Taste Shapers Johnny & Marius

Micky Hoyle
Pop-up dinners and catering with a creative bent are the currency of these Cape Town-based cooks. Johnny Hamman and Marius Uys might be called celebrities, having blazed across local television screens as particularly likeable contestants – and then winner and runner-up respectively – of the wildly popular Kokkedoor food show’s second season. Yet they’re a whole lot more down to earth than that. While the two have markedly different tastes and influences (haute cuisine for Johnny, Slow Food for Marius), they have enough in common to have joined forces as business partners. Based in a delightful surprise of a space in Gardens, Cape Town, Slippery Spoon Kitchen caters for private dinners and special occasions, and once a month offers a pop-up restaurant with an exotic theme and setting, reflecting how Johnny and Marius are both seriously inspired by travel. Expect things to be done with flair and aplomb – with ‘loads of wow factor’, as Johnny puts it. What did you want to be when you were little? A priest – lol (Johnny); a vet (Marius). What tastes remind you of your childhood? Fish paste on toast (Johnny); spaghetti Bolognese (Marius). What is always in your pantry? Sesame oil – it turns any boring meal into magic (Johnny); mayonnaise, especially (Japanese) Kewpie mayo (Marius). If you were a drink, what would you be? Gin and tonic made with local Inverroche Amber Gin – one of the best drinks ever to have passed my lips (Johnny); vanilla milkshake – even though I don’t drink milk. In fact, I despise it, but I’ll never refuse a vanilla milkshake, even for breakfast (Marius). What’s for supper tonight? Lemon roasted chicken with cos lettuce and Kewpie mayonnaise (Johnny); lamb chops and braaibroodjies next to the pool (Marius). Your most memorable meal? Mussel pot on the beach. We went mussel picking with a bottle of white wine, garlic, an onion, salt and pepper, a fresh baguette, and a black potjie. I’ll never have a better meal in my life (Johnny); in Zanzibar, giant prawns on the fire with locals on the beach, with no additions but salt and pepper (Marius). Can’t live without? Good quality butter (Johnny); my stainless-steel kitchen tongs (Marius). Most used recipe book? Heston Blumenthal at Home – his marshmallows are the best (Johnny); Kook & Geniet for pancakes and Sunday morning flapjacks (Marius). Favourite sandwich filling? Bacon and banana (Johnny); fig and cheese (Marius). Your ultimate breakfast? Poached eggs, hash browns, bacon, hollandaise (Johnny); French toast with maple syrup and fresh berries (Marius). I won’t eat… afval (Johnny); I truly eat anything (Marius). Weirdest thing you have ever eaten? My brother lives in Scotland and made me try haggis in a pub one night. Never again (Johnny); in Asia, I ate a bunch of weird things but I can never remember the names. Let’s just say most of the time I was too scared to ask (Marius). Who are your foodie icons? Jacques Erasmus and Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen (Johnny); Hetta van Deventer Terblanche (Marius). What’s your signature dish? Honey-roasted figs with blue-cheese candyfloss (Johnny); oxtail potjie with sourdough dumplings (Marius). Favourite ice-cream flavour? Avocado (Johnny); English toffee (Marius). Food smells you love? Frying onions (Johnny); freshly baked bread (Marius). Absolute food weakness? Southern fried chicken drumsticks (Johnny); Chinese steamed buns (Marius). Favourite foodie destination in the world? Australia (Johnny); Hong Kong (Marius). Favourite luxury ingredient? Duck fat (Johnny); truffles (Marius).