We interviewed Top Chef contestant Kym Clement about her new restaurants, her future, her travels and her appearance on Top Chef.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Pretoria has become my hometown where both restaurants I co-own are based in the heart of the city. Urban Eatery is a coffee shop that is based at the National Treasury and my newest venture Central Pizza Company. I was also a cheftestant on SABC 3’s Top Chef South Africa.
Where have you trained and where have you worked as a chef? What did you love most about being in a restaurant kitchen?
I have been very privileged to have the opportunity to work under two of South Africa’s brilliant chefs. Rudi Liebenburg and Shane Sauvage. While working at the Sheraton Hotel Chef Rudi was the Exec Chef. And later I worked for Shane Sauvage at his restaurant La Pentola in Pretoria.
The energy is qhat I love the most about being in the kitchen. The synergy in a restaurant kitchen is a beautiful thing to experience. Nothing compares to the feeling you have after a successful service, when all the guests are happy and you know you helped achieve that.
Tell us a bit about your newest venture, Central Pizza.
Central Pizza Company is a pizzeria based in the heart of the Pretoria CBD. We offer traditional pizzas as well as a concept unique to us which is the pizza fold over. The pizza fold over is the perfect marriage between a pizza and a sandwich that makes pizza an everyday food. Pretoria city is being rejuvenated and it is great to be a part of it.
What is your philosophy around cooking and eating? What do you like to focus on when doing both?
My philosophies about cooking and eating are simple. My focus in cooking is to make sure I am enjoying myself, if you aren’t enjoying the process you won’t take any pleasure in eating the food.
If you could choose one quote to best match your life at this moment, what would it be?
Banskey “Sometimes playing it safe can get you into a lot of trouble”
What is your favourite dish to cook and your favourite people to cook for?
When I cook at home my favourite thing to make is pasta. Homemade gnocchi or good old spaghetti with Napolitana sauce. Sharing meals with friends and family you care about just makes food taste better.
What is the best place you’ve travelled to and what was the best dish you ate there?
Growing up at the coast was far better than any country I have travelled to yet, bunny chow will always be one of my favourite dishes.
We’d love to hear a little about your life outside of the kitchen as well. What other facets of life take up your time? Writing/traveling/gardening/you name it?
To me life is all about family and friends. Now that I am running two businesses there is little time for anything else but I believe balance is the key.
Lastly, we’d love to hear more about your future – any plans with regards to more cookbooks/websites/and all that?
The future is looking very bright, currently I am working on a few new business concepts that I will be perusing.
SABC 3’s Top Chef South Africa which airs every Tuesday at 8pm is a local version of the well known and hugely successful American TV series by NBCUniversal International Formats. Produced by Urban Brew Studios Top Chef SA sees established cheftestants compete in various culinary challenges to ultimately be crowned Top Chef and win R100 000 in prize money.