June 13, 2023

SONDELA ACADEMY: A LOOK INTO A CHEF’S JOURNEY


A heartfelt letter penned by two of Sondela Academy’s esteemed chefs, Jeanne Scheepers and Evert Fourie offering a glimpse into their thoughts on the profound joy and fulfillment one experiences when embarking on the journey of becoming a chef.

I hope this letter finds you in high spirits and in excellent health. As an avid reader and ardent supporter of the SA Chef Magazine, I felt compelled to share my thoughts on the profound joy and fulfillment one experiences when embarking on the journey of becoming a chef. The culinary world is a realm brimming with passion, creativity, and immense satisfaction. Allow me to shed light on the best parts of this remarkable profession, including a unique aspect that sets it apart from others—the engagement of all five senses.

Firstly, becoming a chef is a profession that immerses individuals in a sensory composition like no other. The act of cooking engages all five senses—sight, smell, taste, touch, and even sound. It is this harmonious interplay that elevates the craft of cooking to a truly multisensory art form.

When a chef enters the kitchen, their eyes become their first guide. The vibrant colours of fresh produce, the beautifully plated dishes, and the artful arrangement of ingredients create an awe-inspiring visual spectacle. Presentation is not merely an afterthought but an integral part of the culinary experience. Chefs meticulously curate each dish, paying attention to color contrasts, texture combinations, and visual appeal, creating culinary masterpieces that delight the eyes.

Next comes the aromas that permeate the kitchen and waft through the air. The enticing scent of herbs, spices, simmering sauces, and sizzling ingredients awakens the olfactory senses, stimulating memories and evoking emotions. A chef’s ability to harmonize different aromas and create aromatic profiles that tantalize the nose is a testament to their mastery of the culinary craft.

As the cooking process progresses, the sense of touch takes center stage. The chef’s hands become finely tuned instruments, capable of discerning textures, gauging the doneness of ingredients, and achieving the desired consistency in sauces, doughs, and delicate creations. The tactile experience of working with ingredients, kneading dough, and plating dishes adds a tactile dimension to the culinary art, allowing chefs to create food that not only tastes great but feels remarkable in the mouth.

Of course, the sense of taste is the pinnacle of the culinary experience. A chef’s palate becomes their ultimate guide, as they navigate a complex and intricate world of flavours. The ability to balance sweet, salty, sour, and bitter notes, to discern subtle nuances, and to create harmonious taste profiles is what distinguishes a chef’s creations. Each bite becomes an exploration of taste, an invitation to savour the intricacies of a dish crafted with utmost precision and care.

Lastly, there is an often overlooked sense—the sense of sound. In a bustling kitchen, the clatter of pots and pans, the sizzle of ingredients hitting a hot pan, the rhythmic chopping of vegetables, and the joyful banter among the kitchen team create a spectacular cacophony. These auditory cues not only provide a backdrop to the culinary process but also signal the progress of a dish and contribute to the overall sensory experience.

In conclusion, becoming a chef is a unique profession that engages all five senses, creating a truly immersive and sensory-rich journey. The mastery of flavour, the art of plating, the exploration of textures, and the symphony of sounds in the kitchen combine to form a multisensory experience that is unparalleled. It is this harmonious interplay of senses that elevates cooking to an art form and makes the journey of becoming a chef a truly extraordinary one. Criticize as a chef and editor 

Sondela Chefs

Jeanne Scheepers and Evert Fourie


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