Meet The Taproom’s New Chef
Is a woman’s place in the kitchen?
The Taproom‘s new chef, Roxanne Pretorius, seems to think so.
“Damn straight,” she says. “Cleanliness, organisation, motherly love… Of course you want a woman in the kitchen!”
The women in Roxanne’s life are responsible for getting her into cooking. Christmas, Easter, birthdays and other occasions were always huge social gatherings, and every family member had to bring something to the table.
“Food in general brings our family together. My great-grandmother traveled Africa on the trains as a head chef for most of her life.”
Clearly Roxanne’s chef whites are something of a birthright.
Having studied at the Granger Bay Hotel school, a secret obsession with buying a cook-book every month, heroes that include Peter Templehoff, Heston Blumental and Anthony Bourdain, as well as a CV that features The Vineyard Hotel, The larder Cafe in Block and Chisel, Mondiall, and even a 5-star African themed resort in Walt Disney World, Roxanne has quite a lot of cooking clout.
So what’s her speciality?
“I hate that question. Everything. Food is my speciality. But I’m pretty darn good at ice creams and sorbets…”
Now it’s ironic that Roxanne isn’t the biggest fan of the smell of yeast and hops, however, that said, she loves the rustic, homely feel of the Devil’s Peak brewery.
“That and having a beer master come around every so often with some new beer to taste no matter the time of day.”
Roxanne brings with her a new menu that’s quite a departure from the earlier one. Think American diner or gastro pub, and dishes like the Three Cheese Mac and Cheese, Southern Fried Chicken and Waffles with a bacon gravy, Pulled Pork on freshly baked soughdough…
“We have two popular food items that we cook with Devil’s Peak beers. Our famous Fish and Chips are battered in a Devil’s Peak Silvertree Saison and our super popular Pulled Pork is made with the Woodhead Amber Ale.” (The pork belly actually simmers in the beer for three to four hours on a low heat for tender soft pulled pork. Delicious.)
“There is so much variety when it comes to cooking and pairing with beer. Beer is made from malt, yeast and hops, which are all similar ingredients to, umm, well, food, right? It’s as much a science as it is following a recipe. Much like baking, and you can play around until the cows come home. People often forget that wine has one terroir, while beer has three, so there’s much more room to play. When you look at a Russian Imperial Stout and then, say, a Light Lager, the spectrum is huge.”
The sight of people Instagramming their meals gives Roxanne a peaceful feeling, and there’s nothing that Roxanne likes more than feeding people great food, knowing that they’re going to come back. After all, people can taste when food is made with love.
So, you’re on death-row Roxanne, what’s your final meal?
“A double dose of Eggs Benedict. Might as well die of cholesterol before anything else. Give me the works. Rosti, english muffin, salmon, bacon, ham, spinach and the biggest layer of Hollandaise ever. Washed down with a First Light Golden Ale.”