Michael chats to Andy Fenner

Andy Fenner

Andy Fenner

Andy Fenner would be the first to proclaim that he is not a Chef, though his passion for  meat is equivalent to some of the finest Chefs I have known or had the pleasure of working with.  He has been a friend for a number of years and the most exciting thing for me has been watching him grow, his knowledge, his stature in the food industry, creating the ideal place for people to buy the best, most ethically produced meat – his Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants is the ‘go to’ place for chefs concerned about ethical eating.  With his friend David Cope, they opened the Publik Wine Bar on the same premises – now a stop off point for fine wine lovers looking for the unusual. His impartiality and again deep knowledge of food has made him a much respected judge for the annual Eat Out Awards.

What do you like to eat most?
Well, weirdly it’s not just meat. People assume I walk around with a steak in my pocket but I love seafood and vegetables. I like to eat food that is produce-driven as opposed to technique-driven. Give me something seasonal and cooked properly and I’m happy.

Andy Fenner's hands

Andy Fenner’s hands

What’s your least Favourite Food?
See above. Anything overworked and fiddly for the sake of it is not my scene.

Do you have a childhood, Mom or Gran food memory?
I remember walking through our garden with my Mom. She picked a Nasturtium and ate it. I was tiny and – at the time – it blew my mind that you could actually just do that. I tried it with a few plants but most of them weren’t great! Some of them were though and it was a pretty good day when I discovered mulberries. Looking back it’s a miracle I didn’t poison myself.

What’s your favourite dish you are cooking now?
I go through stages but right now the dish that my wife, Nicole, and I eat at least once a week is a mussel, monkfish and fennel broth. It’s very light and – assuming you have a good stock on hand – it can be done and dusted in less than 30 minutes. Nicole introduced me to this one; she is a brilliant cook.

Andy Fenner working a prime piece of grass fed beef

Andy Fenner working a prime piece of grass fed beef

Favourite cooking tools?
I don’t really have too many gadgets. Our KitchenAid blender gets a lot of time on the workbench though. I have tons of knives too…the I.O.Shen is probably my favourite.

What is your favourite eatery?
Impossible question! Every restaurant serves a purpose. Right now if you said I had one meal left in Cape Town I’d probably take a walk to Chef’s Warehouse. I’m a massive Liam Tomlin fan.

Always in your fridge or pantry at home?
Buffalo milk yoghurt, limes, avo, Sriracha sauce, green tea

Andy & Nicole Fenner, not normally this serious

Andy & Nicole Fenner, not normally this serious

Talent you would like to have?
I wish I could draw. I love illustrations.

What is your Desert Island Disc?
We download music now Michael! I’d have to make sure I have my iPod with me when the plane goes down, as I have pretty diverse tastes.

Thanks, Andy I wanted one song – needed a feel for your taste in music!

Your current bedside book?
I’m reading Cooked by Michael Pollan and White Tiger by Aravind Adiga. I just wrapped up the Donna Tartt series and I will always have a few mags like FOOL and Lucky Peach around.

Last movie you saw?
The last GOOD movie I saw was CHEF. I think the insights into a chef’s mind and the relationship between chefs and food writers was very relevant.

Favourite TV Series?
The Killing. Breaking Bad. House of Cards.

You get real sausages from FFMM

You get real sausages from FFMM

Fictional Character with whom you identify?
Max Fischer in Rushmore, by Wes Anderson. Max is super ambitious but fails at academics which he sees as useless compared to other activities, where he excels. I found studying from a textbook spectacularly boring and dropped out of Stellenbosch, where I was studying Economics. I managed to talk myself into an advertising school where they registered me as a post-grad and I absolutely loved that. Max seems to want to make a difference in everything he touches, which is ultimately what I try and do. Often this desire to impress is interpreted as selfish or arrogant, words that I’ve definitely heard to describe me! I am not a wallflower and I am not universally likable. I will polarize opinion which I am comfortable with.

One guest for dinner – who would that be?
I’d love to crack a few beers and hang out with Jimmy Fallen. That dude is funny.

I’m currently working on….
Next steps for Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants. We are looking at JHB opportunities, expansion in Cape Town, a possible site in the winelands and one or two collaborations with a few local chefs. It’s exciting.

My favourite weekend getaway is….
Elgin. Every time I’m there I promise myself I’ll go more often. The wineries are awesome, there are some rad accommodation spots and it’s so close. I have said for ages that I really wish one of our best chefs would take the plunge and open a restaurant out there. I think it could be the next big thing for the SA food scene if it caught on.

Guilty Pleasures?
Peanut butter M&Ms, tea and rusks, Ster Kinekor popcorn – obviously with the vinegar flavouring.

One day, I will….
Be making a difference in the meat industry, by challenging major retailers and factory farming.

Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants
81 Church Street, Cape Town, 7700, South Africa
Phone: [021] 424 7204
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