AUGUST | SEPTEMBER | 2021
TASTY DECOR AND STYLE TO
GET YOU COMING BACK FOR MORE
Also inside: Great cleaning hacks •
Grow a kitchen garden
PICTURE SAMSON KATT
EXECUTIVE EDITOR PROPERTY:
EDITOR HOME IMPROVER:
DO JOIN US ON:
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
WHAT I know about kitchens I learnt from
my mom Dot and my grandmother Niddy.
To me, as a young girl, whatever
was going on in this room was totally
I’d be in awe as I watched pickled
turnips turn bright pink overnight,
believing it was some form of magic
and not knowing it was thanks to the
chunk of beetroot thrown in with the
vinegar and salt.
It also took me a long time to
realise that the chickens in the velhok
were not my pets but instead dinner on
the table. I never much liked
eating chicken after that.
That said, Mom and Gran spent
many hours and days cooking for family,
friends and strangers. Squashed around
a small table, they’d prepare delicacies
that people would drive from all over to
come and eat. Just two ordinary woman
concocting such magic in this room –
our home’s headquarters – where many
a plot and plan was brewed for the
longevity of our family.
I remember how excited my mom was
when, finally, my dad had enough money
to fix up the kitchen which would afford her
more space to prepare these meals.
A kitchen renovation is a big deal.
This is, after all, the place from where
the weary, the disheartened, the broken
hearted, the jovial and the lonely get
This kitchen edition hopes to be
aspirational and inspirational to our
readers, but also a practical guide on
how to honour this most special room
in your home.
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AUGUST | SEPTEMBER 2021
Kitchen on a tight
Mom’s dos & don’ts
Best cleaning hacks
A feast growing
in the garden
A U G U S T | S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 1 HI | 0 3
SERVE UP SOME
PICTURE FRANCESCA TOSOLINI / UNSPLASH
The kitchen has become the heart of the
home, where we not only cook but also
entertain and sometimes work, create
and dine. Home Improver editor
Vivian Warby explores trends and ideas
for a pandemic world
FLOORING – WOOD
We personally love wooden floors
because of their warm ambiance
and nowadays you have an unlimited
selection of laminated flooring – it’s
completely budget dependent.”
SUE LEDERLE, FOUNDER OF LEDERLE DESIGN
“I’m all for wooden floors – which
these days have great finishes,
making them kitchen-friendly.
I like a seamless look from the
kitchen throughout the house.”
WILL ENGELBRECHT OWNER OF WillDesign
PICTURE MAX VAKHTBOVYCH
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PICTURE LEDERLE COLLECTION
GREEN IS THE NEW KITCHEN COLOUR
We are seeing a huge shift from a more neutral, traditional colour
palette to one of colour, such as reds and greens, and also
SUE LEDERLE OF LEDERLE DESIGN
“There’s a definite move to colour for the kitchen. We are seeing
more pastel and comforting shades: think pistachio green,
ballet-pump pink and duck-egg blue.”
WILL ENGELBRECHT OF WillDesign
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In your kitchen you want the
lighting to be both inviting
as well as bright enough to
see what you’re doing while
preparing your meals. For
warmth, we enjoy a woven
lampshade but this will
depend on the style of the
home and its owner.”
SUE LEDERLE OF LEDERLE DESIGN
“Think flexible lighting –
especially the new “train
lights” that you can move
and adjust to where you
need them. Layered lighting
is still big – go for spotlights,
pendants, table lamps, floor
lamps. A multi-purpose
kitchen, which serves so
many uses today, means you
need lighting to change the
mood in an instant.”
WILL ENGELBRECHT OF WillDesign
PICTURE MAX VAKHTBOVYCH / PEXELS
And don’t forget natural light
– skylights and windows
are big in the trend to bring
the outside in.
