5 minutes with Debbie Mc Laughlin of Hilda’s Kitchen at Groote Post, Darling…

Debbie McLaughlin of Hilda’s Kitchen on Groote Post Wine Estate, Darling

Debbie McLaughlin and her husband Shaun are a bit of a legend in Darling up the West Coast. I first encountered them staying overnight at their lodge in Darling, which sadly burned down to the ground a while back. However, I had the wonderful experience of eating her food at the Lodge for a wine launch one. She has the magic touch, I referred to her once as the Elizabeth David of the Cape. Unique flavour packed food beautifully and simply presented. Hilda’s Kitchen is named for Hildegonda Duckitt, the well known Cookery writer of the mid 19th Century.

Hilda’s Kitchen, Groote Post Wine Estate Darling

I spent 5 minutes with Debbie…

Where did you train as a chef?
Cordon Bleu school in JHB

What do you like to eat most?
My husband’s cooking

Debbie McLaughlin preparing Hilda’s West Coast Mussels in a white wine & cream sauce

What’s your least favourite food?

Do you have a childhood, Mom or Gran food memory?
Bangers and mash with peas!

What is your morning routine?
Coffee with my aunt – who is my ear!

From where do you draw your inspiration?
I’m a foodie at heart and have more cookbooks than anyone else on the planet!!

Poké bowl

What’s your favourite dish you are cooking now?
Bowl food – food for the soul

Favourite cooking tool?
A really sharp knife

Menu of The Marmalade Cat in Darling

What is your ideal neighbourhood eatery?
Marmalade Cat for pizza, every and I mean every Friday night. Great pizza and we solve a different world order problem every week. And I mean every week!!

5 items always in your fridge at home?
White wine, Darling Brew, Tonic water, Lemons…………….Oh, and chilli sauce!!

Name 6 food items you would take to a Desert Island?
Langoustines, Kotie Von Tonder’s  Darling mushrooms, Pringles, Butter and Maldon salt (and white wine)

What is your Desert-Island Disc?
Anything by ABBA (not kidding!!)

Groote Post Pinot Noir

Your most Underrated Wine?
Groote Post Pinot Noir

Your craziest equipment purchase?
The most expensive, over engineered juice extractor in the world.  It takes 5 minutes to produce a glass of juice, an hour to clean and another 5 hours to re-assemble!!

Saturday night after service tipple?
A delicious vodka and tonic lovingly poured by my husband.  More often than not it’s ready and waiting as the front door is opened.

Restaurant Peeve?
People who make a booking and run horribly late without having the manners to let the restaurant know

Vans – famous America footwear

Your key Wardrobe Item?
Jeans and my Vans

Talent you would like to have?
To be a hip-hop dancer

Debbie’s White Chocolate Cheescake

Bees in your Bonnet?
I hate people walking slowly at the airport. My family accuse me of airportitis.

Restaurant Memento?
A signed greeting from Madiba, who was a most happy guest.

Who is your Music person?
My husband and his band Blank

Deon Meyer – South African Crime Writer

Bedside Book?
The latest Deon Meyer – love a bit of skiet, skop en donner!!

Fictional Character with whom you identify?
Wonder Woman

Mo Salah – Liverpool Right Winger

One guest for dinner – who would that be?
Mo Salah – Egyptian footballer who plays for Liverpool.  Secretly in love with him.

Wine glasses draining

Routine after lunch or dinner service?
I wash the wine glasses myself. I know, but it’s a habit.

I’m currently working on….
My cookbook – been 10 years in progress.

My favourite weekend getaway is….
Yeah, yeah. No weekend getaway for me.  Although I’d choose Arniston if I had a weekend off

Debbie’s Guilty Pleasure – Wine Gums

Guilty Pleasures? 
Wine gums and Lindt Crème Brûlée chocolate

One day, I will….
Come out of the kitchen and engage with guests. Or not!!

How do guests contact the Hilda’s Kitchen?
Shaun 083 325 4148 or 022 4922825
Email – mclaughlin@worldonline.co.za

Read more about Groote Post – CLICK HERE


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