As an academy chair for The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, Tamsin Snyman has a unique perspective on how SA’s food scene measures up globally. She talks consistency, frozen chocolate mousse and continuing her mother’s incredible legacy
I started working in the food industry very young, because of my mom, Lannice Snyman. In standard five, we would bake chocolate brownies and make boerewors rolls at Saturday sports fixtures. Then, because my mom was writing recipes for her cookbooks, we needed to test. I would muck in and help. She was also the editor of Eat Out and needed a sidekick for reviewing, so I have fond memories of eating at restaurants from the age of 13. Later, I would assist my aunt, Anne Klarie, who was one of the foremost food stylists in the country. I would bunk school, hop on a bus, put on an apron and join her at food shoots for extra money.
My mom and aunt had a restaurant in the early 80s called Chardonnay. It was one of the first fine-dining restaurants. When we were six or seven, we’d pretend to be waitresses. In the freezer at the back, we’d find this chocolate velvet cream – it was basically frozen chocolate mousse that they’d set in crystal glasses, with whipped cream, a sprig of mint and a whole bunch of silver balls. That was my best.
My mother was untrained and I haven’t had any formal training either. I was going to go traveling after school, but my mom asked me to help her open her publishing company. Six months became 16 years.
Food styling has really changed over the years. There used to be a very cluttered page with condiments and side dishes and salt and pepper cellars. Now we’ve got natural lighting and much simpler plates. If you fuss too much, you scare off some cooks.
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