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PICTURE ADAM WINGER / UNSPLASH
THE KITCHEN-DINING ROOM
With the move to a more open-plan multipurpose
kitchen, it makes sense that the
formal dining room has been ditched and
is now part of the kitchen. This offers a
practical and functional answer to how
we operate in a pandemic world. The
trend is multi-pronged. Some families are
converting the formal dining room into a
study, using it as a storage space or an
“isolation bedroom”. Another way to bring
the dead space of a dining room back to
life is to break down a wall and incorporate
it into the kitchen. The extended island (see
overleaf) is a result of this trend.
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PICTURE CHRISTIAN MACKIE / UNSPLASH
THE EXTENDED ISLAND
One of the biggest trends right now is the extended
island, with seating hidden under it and not jutting
out. This is partly because of the death of the dining
room. Extended islands functioning as dining tables
also reflect the bigger trend of having more kitchen
seating. A table abutting the island similarly creates
a versatile workspace or a homework spot for the
kids. It becomes a casual gathering place as well as a
designated dining area. Added to that, extra storage
can be incorporated into the island.
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With the move to more
designers are having
to come up with clever
ways to handle the bigger
space. We are seeing
glazed walls, sliding
panels – such as the
ones in the picture by
artist Mark Hilltout – and
slatted screens being used
instead of walls, offering
greater flexibility. The
key, say the experts, is to
ensure the space can be
transformed into different
areas, if necessary.”
TIPS: Use removable
wallpaper, painted panels,
a big rug or different
flooring to separate areas,
for instance a patterned
vinyl floor in the cooking
area and hardwood in the
dining/living section. But
use colours and textures
that link the areas.
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PICTURE ANDREA DAVIS
No, we are not just talking about extra cabinets
for pots and pans which, of course, are a must.
We are talking about spaces beyond the pantry.
The pandemic has seen people stock up on food
and other goods and often the pantry or shelves
are just not enough to contain them. Never
mind all that extra toilet paper. There is a move
to second freezers, bigger pantries and using
cupboards in other rooms (think the dining room)
CAFE CORNER NOOK
This trend is growing as a small-space solution.
To recreate it, conjure up the idea of your
favourite coffee shop. You can do this by
adding a wooden bar counter against a wall or
a window and accompanying that with bright
bar stools creating a place to eat, drink, read
or even work. Plus a view outdoors, if you have
one, will create the illusion of more space.
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PICTURE VITALIY ZAMEDYANSKIY \ UNSPLASH
A renovated kitchen is a good selling point - and it need not be expensive
ONE PLACE that adds value when selling a home is the
kitchen, say estate agents.
But budgeting to redo a kitchen can be scary, especially
now with the cost of building materials.
Experts say the cost of a new kitchen depends on the
finishes you use and on the size of your kitchen.
ROUGH COST ESTIMATES:
The average cost of renovating a large kitchen with high-end
appliances and semi-custom cabinets can range from
R200 000 to R300 000 and up.
For a full designer kitchen that figure jumps to R1 million,
while a small to medium kitchen renovation can range from
R10 000 to R200 000.
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WHAT ARE YOUR BIGGEST COSTS:
KITCHEN cupboards will
be your biggest expense.
Building work your
second biggest expense.
Counter tops come in
at number three for costs.
You will also have to
fork out for electrical work,
plumbing and also gas
points which could
altogether set you
back over R40 000.
You need to know
what you can skimp on
and what you can’t, says
designer Will Engelbrecht.
HIS ADVICE: If you
want a kitchen you’ll love,
and one that will last, you
will have to spend money
to get you the longevity,
however, if you do some
DIY you can cut costs
You need to know
what you can skimp
on and what you
can’t skimp on
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PICTURE ARNO SMIT, CHASTITY CORTIJO \ UNSPLASH
A KITCHEN RENO ON A BUDGET
THERE are many ways to
renovate a kitchen on a budget:
Spray or paint old cabinets
This will cost about R8 000 –
that is about R70 000 less than
getting new ones made.
TIP Ensure you use a paint that
can resist moisture and that has
a sheen for ease of wiping.
Go second-hand Use movable
furniture instead of built-in
cabinets. Buy these pieces
from a second-hand shop and
DIY as regards restoring them.
