Meet Durban Chef Peet Venter who has a passion for food and people

Galore SA/ October 25, 2022/ LIFESTYLE AND TRAVEL, LATEST NEWS/ 0 comments

Meet Peet Venter, a new chef lecturer at Capsicum Culinary Studio’s Durban campus. Venter – who lives in Morningside – has 23 years of experience, gained through working in various hotel and restaurant kitchens around South Africa.
 
A highly organised person – something which he prides himself on – Venter says he joined Capsicum because he “loves to share his knowledge with others” and “has a passion for food and people”. These are two things he believes are the biggest prerequisites for any chef to have.
 
Despite a hectic schedule settling into his new job in the first month, Venter took time to answer a few questions and give advice to those looking for a career in the culinary industry.
 
What do you think your key objective is at Capsicum?
To give the students an insight to what the industry has to offer, what they can expect when they graduate and make it easier for them to enter the hospitality workforce.
 
What advice will you give to the students?
To do research on as many subjects in the food industry as they can, use all their resources to their fullest and never stop learning. Knowledge is power and if you stop learning you start stagnating.
 
What advice do you have for anyone wanting a career in the hospitality industry?
Think carefully! It’s one of the hardest industries to work in with very long hours, little relaxation and a lot of pressure. You must have unbridled passion. Entering into the world of hospitality is a calling and if you are willing to put in the time and make the sacrifices you will succeed.
 
Who was your biggest food influence growing up?
One of my school teachers who encouraged me to follow my dreams of becoming a chef. Once I started training, I was influenced by chefs such as Marco Pierre White with his out of the box thinking and Anton Mosimann with his nouvelle cuisine and precise plating techniques.
 
What are you most proud of?
The fact that in my career I have shaped a good couple of chefs that have succeeded in their careers and made it to the top of their field. There is no bigger reward than for someone giving you credit for helping them set a good basis for their career.
 
Was there any career you considered other than being a chef?
If I didn’t make it as a chef, I wanted to be a game ranger.
 
What, in your opinion, are three of the latest food trends?
Exciting and unusual vegan dishes; classic desserts reinvented and the healthy eating movement.
 
What chef do you admire and why?
Gerard van Staden. He is a very well-rounded operator as he has a good knowledge of a wide range of cooking styles. He can hold his own in all departments in the kitchen
 
Name five things always in your fridge or pantry
Chicken, tomatoes, garlic, thyme and red wine.
 
What would be your last meal?
Norwegian salmon
 
Is there anything you do not eat?
Traditional tripe
 
If you had to cook dinner for five famous people, who would they be and what would you make them?
Nelson Mandela, Chuck Norris, Hansie Cronje, Francois Pienaar and Joost van der Westhuizen. I would serve seared salmon accompanied by sautéed asparagus drizzled with a lemon infused hollandaise sauce and paired with a chilled white wine.
 
Who is your favourite celebrity cook?
The inimitable Jenny Morris.
 
What is your personal motto?
“Every day is a good day, but some days are just better than others.”  I think that having a positive outlook on things makes life so much more enjoyable.
 
Finally – can you share with us an easy-to-make favourite recipe
 
In honour of World Pasta Day, which was on 25 October, here is my delicious go-to Chicken Alfredo.

Ingredients
680g chicken breast, cubed
500g cooked pasta (tagliatelle, penne, linguine etc)
2 tablespoons butter
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
10g fresh parsley
25g parmesan cheese, grated
 
For the sauce
2 tablespoons butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried basil
55g parmesan cheese, grated
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
 
Method
In a pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter then add the chicken pieces. Season with salt, pepper, oregano and basil and cook for 8-10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken and aside. In the same pan over medium heat, melt butter and add the garlic and cook until the garlic begins to soften. Add half the flour and stir until incorporated. Then add the rest of the flour and stir. Pour in the milk a little at a time, stirring well in between, until fully incorporated and the sauce begins to thicken. Season with salt, pepper, oregano and basil, and stir well. Add the parmesan cheese and stir until melted. Pour the sauce over the cooked penne pasta, add the chicken and combine. Garnish with parsley and extra parmesan.
 

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