We are graced with a fine number of skilled chefs in Cape Town and it is truly fantastic to see them embracing wild foraged ingredients in their own fare. I am by no means a chef myself, but can see the differences in style between these maestros from preparation through to plating. A new series I’m kicking off on this blog is to feature these chefs and how they use local wild mushrooms.
The first chef that comes to mind is Matt Manning, an individual who doesn’t need much introduction when talking about great food in Cape Town. Having perfected his trade in some of London’s finest restaurants, the private chef has worked under some of the biggest names in the global industry. His monthly One Ingredient dinners are a guaranteed treat for the senses and just a few months ago we teamed up to do the One Ingredient Mushroom Menu, a 5-course meal that incorporated foraged mushroom varieties such as turkey tail mushrooms, porcini, pine rings, slippery jacks, chicken of the woods and poplar boletes.
Excluding the naturally-sweet candy cap and amethyst deceiver mushrooms, I would have not imagined that porcini could have a place in dessert, but I was wrong. One of the finest desserts I have ever eaten was prepared by Matt in the form of Porcini Sweetie Pie, a wondrous take on the South African sweet classic. Included in this dish was Porcini Frozen Yoghurt, my new favouite fro-yo flavour. More recently he also created Porcini Caramel Ice Cream which was outstanding.
I admire Matt’s hands-on style when it comes to cookery. The One Ingredient dinners are always fun and always interactive, and it was here where he taught me how to make the perfect wild mushroom risotto. It involves a lot of love and butter 🙂