Mareli Erasmus is the Head Pastry Chef at the Delaire Graff Restaurant at the top of the Helshoogte Pass, looking down the Banghoek Valley. I have been fortunate enough to taste her wares, to meet her and to be enchanted. I asked her a few questions.
Where did you train as a chef?
Institute of Culinary Arts, Stellenbosch
What do you like to eat most?
Absolutely anything Asian with loads of coriander
What’s your least Favourite Food?
Bananas – the texture puts me off, but I love making desserts with them.
Do you have a childhood, Mom or Gran food memory?
To this day I don’t know where I got my love for cooking? My mom hates it and my gran was a nurse and so health conscious that she only ever steamed food.
What is your morning routine?
I cherish my sleep A LOT, so I wake up 15 min before I need to leave and then have coffee at work.
From where do you draw your inspiration?
Seasonality and eating at other good restaurants.
What’s your Favourite Dish you are cooking now?
My Guinness and Amarula dessert. The flavours are intricate yet amazingly tasty and it looks beautiful on the plate.
Your favourite Cooking Tools
My sugar thermometer. My life depends on it.
What is your ideal neighbourhood eatery?
South China Dim Sum Bar in Long street.
Always in your fridge at home?
Wine, chocolates, cheese, milk and some more wine, especially Delaire Graff Summercourt Chardonnay.
Name food items you would take to a Desert Island?
Spicy Dorito’s, Bacon, Lindt chocolates, coffee, whiskey and crackers.
What is your Desert-Island Disc?
A mixed tape with some Eminem, Stonesour and Alanis Morrissette.
Your most Underrated Wine?
Diemersdal Sauvignon Blanc – HEAVENLY!!
Your craziest Wine or Food or Equipment Purchase?
I went to go and eat at a Swiss pop-up restaurant and spent R2000 on a meal. Totally worth it though.
Saturday night after service tipple?
An ice cold beer and an episode of Shameless.
Your key Wardrobe Item?
My granny jersey – Goes with anything and is super comfortable.
Talent you would like to have?
Hip-hop dancing – don’t laugh
Bees in your Bonnet?
Itching to go overseas sometime in the near future.
I once accidentally dropped a 5 litre container of cocoa powder in the dry store. I have never in my life spent so my life spent so much time on cleaning than I did that day.
Who is your Music Man/woman?
Too many to name…
Fictional Character with whom you identify?
Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh
One guest for dinner – who would that be?
Routine after lunch or dinner service?
A shower has never felt so good as after an intense service. After that I need to put my feet in the air for a bit.
I’m currently working on….
A new chocolate dessert since people seem addicted to chocolate and usually the most requested item on a dessert menu.
My favourite weekend getaway is….
To camp in the bush with no cellphone reception and good food.
A KFC burger every now and then
One day, I will…. Own my own shop where I will bake wedding cakes.
How do guests contact the Restaurant?
Please contact our reservations team at firstname.lastname@example.org or 021 885 8160
Read more about Delaire Graff, its Sublime wines, The Lodges and and and – click here