• A relaxed affair filled with taste sensations.

    By Jenny Handley

    It comes as no surprise that the vivacious owner of catering business Entrée Catering spends her precious leisure time away from her busy catering kitchen in Constantia Business Park cooking. This she does with aplomb and great joy in her spacious and airy kitchen at home in sleepy Noordhoek.

    Home for Rozanne Preston is on a gorgeous eco-estate, where the mountains meet the sea, where her creativity is stirred by the tranquillity of walking with her dogs or by running around the estate to work off the adverse effects of the catering industry. Says Rozanne: “I need time to think and be inspired, and this environment provides me with that inspiration.”

    Like many other gourmets, she is also stimulated by magazines, markets and shopping. For her, the visual aspects and the taste of food are equally important. While being highly professional in her work, Rozanne’s fun side and her eye for detail are evident when she flings open her front door and warmly invites guests in to see the spectacular Easter spread on her lunch table. She has even ensured that there are rabbits in the garden!

    As friends arrive and introductions are made by the beautiful hostess in bright coral, they are immediately offered champagne and Rozanne’s signature canapés. She believes the taste sensations should start as soon as guests walk in the door.

    Today she offers delectable prawns served with avocado and tomato salsa, nestling in specially shaped spoons on a long wooden board. The final accent could not be simpler – little mounds of coarse sea salt alongside the board, fresh and natural. They disappear in a flash. Her equally career-orientated friends – a fellow entrepreneur, a caterer, the winemaker from nearby Silvermist Vineyards, an IT guru, a cupcake creator and a marketing executive – come together as naturally as the flavours of her exotic mushroom tart with crème fraîche and wild rocket, and the rack of lamb, the main course on today’s menu.

    Within minutes, winemaker Greg Louw has been asked to pour his wines while Rozanne concentrates on putting the final touches to her food using fresh herbs from her garden. The volume of pleasure is evident, and elevated, as corks pop and the assembled company get to know one another. They finally seat themselves at the most spectacular 10-seater table, adorned with wood and silver, which form the perfect union.

    “I just love entertaining friends and family in my home. It is wonderful to unite them, and to mix my single and married friends. A relaxed affair may easily extend from lunch to dinner. It will never be a lasagne and salad; I like to take the time and effort to serve a starter, main course and dessert.

    “My home allows for good interaction and mingling. It is never just about the food, it is about the people – food has the ability to bring people together. As I am single, the guys just pitch in and serve the drinks, and everyone simply forgets
    their cares and they concentrate on just enjoying themselves.” Rozanne has always been a foodie.

    Growing up in the area originally known as the Transkei, as a young girl she loved making fudge and cakes. At age 13, her family relocated to the Eastern Cape, a perfect setting for Rozanne to discover simplicity and beauty in nature. She inherited her entrepreneurial streak from her father and her perseverance from her mother.

    After receiving her Cordon Bleu Grande Diploma at Silwood Kitchen, stints working in five-star boutique hotels and then a sojourn as private chef for the president of Christie’s Fine Arts Auctioneers at his holiday home in Majorca, Rozanne returned to South Africa to start her catering business.

    It was in Spain that her love affair with the Mediterranean was ignited, and the flame is evident in her tasty, natural and unpretentious food served with a definite European flair, a hint of Asia and a light sprinkling of Africa. In a business that concentrates on corporate events and canapé parties, Rozanne works hard at creating new menus. She aspires to find time for the things she loves, and to achieve not just success, but balance.

    “What keeps me motivated is the affirmation and praise from my happy clients. I love creating menus and relationships simultaneously; I also enjoy working with my suppliers, who have become friends. You need passion, patience and perseverance, while being hard working and humble, to succeed in the catering world.”

    Rozanne sets high standards and her team understand the importance of excellence. “I started small, making and delivering muffins and sandwiches, and my business was established by doing my best and the resulting word-of-mouth marketing.”

    Rozanne has three pearls of wisdom to share with regards to entertaining: Firstly, fabulous food is best served simply. Always prepare a dish you feel comfortable and confident making. Secondly, use easy recipes and prepare as much as you can in advance. Once the party starts, your role is to mingle, entertain and relax.

    A good party requires attention to detail in certain areas and a generosity in others, such as the wine and food. Lastly, use beautiful dishes – lots of silver, wonky ware and glass.

    As the autumn breeze begins to blow and the sun starts to set, Rozanne’s guests realise that her lunch is about to become dinner. Undeterred by an early start the next day to accommodate a formal corporate luncheon for 240 guests, Rozanne continues to entertain effortlessly and energetically, a sign of not just a hostess inspired by nature, but a natural hostess.

    Entrée Catering. Call 0861 111 510 or visit www.entreecatering.co.za.

    Bruce Tuck