Create a feature of open
shelving (but mind the dust)
for decorative purposes by
removing the doors of one of
DIY as much as possible
This is one of the best ways to
reduce costs as professional
installation and repairs
contribute significantly to the
cost of kitchen renovation.
Go for white appliances
Make an art gallery on a
wall. This can include recipes
that are framed or photos of
family and friends eating meals
together or having celebrations
around food. This will work to
remind you of good times too.
Backsplashes can be made
of off-cuts of bigger slabs of
kitchen counters, which can
be cut into various sizes and
A U G U S T | S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 1 HI | 1 3
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1 4 | HI A U G U S T | S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 1
PICTURE AUGUST DE RICHELIEU \ UNSPLASH
WORDS VIVIEN HORLER
Mom knows best
REAL-LIFE stories about
kitchen wins and
disasters are the best
place to find out if an
idea works well.
For this article, we are happy
to team up with Renovating
Moms (Cape Town and Joburg)
– a Facebook group of women
with a membership of more than
65 000, full of useful ideas, tips
and advice. Here are some dos
and don’ts from moms who have
tried and tested them.
WASHING THINGS Will
you have a separate scullerycum-laundry?
If you do, have
the dishwasher in the kitchen or
you’ll be carrying dirty dishes and
crockery into the scullery and then
clean dishes back into the kitchen,
says one mom. It’s much easier to
pack and unpack if the dishwasher
is near the crockery cupboard.
A wall-mounted drying rack
above the sink in the scullery can
accommodate larger dishes that
don’t fit into the dishwasher.
If you have both a washing
machine and a tumble dryer, the
dryer can be mounted on the
wall above the washing machine,
saving floor space.
PREP BOWLS Is it necessary
to have a prep bowl in the
kitchen if you have a scullery?
There were mixed feelings on this
one, but having one won out.
How do you know designers’
ideas will work for you and your
family’s needs? Welcome the
Renovating Moms who don’t
mince words on what works
and what doesn’t
However, do ensure you have a
hot as well as a cold tap.
“The plumber who said I needed
only a cold tap on the prep bowl
obviously didn’t do the cooking in
his home,” said one mom.
Another mom says if both the
main sinks are full of dirty dishes,
a prep bowl can be “invaluable”
and if your main sinks are in a
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The plumber who said I
needed only a cold tap on the
prep bowl obviously didn’t do the
cooking in his home
separate scullery, a prep bowl in
the kitchen “proper” saves a lot
For those who don’t have
much counter space, place a glass
cutting board on top of a prep
bowl and voila! extra space.
FRIDGE One mom says it’s a
good idea to have a free-standing
fridge rather than one tucked
away surrounded by cupboards.
Should you buy a bigger fridge at
some point, it won’t fit in the gap.
COOKING What sort of oven
are you wanting? Many people
swear by eye-level ovens, rather
than an under-hob version which
requires bending every time you
want to check on the progress of
the roast or cake.
If you’re going to have a gas
hob, figure out where you’re going
to put the gas cylinder. There are
compliance rules about this, so
check with the installer.
And whatever you do, say
two moms, do not go for stoves
and ovens with touch displays,
especially not one with a hob
“I am constantly inadvertently
making the oven beep, and once
even turning it on, while I stand
and use the hob. Biggest pain
ever. I hate it.”
Another mom agrees: “We
had one and would often use the
counter top to drop groceries on
when coming home – and a few
times the hob would turn on and
melt the bags before I noticed.”
Create a built-in niche for
the microwave which means it
doesn’t take up counter space.
STORAGE Do you have room
for a pantry or at least a decentsized
pantry cupboard? If you go
for a pantry cupboard, make sure
it has a light.
You’ll need plenty of storage –
more than you think.
PLUGS The same goes for plug
points. You want lots.
“There is a new life-changing
electrical appliance every year
which you’ll have to plug in.”
Another mom says: “You get
plug points with two-point plugs
in them. I am going to change
some of mine as most appliances
come with two-point plugs. Also,
plugs with USB charger points.
