out the textures nicely.

The mains were paired with a 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon from Windfall Wines. This had cherry and toasted oak on the nose but tasted like fruit cake. It married well with fish and meat alike.

Refugee Food Festival angolan chicken

Plating the Angolan chicken

Refugee Food Festival congolese sea bass

Congolese sea bass

There’s Always Space for Dessert

After two starters and two main courses, I was starting to feel rather full. But I always save space for dessert, and I’m glad I did. The chefs served up a Strawberry Mousse with Coconut Sauce and Banana Ravioli with Pineapple Chutney.

Personally, I found the strawberry mousse a bit too fruity. But the coconut sauce was great for dipping the crispy ravioli-like-doughnut stuffed with banana and chocolate. The highlight of this dish was the stewed pineapples infused with spicy chili to cut the sweetness. It was a tangy taste sensation which went down really well with the chocolatey dessert.

Refugee Food Festival dessert

There’s always space for dessert …

Experience Ginger and Lime Yourself

Overall, I had a really enjoyable experience at Ginger and Lime’s unique cooking studio in the heart of the home. Not only do they have a variety of interactive cooking classes, including seasonal fare and local classics, but it is also an amazing venue which offers tailor-made team building events, hen dos and birthday parties by using cooking together as a way to connect with people. The partnership with the Refugee Food Festival was a perfect pairing and, although I loved learning about Patrick and David’s past culinary exploits, I’m even more excited to see where their futures will lead.

For details on the Refugee Food Festival worldwide, click here. For Ginger and Lime details, see below.

Ginger & Lime

Address: 2B Ave Disandt, Fresnaye

Website: www.gingerandlime.co.za

E-mail: info@gingerandlime.co.za

Call:+27(0) 83 660 1146

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Written by Claire Horn
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Article Date: July 2018

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