HE'S worked in some of South Africa and London's finest restaurants, but executive chef Charles Hayward, who is now with the Views Boutique Hotel and Spa at Wilderness, likes to keep his dishes fresh and unpretentious.
"My favourite dish to prepare is a whole fish baked in a sea salt crust. So simple and so tasty.
"Food allows for fresh ingredients to be transformed into multifaceted dishes of various flavours and colours for the pure unpretentious reason of sustenance. Much like a painter of the canvas and the beholder."
What first attracted you to a career in the catering and food trade?
Got into the industry by chance 12 years ago and just never looked back.
How did you go about training?
I studied at Warwick's chef school in Hermanus in the Overberg.
With summer around the corner, what is going to be the "fashionable food" at your establishment this season?
Fresh seafood will take the main stage.
A good friend, partner or close family member is celebrating a special occasion and you've been asked to prepare a dinner. What would you serve?
I would serve my signature stone fruit salad with buffalo milk mozzarella, and for mains a rare venison loin of springbok seasoned with garlic and wild rosemary, served with pumpkin gratin and a rocket, pomegranate salad.
For dessert, some souskluitjies (dumplings in cinnamon sauce) with lots of cinnamon and homemade apricot preserve.
Please describe one of your most amazing dining out experiences.
Last week I had dinner at Café de la Motte (in George) and had the best gourmet burger in South Africa! So we don't need to travel that far.
What are the essentials to making that out-of-this- world meal?
Keep it simple and source good local ingredients.
What is one of your own favourite meals to enjoy with family?
A good old Sunday spread.
When you were a child, what was the best food you enjoyed?
Must be my mum's mac and cheese.
What makes you passionate about your career?
Food allows me to be creative ... !
What is one of your more simpler, foolproof recipes?
SOFT CENTRED CHOCOLATE PUDDINGS
200g good chocolate (don't skimp here, you'll be sorry!)
200g castor sugar
200g real butter
6 whole eggs
Melt all the chocolate, butter and sugar together au bain marie (over a hot water bath, not direct heat – the chocolate will burn)
Now add and fold in (with spatula) the eggs one at a time until combined. Don't whisk!
Now fold in the flour – and the mix is done.
Grease ramekins with butter and dust with cocoa powder, now fill with 120g of mixture and bake at 200°C in a preheated oven for nine minutes.
Let the chocolate puddings rest for a minute and turn out and serve with fresh berries!