New resident chef starts in May

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Gavin Memper joins the African Relish team in May. What better way to introduce him than with this story from Gavin:

You are what you eat.

I believe the saying ‘you are what you eat’ is 100% true for everyone on the planet. Living to this statement every day is life changing and brings with it a lifestyle of responsibility. That being said, one of the most important things in one’s life is food and nutrition. Knowing this, I have dedicated my life to my passion of cooking and this has led me to a world of awe-inspiring travel.

Discovering the finest quality ingredients to work with and to experiment with all the different cuisines of the world has brought me much joy and appreciation of food. My greatest experience is sharing my fundamental cooking knowledge with friends and family sitting around a table of laughter, fun and food.

Cooking my way to health 

As a young and eager student I completed an apprenticeship in Shropshire England.  After that I headed straight for London, which is where any boy will come out a man after spending time in the kitchens there.  The solid foundation and old school back to basics, no nonsense approach to the kitchen and food environment gave me the grounded confidence to go and experience life and what this wonderful world has to offer us in different cultures and cuisines.

My love of the mountains and the outdoors drew me to the French Alps where I ran a private ski chalet.  After the intense white caped mountains, it was time for an off the beaten track adventure.  This adventure was to be the plains of the Serengeti in Tanzania.  Lions in our herb garden and snakes under my feet during service always kept me on my toes.  I learned to appreciate our produce, as it was all grown in our gardens as there were no supermarkets close by.  If you wanted it, you had to grow it and then make it.

In keeping off the beaten track, I found myself in New Zealand, ‘the land of the long white cloud’.  The people really make it special and their passion for always striving to be better really shines through.

After densely populated cities, snow caped mountains and vast open plains it was time to experience what the oceans had to offer.  The beauty of being on a yacht on the sea is that you can go just about anywhere there is water.  From the shores of the south of France we set off to every small port in the Mediterranean.  Most of these small tucked away villages have the right balance in life, where fresh is the only option and they keep it simple.

A one-month long crossing with only blue sky above you and blue seas around you will make you feel like a pirate.

Island hopping around the Maldives and exploring Thailand really set me off on a pursuit to be fit and healthy.  This meant I had to change my lifestyle of over the top food indulgence to fresh, clean and nutritional eating.

The key fundamentals to anything is education to gain knowledge.  I had to start educating myself on how to eat properly, not just eat.  I found myself a student again and even more eager to learn.

My greatest adventure to date is food.  How amazing that you pretty much have the exact same ingredient but have so many different interpretations of what to do with it, how to use it or mix it with something else.

Ending up at African Relish is just one of the ripples on the pond from my skimming stone.  I want to share all I know with anyone who is quiet enough to listen and at the same time I will always be open to learn from any passer-by that crosses my path.

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