ISLANDS Will you have an
island? “We’ve got a huge island
and got rid of our dining table
which was the best decision. The
dining room was a wasted space
as we never used it. Nowadays we
sit as a family at the island,” said
on on-trend mom.
Another suggested extra
cupboards under the island.
“I would recommend – if
you can – putting cupboards
underneath the island on the
‘outside’ – the side that you
normally have the seating.
“Your island obviously
needs to be deep enough and
the overhang far enough to
accommodate this, but it is
great for extra storage for all the
random things that one does not
use every day – tablecloths, extra
glasses, wine decanters, fancy
cutlery, etc etc. It doesn’t detract
from the look of the island at all,
so it is basically bonus space.”
Will you have room for an
appliance cupboard? These allow
you to put away things like the
toaster and food mixer so they
are not occupying valuable
Or you could build, as one
mom suggests, “a waist-high shelf
in the pantry for all appliances
with plug points so you can use
them immediately and not have
to climb a ladder, drop a lid or
trip over your feet”.
RUBBISH Plan where the
dustbin and recycling bin will go.
SHELVING Do open shelves
work better than storage
cupboards? The moms are
pretty dubious. Says one: “Open
shelving is a design feature, not a
storage solution. You’ll find you
have dust everywhere.”
Says another: “Open shelving
is great for plants and recipe books
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PICTURES SARAH CHAI \ PEXELS • JACEK DYLAG, DANE DEANER \ UNSPLASH
If you’re considering
open shelving, take
your cupboard doors
off for a few weeks
and see how that
works for you before
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PICTURE OPTICAL SHADES MEDIA SANGROHA
and glass storage containers, but
they need constant styling, and
cleaning, and they’re more hassle
than they’re worth. If you are
considering open shelving, take
your cupboard doors off for a few
weeks and see how that works for
you before you commit.”
CABINETRY Cupboard units
should go all the way to the floor
or you’ll spend your life cleaning
under them, says one mom. And
take them right up to the ceiling
too, or you’ll end with dust and
unsightly clutter on top of them.
Large pot drawers are the
storage solution for everything
you keep below counter height.
Obviously, they are good for
pots, but also for Tupperware and
other plastic containers, as well as
casserole and other cooking and
Another mom suggests a drawer
for spices. She advises you consider
the height of items you have to
store in cupboards. Sometimes two
shelves are better than three for tall
items like vases and olive oil, fabric
softener and so forth.
Avoid corner cupboards,
unless they are tall, walk-in ones.
Or, as one mom says, “Corner
cupboards are where things go
And think carefully about
your counter tops. One mom
said: “Wish I hadn’t put in black
counter tops. Yes, we were at the
end of our budget and I didn’t
care too much about the colour
as long as it was granite... But it’s
difficult to tell how clean they are
(and to spot any lurking ants).”
• Find renovating moms on Facebook
in Cape Town here and in Joburg here
go all the
way to the
floor or you’ll
1 8 | HI A U G U S T | S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 1
A FAIR DEAL
We have all come
wanting to update
their kitchens, and
being left in the lurch
So, how do you
ensure this doesn’t
happen to you?
WORDS DON MACALISTER
WHAT DO YOU WANT? Before calling
in contractors for quotations, draw up a
detailed plan of what you want done and
what you can afford.
For substantial work, get a detailed
Find a qualified person to draw up
plans, determine specifications and submit
them to the local authority for approval. If
you don’t do this, you may have problems
later when it comes to selling the property.
CHOOSING A CONTRACTOR Go with
recognised companies that have a track
record and are registered and compliant.
A so-called bakkie builder may be cheap,
but does he have insurance should one of
his workers be injured in your home? If the
builder doesn’t, the worker could sue you.
Do you have any recourse if the contractor
causes defects to your existing home?
Contractors don’t have to be members
of the Master Builders Association but
membership will give you some protection
if things go wrong.
Ensure your contractor is registered
with the necessary legal or statutory
bodies, such as Workman’s Compensation
Insurance, the Bargaining Council for the
Building Industry and the Receiver
Get references from all contractors.
