Nicole Dupper has been delighting guests with her innovative food style for over 20 years. She made magic in the kitchen at Bushman’s Kloof and was the fouding chef at Bartholomeusklip, a guest lodge in Hermon, where she created the most sumptuous afternoon teas for arriving guests. Her dinners and breakfasts guests would remember years later. Latterly she has been consulting at Casa Labia in Muizenberg and is again a founding chef of a truly delightful restaurant in Somerset West called Imibala. Here, her menu features some of the dishes for which she made her name, with an eclectic wine list, and a vibrant deli filled with fresh fruits and vegetables and a variety of pickles, preserves and other culinary potions.
Next door to the restaurant is The Imibala Gallery with its ever changing exhibitions featuring South African Artists.
I spoke to Nicole…
Where did you train as a chef?
For three years from 1987 to 1990, at the Hotel School Cape Town that was part of Cape Technikon.
What do you like to eat most?
A good homemade pasta, something simple but fresh
What’s your least Favourite Food?
Do you have a childhood, Mom or Gran food memory?
Family meals were always a highlight, getting the whole extended family together, weekly for a special meal where we all got involved in preparing. A lot of thought and preparation went into these meals.
From where do you draw your inspiration?
I get inspiration from seasonal fresh produce available, I start to create all kinds of dishes. I can remember planning menus with Leigh Barty from the Gardeners cottage and we would both start salivating. I love paging through recipe books and magazine and pick up ideas and create dishes.
What’s your favourite dish you are cooking now?
All our lamb dishes with the best lamb coming from the Karoo farms, our lamb loin salad with grilled aubergine, tatziki, crumbled feta, fresh dill and mint and a squeeze of lemon, curing trout and thinly slicing with hot potato cakes and horseradish creme fraiche( coming onto the winter menu)
Your favourite Cooking Tools?
I cant do with out a sharp knife, big stock pots, and a simple pasta machine
Always in your fridge at home?
Lemons, chilli, fresh herbs, butter, parmesan.
Your craziest Wine or Food or Equipment Purchase?
Eating at some of Gordon Ramsays restaurants in London. Being taken to the River Café when it first openened in London and eating the best ever pasta with wild rocket and parmesan simple and delicous.
Saturday night after service tipple?
Glass of good red wine
If someone complains after they have left the restaurant, I always like to try and have guests leaving happy.
Your key Wardrobe Item?
At this stage my chefs uniform
Talent you would like to have?
Being able to make my own charcuterie.
Bees in your Bonnet?
No shortcuts to making a good plate of food, using classic cooking skills and the best quality farm fresh ingredients.
To create a memorable experience which satisfies all the senses.
Who is your Music woman?
Any recipe book
One guest for dinner?
My boys who love cooking!!!!
Routine after lunch or dinner service?
To thank my team who work with me, to give feedback
An afternoon sleep which I seldom get.
Imibala Restaurant & Deli
18 Bright Street
Telephone 021 851 2364
Currently open for Breakfast Monday to Saturday
Lunches on weekdays and Saturdays till 13h00