IN THE KITCHEN with Karen Dudley and family
House and Leisure|April - May 2020
For Karen Dudley, food informs the family dynamic and her home is as multilayered and as delicious a delight as her colourful personality and cooking style
VICKI SLEET

When it comes to food and cooking, I learned from my mother how to make “nice” with what we feed the people we love and care about,’ says Karen Dudley, author, cook and creator of The Kitchen, the much-loved Woodstock dining destination that she opened in Cape Town in 2009. ‘We were the kind of family who would be sitting at the kitchen table in the middle of the night, eating her perfectly thin French crêpes, if repairs after an argument needed to be made. Delicious food has always been my love language,’ she says.

Karen lives in Woodstock with her husband David and their children Ben (16) and Maggie (13). Just a few roads away is The Kitchen, her charming hub of homemade food and happiness, so loved by Capetonian foodies and disciples of her particular brand of fresh, seasonal fare. Of their latest renovation, she explains, ‘We’d renovated our home before, not long after we bought it in 2001, but the children are bigger now and we wanted to create more space for them and for us as a family too. They needed their own rooms because they’d been sharing since they were little and I really wanted a new kitchen. After we’d moved my catering business to The Kitchen, our home kitchen looked like something after a Spanish conquest,’ laughs Karen.

While the book- and art-lined living and dining rooms were perfectly functional for the family, the kitchen was not. ‘I would feel quite lonely in the kitchen while everyone did their own thing,’ says Karen. As a result, the new changes consisted of lopping off the back of the Victorian house and expanding its footprint slightly so that the kitchen now has an extension that welcomes the outside in. The result is pretty remarkable.

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