QUOTES Get quotations from at least
three reputable contractors.
To compare costs, make sure each
contractor is quoting on the same written
specifications and conditions and includes
VAT. Be cautious of unrealistically low
quotations. Do not begin any work while
the price is still under negotiation.
ACCEPTING THE QUOTATION
Get a written agreement with the
contractor you have chosen. Don’t sign
acceptance unless the contractor’s offer
is firm, in writing, clear, covers all your
requirements and is signed.
Make sure the agreement includes the
starting date, the approximate duration of
the work, the anticipated completion date,
specifications for cleaning up during the
work, including the disposal of waste or
rubble, and payment details.
Use a Master Builders SA or Master
Builders Association-approved building
INSURANCE Your contractor should
be insured for public liability and have
Appropriate insurance should be
agreed to cover any damage to your
existing building and contents. Tell your
insurance company you are having
EXTRA WORK AND/OR
VARIATIONS Establish the cost of any
extra work you want the contractor to do,
again in writing, before the work is carried
out and confirm any changes, in writing,
with both you and the contractor signing.
PAYMENT Usually, you will not be
expected to pay a deposit before work
starts or be asked to pay the wages of
workers during the contract. With fairly
large jobs, interim payments on completion
of certain sections can be specified in a
contract or agreement.
A request for a progress payment
should be accompanied by an invoice
detailing the percentage and value of the
work completed. For a small job, payment
is usually made in one lump sum when the
work is satisfactorily completed.
Before making the final payment,
inspect the completed work and detail
in writing any complaints or defects. It is
acceptable to withhold money for defects
or incomplete work but it is unfair to
withhold a large sum for minor defects.
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BEFORE The client
wanted a timeless look and
feel for the new kitchen
in her traditional southern
suburbs home, which would
fit in with the palette of the
rest of the house.
Interior designer Kimberley Richmond, of Beautiful Spaces, tells us how she
recreated the kitchen of her client’s Cape Town home
CLIENT I was looking for a timeless look and
feel for my new kitchen. One of my limitations
was that the house was painted and tiled with the
same palette throughout when it was bought, so I
had to use that palette and make my kitchen fit in
DESIGNER The house has quite a traditional
southern suburb, Cape Town, feel so I couldn’t go
too modern. My client likes to cook and entertains
a lot, so the design had to work with that. I
wanted it to be convenient, easy for her and
family to move around in and practical in terms
The main kitchen felt too spacious and I felt
an island would make it more complete. We also
created a mini “bar” area for her husband from
where to serve drinks as they like entertaining.
I also made the oven area with spice racks, pullout
drawers and all requirements close at reach.
I added wood, and a hint of grey as a finish, to
make it look less sterile. The scullery was divided
by a gorgeous barn door in charcoal to separate
the main kitchen and to allow that to be the
coffee station/cleaning area.
ADVICE Have your list of requirements before
you design. Look at the size of your family and
make life convenient. Have your wish list and
design around that. A good kitchen design is one
of the biggest investments in your home so it
needs to be right.
AFTER The designer
used wood, and a hint of
grey as a finish.
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AFTER A centre island was
added to the kitchen which was
designed to be convenient, easy
to move around in and practical
in terms of cooking.
My client likes to cook and
entertains a lot, so the design
had to work with that
A U G U S T | S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 1 HI | 2 1
all your home
M A R C H 2 0 2 1
PICTURE CHRIS SNOOK/HOUZZ—THE WASHINGTON POST
Also inside: A palatial home • Gardens that will grow on you
To advertise here contact
Charl Reineke | email@example.com | Vivian Warby | firstname.lastname@example.org
2 2 | HI A U G U S T | S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 1
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Kitchens are busy spaces and get grubby fast. Here’s how to get yours spotless
SUCH a high-traffic area can be
tough to keep clean. There are often
dirty dishes in the sink, there might
be gunk in the secret spaces of the
dishwasher and cooking means
surfaces, stove tops and cupboard
tops tend to get sticky with grease.
