From humble beginnings cooking breakfasts in a small hotel, to one of South Africa’s best known chefs, David Higgs is known for his love of food, wine and a good braai.
Higgs grew up along the coastline of Namibia, the inspiration for his first cookbook, Mile 8, it is also where his food journey began - in the small, coastal town of Walvis Bay.
With a career spanning 3 decades, it also includes a stint in front of the camera as host and judge of reality show My Kitchen Rules SA - season 3 returns in September this year!
2020 brought about many changes for everyone - and David Higgs is no different! We saw a quirkier side of the Chef through a series of cooking videos produced in his home kitchen, during lockdown. Higgs’ following grew, providing light entertainment to those needing a distraction, and he has gone one step further with a dedicated YouTube channel entitled Dave’s Kitchen, where you can expect more humour and easy recipes. Go ahead and like and subscribe.
Q&A time with David
What is your favourite morning ritual?
Coffee first, always. I feed my boy Carlos the bulldog and give him some love and depending on the time of year it is usually back to bed. I try to avoid social media but usually check emails and get a head start to the day. Followed by a ride and usually at work between 10 and 11am.
Favourite local coffee spot?
Croft & Co in Parkview. It is usually frequented by cyclists and I enjoy the cycling banter as much as I do the coffee.
What inspires you?
I spend a lot of time on my bike - to clear my head and it is also where ideas and thoughts come to me most. As I get older I am more and more appreciative of the open air and the inspiration that comes with being in nature.
Who are your biggest influences?
There are a few but the standout is Bill Stafford, the first chef that moulded me having spent nine years working alongside him. He taught me everything I know from fine dining to industrial catering and teaching. He was also a father figure in my life and he was all about discipline, which I relate to, but importantly the French influence he had on my cooking style which at the time was the basis of cooking.
Which current food trends are you following?
I don’t follow trends per se but I enjoy seeing what is going on in the culinary world, and the reason I miss traveling so much. A big love of mine is cycling and therefore nutrition, how we fuel our bodies and how we optimise nutrition is something I am curious about. Cooking on fire like we do at Marble is still a huge trend and one I follow with interest.
What & where was your most memorable meal?
Spice Temple in Sydney. A dish of steamed aubergine piled with fresh coriander, handfuls of chopped garlic boiled (3 or 4 times) and topped with a miso spicy pork mince - I think I had three portions! Dead simple but full of flavour and textures. It was beautiful and always stuck with me.
Your go-to recipe?
Something I appreciate and love - the humble potato! Making a Gnocchi is super simple and my all time go-to. Not only is it simple but you can add anything to it…whether it’s a Bolognaise or Napolitana sauce or my favourite, pesto and freshly grated parmesan.
What are you currently reading?
I’m not a big reader but listen to a number of podcasts. Mostly about what is happening in the cycling world - especially when it comes to nutrition, strategies etc
On weekends you can usually find David ….
Ah, that’s not difficult to figure out :) Other than work, I will be out on my bike for anything from a 3 to 6-hour long ride. Depending on my mood, it could be out on the road, on the mountains or the gravel but that’s where you will find me for sure!