Namibian Food as Inspiration for Connecting with One Another
“It is easy to create something incredible when you use the tools you have to make something inspired”
With eager anticipation Namibia has welcomed the follow on cook book by Antoinette de Chavonnes Vrugt, an ode to the art of food and yet again propelled by passion. After the great success of her first Namibian cook book “My hungry heart” Antoinette says that this book is “an older sister to my previous book that looks at the more traditional aspects of our Namibian culture through cuisine”
Travel News Namibia describes her pervious book as something that “Started as a dream and propelled by passion, Antoinette’s book of recipes is an ode to Namibia, a tribute to local produce and a celebration of good food from across the world.”
99FM’s MYD Art sat down with Antoinette to find out what we can expect in this her latest ode to Namibia and our food.
99FM’s MYD Art asked:
What inspires you about cooking and creating beautiful dishes?
“I love good food and cooking is an art but like any art you must know the rules in order to be able to break them. For me the art of the plate comes together when I first think things up in my head and then try them out on the plate. This process is about using the ingredients you have to change these ingredients into something new. It is easy to create something incredible when you use the tools you have to make something inspired. This process is therapy for me.”
What about food do you think inspires the creative in every one of us?
“The secret is that any two things together can actually be amazing. You only need two to make something amazing. It’s something many cultures like the Italians have mastered. Something creative doesn’t need to be complicated to be inspired.”
What about Namibian food inspires you?
“We, as Namibians, as very multi-cultural and have very multi-cultural food due to all of our influencers. From the German influence, to the farmers who will use only what they have available to them, to the Cape Malay influence, to our traditional food. I am influenced by all these elements, and this is what I believe is the essence of our food. When I am in my kitchen I am joined by Tina, a Damara woman I work with. Tina’s cultural heritage also influences what we make. This influence makes something incredible that wasn’t there before.”
“Something else I feel inspires me about Namibian food is the way in which we enjoy our food. Much like the Mediterranean way of eating, our meals are enjoyed slowly and with time. When we start a braai at 6pm we are usually only eating at 10pm, this way of enjoying and connecting over a meal is part of our culture.”
Tell us about your new book?
“This book took a very long time to come to life and in it I went back to basics, the older stuff, the more traditional recipes. To me, this process was about recording our traditional way of cooking for our future generations. Taking our traditions and highlighting our unique Namibian differences that make us who we are. This is beautiful because for example, my combining these differences together like when you use a Cape Malay recipe with Springbok, what you get is something unique, creative and beautiful. This is who we are.”
Where can we purchase a copy?
“You’ll find the new book at the Craft Centre, at Venture Publications, at leading bookstores and at Hentie Burger’s Gallery.”