Here are some ideas for getting
your kitchen gleaming.
THE COUNTERS Some people
manage to keep their counters
spotless and clear, others let them
attract clutter. It’s much easier
to clean an uncluttered kitchen.
Remove everything that doesn’t
belong on the counters, or in the
kitchen at all, and put it away. Then
wipe down with a cleaner.
White vinegar can be great to
wipe down surfaces but be careful
with natural stone tops like granite –
vinegar can eat into the stone.
THE OVEN This is one of the most
disliked cleaning jobs in the kitchen.
Some ovens have an auto-clean
setting but forget it. It’s a very high
temperature setting and has been
known to set off fire alarms.
But there’s an easy way to clean it
overnight. Fill a spray bottle with a
solution of a third of a cup of water,
a third of a cup of white vinegar and
half a cup of bicarbonate of soda.
When the oven is cool, take out
the shelves and spray the inside,
avoiding the heating elements. Then
close the door and go to bed, while
the solution does its work.
Twelve hours later, you can clean
the oven with soapy water, then dry
it with a dish towel.
THE HOB AND OVEN
EXTERIOR When cleaning your
oven, don’t forget the hob and the
exterior of the oven.
Start at the top. If you have a gas
stove, remove the grids and wash
them if they’re sticky. Then clean the
surface of the hob with all-purpose
cleaner. Electric plates can be wiped
off with diluted dish-washing soap.
An electric glass hob is the
easiest of all – just wipe it down
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with warm, soapy water.
Once the top is clean, wipe
down the front of your oven with
all-purpose cleaner, white vinegar,
or diluted dish-washing soap. Don’t
forget the knobs and displays.
THE EXTRACTOR FAN You just
have to look at it to know that the
extractor fan casing collects grease.
The grease catches dust and the
whole thing becomes disgusting.
But you can clean it simply by
wiping it down with a few drops of
sunflower oil on sheets of kitchen
paper. Then wipe it down again with
your usual spray and a sponge.
Inside the extractor fan you’ll
find a fabric filter which needs to
be washed from time to time. You
might need to unscrew the grill to
get at it. It can be washed in hot,
soapy water, left to dry and replaced.
THE SINK First rinse it out. Then
use a scrubbing cleaner – or bicarb
– and scrub it with a sponge or
Clean the taps, sponge holders
and soap dishes. Wipe down the
When you’re done, fill the sink
with hot water with some bleach
added, let it sit for about 10 minutes,
If your sink isn’t draining well,
it might be that you have a build-up
of grease in the drain. A kettleful of
boiling water might well sort out
SMALL APPLIANCES Wipe off
the exteriors. Check the filter in the
kettle and clean it. Empty the toaster
of crumbs. Check both the interior
and exterior of the microwave and
THE FLOOR Sweep or vacuum
clean the floor. Use a dust-buster to
get into nooks and crannies.
Then wash it with a mop dipped
in soapy water. Some people prefer
those ghastly string mops, others
prefer the ones you can squeeze to
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SETTING UP YOUR
Make a space where you can cook al fresco while entertaining guests
PICTURE IBIZA IBIZA IBIZA / UNSPASH
IT MAY be winter but warm days in between the
cold ones mean that an outdoor kitchen can be a
Choosing the right location is important.
It should be wind free and as close to the kitchen
as possible, so going back and forth is not a chore,
as often these kitchens do not have a second set of
dishes, cookware or appliances.
Whether your space is a back garden in the
suburbs, a roof deck in the city or a wide porch in the
country, you’ll want to consider hard-wearing materials
for built-in counters, seating benches and storage
units which remain fresh-looking while surviving the
onslaught of cooking activities, dirt, dust and rain.
Counter tops and
A dining area
HOW TO GET COOKING
If you already have a sizeable patio or deck area, incorporating
an outdoor kitchen into that space is relatively simple.
An existing deck can easily be turned into a basic outdoor food
prep and dining area by adding a braai stand or grill, a counter top
and a table with comfortable chairs.
