Behind the recipes – getting to know Liezie Mulder

Behind the recipes – getting to know Liezie Mulder

Truffle hunting in Croatia. Lobster rolls. Pomegranate molasses. Chef and baker Liezie Mulder shares some of her favourite foodie memories.

Liezie Mulder, whose book Ile de Pain: Anytime is our must-have of the month, shares some of her favourite foodie facts.

* Is this your first book?

This is my second cook book. I wrote my first book in 2009 and we self-published and sold 3000 copies.

* What makes your book different from any other cookbook?

Its more than just a cookbook, it captures a day in the life of ile de pain, through different times of the day and is a visual feast for the eyes. The recipes are well tested, uncomplicated and easy to follow.

* What was the core inspiration behind creating this book?

I have so many wonderful food memories. I want to celebrate them, and celebrate food. I wanted to create something lasting, beautiful and useful. Something that captures the essence of what we do, and the same time inspire others.

* What were some of the coolest food experiences during your travels?

Truffle hunting in Croatia. A foodie journey through Vietnam. Eating pizza three times a day … when trying to find the best pizza in Italy. Eating at some of the worlds best restaurants.

* How would you describe the tone and personality of your book?

It’s me, it’s my voice, it’s about my favourite recipes, its fun, unique and light.

* How would you describe your food style?

Fresh, simple, uncomplicated and fun. I like to keep flavours in a recipe clean, working within the flavour palette of one region or country. I like to combine unexpected flavours and present it in a way using few components on a plate, so as not to confuse the palate.

* What was the most surprising thing you learnt in creating your book?

What an amazing and enjoyable experience it can be when you are working with like-minded professional people and how supportive and willing to help friends family and staff have been .

* What did you enjoy most about writing your book?

Working with creative like-minded people, and seeing how the book took shape. I loved being part of the food styling and food photography and experiencing how the book gets put together in a professional way.

* The menu at Ile de Pain and some of the recipes are quite unusual, are the recipes easy to duplicate at home?

Yes. This was part of the part of the inspiration for writing the book. To present recipes that are unique, but well tested and easy to follow. These are recipes that we use in our restaurant kitchen daily, all the ingredients are readily available and they were written with the food enthusiast and home cook in mind.

* Best advice received about cooking and who did it come from?

‘Attention to detail, being consistent and not taking yourself too seriously − its only food.’ Jody Adams.

* Most significant food memory as a child?

Helping my mom entertain at home and trying out recipes for dinner parties. Cutting out recipes from magazines and creating my own scrapbook cookbooks.

* What are your favourite recipes in the book?

Morrocan pie. Lobster rolls. Steamed buns with pork belly.

* Which recipe in the book do you usually make for your loved ones?

Pizza. I love pizza. Braaibroodjies. Grilled prawns, my personal favourite.

* As a chef, what do you consider to be very important in running a successful kitchen and delivering great service?

Quality and consistency. In the kitchen …  great leadership and working as a team, mental and physical preparation, meticulous planning of the menu with its ingredients, methods and tools. For service … same as in the kitchen with an added dose of genuine sense of service towards your guest – be of service but not a servant.

* Who is your favourite chef and why?

Jody Adams, my early mentor and inspiration. Jan – for what he did and how he did it.

* Your best food destination?

That’s a tough one, but I think It would be Thailand or somewhere in Asia.

* What five ingredients are essential to you and will always be in your pantry?

Pomegranate molasses. Cumin. Olive oil. Canned tomatoes. Dijon mustard.

* What is your comfort food and why?

Pap en wors – seriously. Pizza and pasta – it’s my go to thing when I cook at home. I always have some of our pizza bases in the freezer and spelt pasta from a local grain mill.

* What food aroma reminds you of your childhood?

Sun ripened strawberries from our farm.

* What are your dreams for the future?

Living on a farm close to the ocean growing/cultivating my own food.

Anytime by chef and baker Liezie Mulder, is a collection of dishes from her Knysna restaurant, Ile de Pain. Quivertree, R450.

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