Nataniël is back on Kyknet with the second season of Die Nataniël Tafel and this time it’s all about family, entertaining and health: “In this country we cook with too many ingredients – if it’s digestible and fresh, just sommer eat it”
My family lives in France and if I had to eat just one nation’s cuisine until the end of my days, it would be French food. I love everything about it, from the produce to the portion size and obviously the taste. I spend a lot of time there – typically I start in Paris and then move on to my family in Nantes. I could spend the rest of my life eating through the regions.
The best part of my life takes place at a table. I’m on the road most of the time working so I don’t often get to spend time with my friends, but when I do, the visit is always intertwined with food. It can be a huge feast, or something simple like roasted veggies with grapeseed oil, lemon, thyme, and a crunch of sea salt and black pepper. Or rye bread with watercress and a poached egg. I love a fresh lemon, my all-time favourite ingredient. It just adds something special to any dish.
Give me a live show over recorded TV any day! That’s when the memorable stuff happens. Like the time a man laughed so much during my show that he fell off his chair and died! I still feel guilty. But I reckon he was happy and I think that must be the best way to go. To die laughing is how I’d do it. But TV is also a cruel medium – I loathe looking at myself and I’m never pleased with anything; it really is difficult. I always think there must be something deeply wrong with people who really like working on TV. I’d like to be really, really thin, even if it’s just for one day.
My mentor is Rachel Botes from Carlton Café Delicious. Her restaurant is next to my Kaalkop shop in Menlo Park and she appears on the show quite regularly. I love her food and the way that she celebrates life and the wonders of the kitchen. She’s amazing and I learn from her all the time.
Some things in life are just irresistible. Like Kit Kat. I cannot resist a Kit Kat. I also love the tranquillity of a day wrapping up. Lying in bed, reading a book (I read like a maniac every day of my life), no noise, no interruptions, no pressures – bliss.
This summer I’m eating roasted chicken, at room temperature with home-made lemon mayonnaise and a perky green salad. I love the fact that people are slowly starting to eat with a conscience, that they are going to markets to seek out organic produce and artisanal products. The result, I think, is that people are cooking simpler yet more sophisticated food. I hope that it’s not a passing trend but rather the future.
I can’t live without my toaster. A slice of toast with a cup of tea is still the most elegant, timeless and satisfying thing on earth.
I seldom enjoy eating out; I much prefer cooking at home. But when I do end up eating out, I’ll always pick an Indian restaurant because it’s the one thing I can’t cook and that I don’t even want to learn. Leave it to the masters, I say.
The second season of Die Nataniël Tafel airs at 7.30pm on KykNET every Tuesday until 7 January 2014.