Remember to consider the lighting and power points for
appliances. In the luxury market, we’re seeing full-on outdoor
kitchens complete with bar areas, islands, ovens, stoves and extra
These features allow the host to be present with their guests
outside while they are preparing a meal.
While custom kitchens give you more choices, a prefab outdoor
kitchen will be more cost effective.
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Two local chefs give us
the low-down on their
style and fare
I have loved cooking and creating dishes from an early
age and used to help my granny and mom stir pots for
family gatherings. I saw how food was a good enough
reason to gather even the busiest of family members around
the table and even the simplest of dishes was enjoyed amidst
chatter, gossip and laughter. Food is also a great peace
offering and has always been my secret weapon.
Twenty-five-year-old chef Lerato
Zondi from Thornton, Cape Town,
established her own food company
during the pandemic called Otarel,
baking custom-made cakes to fit
any occasion as well as catering
for events big and small. Against
all odds, it has been doing well.
Otarel is her name backwards.
I love my cakesicle mould. As a girl
who lives for close to zero waste,
I love the idea of being able to use
my cake off-cuts in a beautiful way.
Also my pastry-horn baking mould
which makes it really easy for me
to make pastry shells. I make a
Food is my unspoken language of
love, with energy and love being
the main ingredients, and I hope
that other people feel that too
whenever they eat my food. One of
my goals is to introduce the world
to South African flavours.
I am also passionate about
ensuring no one is denied access
to wholesome and nutritious food
and my dream job would be to
somehow be involved in a project
aimed at ending world hunger.
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PICTURE CHRIS VON ULMENSTEIN
In my restaurants, fresh is best and
less is more. I keep it simple. No smears,
smoke, foam or gel. The ingredients
are the heroes of the plate
Bulgarian-born Chef Pavel Dimitrov
arrived in South Africa at the
age of 21 and connected with the
Gonsalves family in Johannesburg
at its popular Vilamoura in Rosebank
and at Gold Reef City. Dimitrov
followed restaurateur Victor
Gonsalves to Cape Town, helping
him to open Pigalle in Green Point
and NV-80 in The Point Shopping
Centre in Sea Point. When The Vue
changed to Utopia Cape Town,
Dimitrov became co-owner of the
restaurant and its executive chef
about two years ago. He has also
recently opened Zest Restaurant at
the newkings boutique hotel in Sea
Point. Dimitrov speaks highly of
Gonsalves, regarding him as one of
the best restaurateurs in the country,
one who is honest and who
keeps his word.
FAVOURITE COOKING TOOLS:
The brand-new wood-fired grill that
was installed at Zest. The coals of
the kameeldoring wood give a woodsmoked
aroma to the meat, fish
and vegetables. Another essential
is a good chef’s knife – a Swiss or
Japanese one being a priority.
Fresh is best and less is more. I
do not use smoke, gels, foams or
smears in my dishes and I do not
use more than three ingredients per
dish, to give texture and flavour. Fish
is a favourite, prepared with some
salt and olive oil. Ingredient sourcing
is also important for a restaurant –
buying the best quality at a good
price. For example, I use a small
olive oil producer for extra-virgin,
cold-pressed olive oil.
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PICTURE ALEKSANDRA BOGUSLAWSKA / UNSPLASH
The pandemic and fears of food shortages have turned even the
most diehard convenience foodies into avid gardeners.
WORDS KAY MONTGOMERY
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You can harvest a carrot
crop in about three
months after planting.
and gives kids
how food is
has become a
And there are
go beyond being able to grow
to eat. Growing veg is also a
great way to introduce children
to the hobby of gardening and
encourage them to spend more
time outdoors. The garden is
nature’s classroom and gives
kids first-hand insight on how
food is produced.
PREPPING A NEW PATCH
Correct placement is the key to
success with vegetables. Find
a space that receives about
six hours of sun every day.
However, if this is a challenge in
your garden, there are a number
of crops which can grow well in
partial shade. A vegetable patch
doesn’t have to be huge – 1.5m
by 2m is ample.
Assess your soil quality.
