If you can’t stand the heat, invite Charle Boshoff into your kitchen! Currently working as a private chef, Charle’s career as a culinary guru has brought her opportunities to travel the world. A girl after our own heart – a foodie and a traveler! Originally from South Africa she got her culinary start working with the Radisson hotel group. There, she climbed the ladder to become an executive chef, and since has worked at the executive level for other hotels and upmarket eateries in addition to owning her own restaurants. A world traveler, she also lived in Australia for four years and is now currently based in Dubai, with her job frequently requiring her to travel to the U.S. and Portugal.
Having grown up on a farm, her love for fresh, organic produce has been part of her lifestyle way before it became all the rage it is today. From her roots in farming to working as a private chef, this story has sustainaluxe written all over. So, you know the routine… grab your favorite beverage, find a cozy spot to curl up, and read on to learn more about Charle and her culinary lifestyle…
How long have you been a chef? I’ve been a professional chef for about 20 years now, but I started cooking at a very young age at my mother’s side. My siblings and I could cook a three-course meal by the age of thirteen. In my family food is a way of expressing love and unity.
Why did you choose to become a chef? I should say I chose this profession because I loved cooking food and experimenting when I was young, but my passion for travel actually had a lot to do with it too. I love to travel and it was one of the professions that allowed me to travel and work anywhere in the world. Everyone always needs to eat no matter where they are. Plus, I love to make people happy and food is one of the best mediums to do that.
Where did you go to culinary school? I went to culinary school in Johannesburg. The school specialized in French cuisine, Cordon Bleu style. French technique is one of the best foundations you can get in cooking and then you can build from that.
What is your favorite cuisine to cook? My favorite cuisine to cook is Italian as it’s all about fresh simple ingredients..and you can’t really go wrong with that.
Favorite shortcut when cooking? My favorite shortcut would have to be blanching vegetables as it keeps the freshness and crispness of the vegetable and it’s quick and easy to warm up with any type of flavoring – simply tossed with butter or a quick stir fry.
What types of kitchens have you worked in? Well, I am classed as an Executive Chef now, but I’ve had two of my own restaurants, opened three hotels, worked at a safari lodge, worked on Rovos Rail (a luxury train), managed and ran two boutique hotels, and did a bit of catering in my early years. Now I’m a private chef. So, basically all types of kitchens!
What do you do to stay educated about new trends? I believe in learning something new everyday, because being a chef is a non-stop learning experience. But, I would also say buying the latest cookbooks and magazines and conversing with fellow chefs to keep up to date as much as I can. Going out and eating is always a good indication of what is new and happening in the area you live in. Dubai is great for that.
What does sustainability mean to you? Sustainability means not being harmful to the environment or depleting natural resources in an effort to support a long-term ecological balance.
How do you channel sustainability into your everyday life? To be sustainable in my life I try not to take too much from the natural world. But since we live in a crazy time of consumerism I make an effort to use more sustainable approaches like recycling anything that can be recycled, buying from farmers markets and supporting the community by buying local.
How do you channel sustainability into food prep? In preparing food I like to use the freshest ingredients possible and try not to have too much packaging involved. I also like to have a compost bucket so it can go back into the garden. Having my own garden to grow herbs, tomatoes, or whatever is in season, is really self-sustaining as well. You can’t beat fresh produce that has come straight from your garden to your plate.
Talk to us about the buzz surrounding farm to table cooking. Is that a new concept for you or something you’ve always practiced? The farm to table concept, I think, has been with me since I was young. We had a farm so that has been the way my family has done things since I was a child. I am so glad the rest of the world is now joining in on this concept as it sustains the local community. I would rather support my neighborhood farmer than the conglomerate.
Describe an average day at work. On an average day at work I would first see if anyone would like something for breakfast, then I plan and compose a menu for lunch and dinner. I head to the store to go shopping for the ingredients that I will need. Then I get lunch ready for whomever is there. After that I have something to eat and then start the dinner prep. I do like to fit in exercise if I have a bit of spare time between meals, and I also like trying out new desserts.
What are your hours like? On a normal day I work around 13 hours, sometimes more sometimes less.
If you weren’t a chef what would you be? If I wasn’t a chef right now I would be some sort of Eco-warrior on a Greenpeace boat…but I really want to become an anthropologist, funny enough. That’s why I love traveling and meeting new cultures.
What is your favorite food to eat? My favorite food to eat is probably Vietnamese food because it’s fresh and healthy. But then again, I do love a good New York Pizza.
Favorite holiday destination? This is a hard question, but I wold have to say Bali at the moment.
What’s on your ipod? On my iPod I am listening to a Kygo album called Cloud Nine, Florence and the Machine and Massive Attack, the album called Protection. And, a random selection of jazz and blues. All of those are on repeat!
How do you like to unwind? On my day off I like to socialize with my friends and family, or just relax by the pool with a good book.
Early bird or night owl? Oh, I am a night owl for sure.
Any books on your nightstand? Yes, at the moment I have an autobiography on Coco Chanel.
Sweet or savory? What’s your favorite indulgence? I am a savory lady but I do like a piece of carrot cake now and then. My biggest indulgence would have to be a good bottle of red wine.
In last week’s post you spoke about a great summer salad you had prepared. Will you share the recipe with our readers? My pleasure! It’s easy and delicious.