Ottolenghi on steroids, with a sense of humour and a bit of a Kitchen Confidential vibe – it’s brash, bold, boozy and it roars.
Duncan Welgemoed’s approach to food is fearless, take-no-prisoners, bold and exciting. He cooks African-inspired vegetables, grilled and smoked meats, flatbreads, pickles, ferments, vegan-inspired desserts and serves cocktails and natural wine.
The food and the experience he recreates links directly back to his South African birthplace, Johannesburg and if his multi-awarded, South Australian-based restaurant Africola was a type of music, it would be a full-on mash-up of Kwaito meets Euro pop meets black metal.
Duncan’s words aren’t pretty, and he’s refreshingly honest about the highs and lows of his industry and the people within it, delivering home truths for cooks and chefs alike. These recipes include an amazing array of meats, as well as seafood and a slew of intensely flavourful, veg-forward dishes. There is also a culinary encyclopaedia of ferments, condiments and pickles – adding richness and complexity to any dish – along with a solid pastry section and a bunch of ridiculous cocktails.
The food is all about using sustainably sourced, low -impact-on-the-earth ingredients (carefully sourced meats, fish, vegetables, grains, pulses, seaweed, algae, shellfish) to create dishes that have big, powerful flavours, are punchy, bold, butch and that ‘open another box in your palate and in your mind’.
The range of recipes covers vegetarian and vegan; full-on South African meat dishes cooked on fire, in embers and ashes, in ovens and cast iron pots; ferments, dips, pickles and sauces that are good for the gut and good on the palate; South African inspired vegan desserts.
Expect to find recipes for peri peri chicken; roast rib of beef with pap (polenta); wood-roasted sardines with poached plums; charcoal prawns with preserved pumpkin; kingfish muamba (crudo) with pickled kohlrabi; prawns grilled with kombu butter; firepit sausages; squid with seaweed tapenade; bush meats (charcuterie) with smoked oysters; boom chakalakka (radicchio-based kimchi pickles); caramelised corn kernels with white chocolate and hazelnuts – and a soundtrack to accompany the food.
About the Author
South African by birth, Duncan was head chef at The Goose at Britwell Salome, Watlington, Oxford when it was awarded a Michelin star in 2005 and has also worked at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons. In early 2010, he arrived in South Australia and opened Africola in 2014. Over the years, Duncan has become Adelaide’s (un)official spirit animal – mythical beast, troublemaker, conversation starter. His latest restaurant, Africola, tells a story close to his heart. It has since been awarded 4.5/5 Australians by The Australian’s food editor John Lethlean, featured in countless magazines, newspapers and TV shows around the world and frequented by rockstars and celebrities alike. Business partner, James Brown, runs a design agency and has designed the interiors of several iconic venues including Sydney’s Harpoon Harry, Bali’s Motel Mexicola (the most instagrammed hotel in the world) and Melbourne’s Hotel Jesus. Together, they are a formidable creative force. Foreword by Marco Pierre White.