Sandy soil runs through your
fingers and clay soil forms
clumps when squeezed. Loamy
soil, considered best for
gardening, is a crumbly, dark
soil that retains water without
If you have sandy or clay
soil, improve the quality by
digging in plenty of organic
matter (compost and manure)
for better retention, drainage,
texture and air flow.
Remove the last of the summer
crops and any weeds that might
have invaded the patch. You
don’t want them completing
for nutrients and water with the
new crops later on.
If you put mulch down
earlier in the season, don’t
remove it, just dig it into the
soil. Add more compost or
manure to condition the soil
and dig it over to break up clods
for better drainage.
BOXES AND RAISED
Raised beds not only protect
your crops from pests but also
make weeding and watering that
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MAIN: Raised beds not
only protect your crops
from pests but also
make weeding easier.
PICTURE: LUKAS OTTO
TOP: Keep the soil moist
as dry periods can spoil
ABOVE: As cabbage
heads begin to mature,
cut back on watering
as too much water can
cause heads to split.
PICTURE: LUKAS OTTO
In smaller gardens,
wooden crates can be used for
They don’t take up too much
space and can provide a good
supply of food for the family
In larger gardens, consider
raised beds that provide the
look and feel of the potagers or
kitchen gardens of yesteryear.
Raised beds also provide a
solution in gardens where soil
quality is poor.
Beds can be constructed
out of wooden planks or bricks
and a rich top soil and organic
matter added before seeds are
Several vegetables can be grown
throughout the year in some
locations, while others are
What you grow depends
on your climate. You can sow
seeds or get a head start with
seedlings purchased from your
local nursery. Remember to
mulch after planting to keep the
TIPS FOR VEGETABLES
Onions take four months or
longer from seed to harvest, but
they have a relatively good shelf
life so you can plant a goodsized
Sow seeds in trays and
transplant seedlings into the
garden. Soil needs to drain well.
Ask your local nurseryman
which onion varieties are best
for your region.
Beetroot is easy to grow.
Sow seeds in rows, every 3cm
to 5cm, with rows about 30cm
Keep the soil moist as dry
periods can spoil the crop.
Cabbages thrive in welldraining,
fertile soil. Sow seeds
in seed trays or beds, with
successive planting every three
to four weeks.
Carrots enjoy a loose
soil, but don’t add too much
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compost when working the soil.
Loose, friable soil will ensure
that your carrots are straight
and not misshapen. Sow seeds
in furrows (1cm deep), with
successive plantings every three
to four weeks.
Seeds which you can sow
now (Western Cape): dwarf
beans; beetroot; broccoli,
Brussels sprouts, carrots – all
year; cabbage – all year; celery
and lettuce – all year. From
March: leeks; spinach; radishes;
Swiss chard and turnips. Plant
onions in April and May.
Sow seeds now (Gauteng):
broccoli; beetroot; Brussels
sprouts, cabbage; carrots – all
year; leeks; spinach; lettuce –
all year; cauliflower; onions,
radishes; Swish chard as
well as turnips.
Earthworms break down
organic matter in the soil and
release nutrients for plants.
They are an important part of a
garden’s ecosystem, themselves
providing a tasty meal for birds.
As earthworms tunnel down,
they aerate the soil, providing
better water penetration and
space for roots to grow.
Earthworms feed on
decaying plant matter and small
micro-organisms in the soil.
Their castings (waste) are a rich
fertiliser that supply nutrients
Encourage them to stay by
improving your soil quality.
Dig in organic matter such
as compost, manure or leaf litter
and add organic mulch to the
soil surface. Earthworms don’t
like to be disturbed. Use a fork
when you dig.
Garden earthworms should
not be confused with red
wigglers (Eisenia fetida), which
are used in vermiculture, to
compost waste matter.
These earthworms cannot
live in garden soil.
MAIN: Ask your local
nurseryman which onion
varieties are best for your
TOP: Swiss chard is
as ornamental as it is
delicious. It grows well in
PICTURE: LUKAS OTTO
break down organic
matter in the soil and
release nutrients for
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