People always ask me when I’m bringing out a cookbook. It’s kind of what you do when you’re a chef: Work crazy hours, build a reputation, bring out a cookbook, buy an island and retire. So here it is. My first cookbook. It might not be the cookbook you’re expecting, but it tells snatches of the story of my culinary journey. There are some classic Overture recipes in these pages. It also has some recipes that have travelled everywhere with me, from kitchen to kitchen, in my career. Here and there are dishes that made me want to be a chef. Mostly, though, this book is about memories. Cooking for me is as much about memory as it is about the plate of food. For me, recipes are a sort of map of where I come from, what I’ve been doing or experiencing. My fine dining recipes and the stuff I cook at home draw on the personal and cultural memories of an Afrikaans kid who didn’t eat his vegetables. It’s also about how I continue to make food memories all the time, immersing myself in the cultural diversity of South African cuisine. Homegrown is about how my Ma’s melk tert recipe inspired one of the most popular desserts at Overture. It makes the connection between fishing with my dad when I was a kid, and how I respect and work with seafood today. It looks at how the new trend of live fire cooking is old hat in the shisanyamas of working-class South Africans and what they can teach the world about flavour. Those flavours, smells and memories of growing up in South Africa make me the cook I am. They make me Homegrown.
Highly acclaimed South African Chef, Bertus Basson is famed for the phenomenal success of Overture, a restaurant he has had an integral part in establishing as one of the finest in South Africa in his position as a chef and owner since 27. Homegrown is his highly anticipated cookbook.