“My grandmother, whom I called Moema, was an exceptional cook and I remember as a four-year-old, standing on a chair trying to get close to the mixing bowl to watch her make christmas cakes. My mother, Michelle, who now fronts the restaurant for me, is also an amazing cook. But it wasn’t until I was in the UK 10 years ago that I considered it as a profession. I was working as an au pair for a woman who’d trained at chef’s school in New York and she inspired me to enrol at Prue Leith college in London. I loved meeting the food critics and restaurateurs who lectured us. one who particularly impressed me was Yotam Ottolenghi, then head chef of Baker & Spice, a beautiful shop in Knightsbridge with 100-year-old brick ovens. I pestered Yotam until he hired me. I worked for him for years and remember thinking that if his bakeries were my shops, i’d just sit in the corner and watch people enjoying my food.
In January 2006, Mike, whom i’d met in the UK, came back to South Africa with me. We started a small catering business supplying select restaurants and secured some great clients but then decided we wanted to open our own place. We battled to find the right venue but we found this stunning location in Parktown Quarter and opened in May. Since then i’ve been too busy to sit and watch people eat my food. The Moemas philosophy is very much ‘slow food’. We want patrons to take as much time enjoying our meals as we’ve put into creating them. It took me two months to realise I was in my own shop – there was no boss to yell at me for having the cakes out three minutes late – it was all mine.”
excerpt from: woman&home – November 2007
I spent my 20’s in England as a musician playing drums in various clubs. I always had the urge to go live in New York so I did and had lots of fun for 3 years. Back in London I started work in the car industry and got to meet many wonderful people with learning disabilities.
One Summer’s evening in a South London club I met my soul mate who converted me from a kebab eating, chip munching pleb into a food snob. Whilst I dabbled here and there in pastry whilst in England, my formal training began once Danielle and I relocated to South Africa. My initial lemon meringues were indeed a sorry sight and I couldn’t bake a cake for toffee. Two years on and I hear myself giving our new members of staff the exact instructions for a recipe and any associated reasons for failure or success. ; In short I’ve become a bit of a perfectionist which is just as well because I think perfection is what we strive for in Moemas.
One of my mantras has always been that the kitchen is a passage to get to the next room! I also find it impossible to follow a recipe – to me, it always feels like something either needs to be left out or added in. However, I do love good food and have huge admiration for anyone that can make something amazing out of a few raw ingredients. So when the opportunity arose to join Danielle and Mike at Moemas (and at the same time leave the corporate world behind) I jumped at it.
Having worked for many years in various restaurants (in South Africa and the UK), as well as coordinated and organized numerous events in my corporate life, I am adequately equipped to support the kitchen creativity with well trained staff who consistently deliver good service, so that the service the customer receives matches the fantastic food they eat. I love the daily interaction with our customers (many of whom come back at least 3 times a week) and never fail to get a thrill out of people’s reactions when they see our window for the first time.
I have just arrived back in Joburg after 14 years in Cape Town. Thrilled to be back but absolutely dying to be back in a restaurant that I feel passionate about. I have waitressed for 16 years and thrive on daily interaction with people. Despite teaching for 8 hours each day I still needed my people fix so waitressed part-time at Olympia Cafe. If you need waitressing staff I would love it if you let me know. Would be delighted to meet with you and supply my C.V and recommendations.
082 695 8020
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