#Trending takes a look at some of the food lessons this upside down year taught chef Puleng Moshoaliba.
Compliments to the chef is not just said with the hopes that the message will eventually get to its intended recipient.
It went straight to the source after tasting part of the Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day menu at the newly reopened The Maslow hotel in Sandton.
“I don’t know what you do with the dessert,” a reporter told executive sous chef Puleng Moshoaliba, “but every year, it’s the best thing on the menu.”
The dessert was a chocolate slice with macaroons, raspberries, piña colada ice cream, orange gel and pistachio honeycomb. A combination that has brought joy to chef Moshoaliba in a year that saw her and her team abruptly removed from their love of sharing food and their livelihoods for seven months.
However, this chef, who has overseen the food at many star-studded events, including the televised wedding of Solo and Dineo Langa, says 2020 was a year of learning. Here are the top three food lessons it has taught her:
1. Return to your roots
“My mom is diabetic and when lockdown happened, she came to stay with me. So I learnt to come back to my roots. I started to appreciate the small things. Curry will go down well, but my mom doesn’t like soup and stews. She is a steak girl. She likes simple, wholesome, uncomplicated meals. That’s what she wanted, and it gave me a chance to come back to that.”
2. The baker’s man – and other people – can
“Everybody was baking during lockdown. Baking is a part of our true selves because it allows us to go back to how we used to do things before we relied so heavily on technology. Many people learnt how to or went back to baking bread, but others baked more than that. I am definitely guilty. I have a sweet tooth and 2020 was all about baking cakes mostly, as well as muffins, biscuits and scones here and there.”
3. Dessert of the year
“Oh my god! Can we have a chocolate slice? That was the best dessert of the year. A chocolate slice with seasonal, minted berries and a hint of vanilla. And ice cream. But definitely start with chocolate. Always start with chocolate.”