Midlands Foodie by Nikki brighton
Erica has been up since dawn making saffron, turmeric and coconut ice cream. Obviously, she loves to cook. “It is such a gorgeous golden colour, and I know it will taste great too” she grins. Erica is no ordinary cook – she is changing the world one delectable meal at the time and growing the herbs, salads, onions, garlic and greens she needs for her catering business right outside her door. “Sustainable, ethical, delicious food is my thing, and now I only cook vegetarian food.”
Erica wasn’t always vegetarian. Her journey started in the sea off New Zealand. “Suddenly, I was surrounded by dolphins, their clicking calls going straight through me. It was an incredible experience.” Knowing that dolphins are harmed in tuna fishing, she immediately stopped using tuna and soon afterwards all fish because of overfishing and shocking farming practices. “I felt that I couldn’t complain about the state of the planet if I was not doing my best to make it better.” As a chef she started to ask about the produce and use free range wherever possible. This didn’t always go down well with the restaurants she worked for as their focus was on profit. Eventually she stopped cooking commercially, horrified by food waste and over packaging.
Nowadays, Erica runs a vegetarian catering business in the Midlands and has a regular stall at the Karkloof Farmers Market, serving scrumptious, inspiring meals that happen to be extremely good for you too. “The reaction is always amazing,” she comments, “people are surprised that vegetables tastes so good and that there is such a diversity of interesting ways to use them.” Juicing is another passion and her customers love her interesting, healthy combinations. Naturally she only uses fruit and vegetables in season and is amused when asked for orange juice in the middle of summer, gently explaining that they are not in season then. She relishes every opportunity to spread the sustainable living message through her wholesome, home-made vegetarian food. “This is all part of a learning journey for many people. I am sticking to my guns even though some people tell me my business won’t succeed if I don’t compromise. I care that bears are starving because the wild salmon is overfished and no amount of profit can make up for that.”
For a taste sensation (and a little bit of learning) look out for Erica’s pop up restaurants, her foodie stalls and juicing demos – you will be delighted you did.
Erica: 071 031 0182