Each month Source profiles a prominent chef working in South Africa to discover their personal stories, motivations, and to share their advice with aspiring and seasoned chefs working in the industry. This month, Source interviews Chef Amanda Lewis, owner and Chef of Saucisse Boutique Deli, situated in the heart of trendy Woodstock’s The Old Biscuit Mill in Cape Town. As a trained chef and self-confessed foodie, it was only natural that Amanda would forge a career around her passion. Her love for food has taken her all over the world and into various food-related jobs, but the life-long dream to own and run her own eatery persisted. Inspired by the hands-on, family-run boulangeries and charcuteries of France and Italy, the Saucisse concept was born.
Source Food (SF): Was there anything that you thought you wanted to do before you started cooking?
Chef Amanda Lewis (CAL): Aside from my passion for photography, I don’t think for one moment I have not wanted to be a chef. My mother said she always knew I would become a chef one day, I always used to touch the fresh products while grocery shopping.
SF: What is your food philosophy? CAL: Don’t over complicate things. Allow the ingredients to speak for themselves. Good quality should be showcased. Also keep it seasonal
SF: What is it that you really enjoy about a chef’s life? CAL: I enjoy that every day is different. New challenges, new customers, new ingredients and the ability to be creative from the start of my day makes me smile.
SF: What are your thoughts on the current food trends in South Africa? CAL: The trend is very simple. Local is Lekker… I love that there are restaurants that showcase the amazing products that are coming out of South Africa.
SF: What are your top 3 ingredients to cook with? CAL: Melfort Free Range Pork Lard, Oryx Dessert Oak Smoked Salt, and lemons.
SF: What personal quirks does your team tease you about? CAL: I tend to use my hands a lot when explaining food
SF: What kinds of foods do you think are underrated? CAL: Local Goats cheese. (people are still very afraid to try it), and sprouts (They are a fantastic source of Protein and anyone can grow them)
SF: Is there a particular chef from whom you draw inspiration? CAL: For me it will always be good ‘ol Jamie Oliver. He has a fantastic relaxed yet imaginative way about food that really speaks to me.
SF: What is your idea of happiness? CAL: Good food, good friends and sunshine. Amen!!!
SF: What advice would you give to a young, ambitious chef who is just starting out in the industry? CAL: Stick with it and don’t become a drama queen. We all get cut, burnt and overworked but at the end of the day my skill has given me the opportunity to travel the world doing what I love to do, so embrace every second of it.