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African Relish recreational cooking school

If you have a desire to escape to the countryside, a passion for cooking, and a love of learning then consider visiting the African Relish cooking school in Prince Albert. Jeremy, the head chef and co-owner, invited us to join them for one of their weekend courses when we passed through the remote Karoo town as part of our Real Food Trip across South Africa.

Prince Albert, Western Cape


Website www.africanrelish.com    Phone +27 23 541 1381   Mobile +27 82 883 3104    Email lisa@africanrelish.com

[Story by Carlin Archer]

If you have a desire to escape to the countryside, a passion for cooking, and a love of learning then consider visiting the African Relish cooking school in Prince Albert. Jeremy, the head chef and co-owner, invited us to join them for one of their weekend courses when we passed through the remote Karoo town as part of our Real Food Trip across South Africa.

African-Relish-recreational-cooking-school

The cooking school is owned by Jeremy, his wife Di and their Cape Town based business partners Philip and Lisa Key; the four of them are long time friends who share a love of cooking and good living. Wanting to create their own “Tuscany in South Africa” they decided on the Karoo as the perfect place to do that. Prince Albert was a natural fit  for their vision - it is a bit off the beaten track and they sensed the latent potential of the town.

The meeting place for our weekend of cooking delights was quite spectacular - from the stunningly scenic drive through the vast semi-desert  landscape, to the picturesque and comparitively lush town of Prince Albert and finally to the welcoming doors of African Relish cooking school.

Before beginning the course we took some time to chat with Jeremy, our host and teacher for the weekend. It's clear that he’s spent time contemplating the deeper aspects of food, beyond simply mixing a bunch of ingredients in a pot. He believes that, at a fundamental level, food brings people together. "It’s a natural meeting place,” he says, going on to offer up a plateful of wise musings on the culture of food.

African Relish aims to “awaken the desire to cook” in people and to allow its guests to share a peak food experience with like-minded others. At the same time the school plays its part in promoting Prince Albert and its culinary, cultural and environmental riches; as part of the course they encourage their guests to make a foray into the town and its surrounds such as visiting the local food market, going on guided nature and village walks and meeting some of the local artisanal food producers.

While African Relish includes a wide range of traidtional South African recipes in their course, they also experiment with tastes from other cultures and ways of fusing them together. They make a point of looking at old cultural takes on food and modernising them. Jeremy says “Don’t be limited by what you’ve been taught in the past - traditions aren’t always right. We like bashing down old paradigms and we encourage people to learn through making mistakes.”

At African Relish much emphasis is placed on the origin of the food, from the manufacturing process, to how it is grown, and the impact it has had on the environment. They grow a certain amount of their own herbs and vegetables and supply much of the rest from local producers. Only seasonal produce is used which helps explain why everything in the recipes we sampled tasted so fresh and flavoursome.

"The course itself is as interactive as you want it to be", Jeremy says. Our classroom is a beautifully equipped kitchen, and the stage on which Jeremy demonstrates various skills, imparting gem after gem of cooking wisdom. But it’s not all standing around watching... from time to time we got our hands dirty kneading bread, dipping fingers in various concoctions and asking a multitude of questions.

We learned how, to make a good stock - this simple staple of making soups, stews and sauces - one needs to treat it with the utmost respect, “Imagine you are not merely making a stock, but you are making a fine stew of which, when it is finished, you will only be allowed to serve the liquor. Think of every conceivable way in which to make the flavour deep and intense, yet clean and clear”. In many ways this sums up the essence of African Relish - treating food with a deeper level of mindfulness and respect.

Other recipes discovered on the weekend long course included a watermelon salad with vodka and mint dressing, tomato and watermelon soup, kudu carpaccio and, my personal favourite, amarula crème brûlée.

The cherry on top was that, as part of the course, we would regularly sit down as a group and enjoy the freshly created masterpieces over a glass of fine wine and some friendly banter. I think there's a deeper appreciation that can be reached, a more heightened level of awareness of each mouthful of food, when you’ve watched the food being prepared and understand where it came from.

The Vast Semi Desert Landscape of The Karoo

African-Relish-recreational-cooking-school

Seared Kudu Carpaccio

African-Relish-recreational-cooking-school

Freshly made & baked foccacia bread

African-Relish-recreational-cooking-school

African Relish Cooking School


More Information

African Relish is a recreational  cooking school set in the quaint Karoo town of Prince Albert. The school is set alongside an olive grove in the main road of town. With its own restaurant and cottages, their cooking holidays offer the first South African alternative to overseas culinary travel. They are an easy drive from Cape Town, George or Oudtshoorn. Their tailor made cooking courses and demo's run all year. Courses are designed for the independent traveller according to their calendar and culinary desires or guests can attend  the scheduled gourmet weekends hosted by Jeremy Freemantle; or invited chefs and artisans. See the detailed and delicious cooking course calendar on their website www.africanrelish.com

A video clip of African Relish cooking school in Prince Albert, South Africa.

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African Relish recreational cooking school

from African Relish recreational cooking school

Our tailor made cooking courses and demo's run all year.These are designed and hosted by Afican Relish aong with invited chefs and artisans. Courses on demand or scheduled gourmet weekends.

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