Living loud with Liezel
Hanging with the Spice Prince
Last Saturday I was invited to dinner with some very special friends in Cape Town. I was so surprised when I walked into their lounge and spotted Reza Mahammad sitting casually and chatting away.
His Food Network show, ‘Reza, Spice Prince of India’ is an extension of his success as one of the UK’s top Indian restaurateurs. Reza was born in England and sent off to India to be educated as his parents wanted him to stay in touch with his roots. At 16 he took over the family restaurant, managing The Star of India, now one of London’s most successful and prestigious restaurants.
I got a chance to chat to this man who has spent so much time in South Africa and loves our beautiful country.
How many times have you been to SA?
I’ve been visiting several times a year for the last six years as part of the Good Food Wine & Show.
What is your favourite restaurant in Cape Town?
I don’t have a favourite because I’m always so busy on my visits here. I did discover Masala Dosa on Long Street on my last visit to Cape Town. This stood out for me as I love the styling of the restaurant and it is very reasonably priced.
What dishes will you be making at Good Food?
Chicken in Coriander Sauce with Coconut sauce; Winter Warming Chilly cooked with rich dark chocolate; and Sweet and Sour Lamb.
How do you relax?
Relax? What’s that? I go to concerts and became a patron of a friend’s orchestra with Joanna Lumley. I love the opera. I also do Yoga and meditation, although it doesn’t show as I’m a real live wire.
You have a something big planned in France later this year.
Yes. I’m starting a cookery retreat in October where I’ll be teaching Middle Eastern South Eastern cuisine.
Anything like that planned for SA?
Not yet, but I might do a temporary restaurant, a pop-up restaurant in Cape Town.
What are some of the tourist things that you’ve enjoyed in SA?
I have been to the Winelands and Franschhoek. I love the Garden Route and spent time in Plet. I also spend time in Prince Albert, where I often present weekend cooking courses at African Relish.
What advice do you have for People who say they can’t cook?
There is no such thing as a person that cannot cook. If you can boil an egg, there’s potential.
What are some of your favourite dishes to cook for yourself?
When it comes to myself, any dish that takes longer than five minutes is too much hard work on a personal level.
What is your mantra in the Kitchen?
Go easy on oil and make food appear as appetising as possible
After all that, time for some wonderful news: Reza Mahammad’s next series will be shot right here in South Africa, where he will explore the local gastronomic secrets of local Indian Communities.
You can see why Reza is so popular and a sought-after attraction at South Africa’s Good Food & Wine Show this weekend at the CTICC. (Visit page 11 for all the details.)