Although Chefs Who Share focuses on the skills and passions of the 4 young Chefs, it is Chef Craig who guides them to culinary glory. Acting as the wise team leader, Chef Craig, the Executive Chef of Unilever Food Solutions, brings his many years of experience to the show and helps the ambitious Chefs to think out the box, to manage time effectively and to control stress and anxiety when things get real. There is nothing Chef Craig hasn’t done, and there is no problem he can’t help with. Let’s get to know him more!
Oh, gosh let me think. I started my career in 1984. How long it that? Thirty-five years! I’m an old man! (Laughs)
I began my career with a three-year internship at a hotel, combining practical and theoretical learning. From there I worked at a variety of hotels in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban. I also spent a few years working in Austria before finally settling at Unilever Food Solutions.
The passion. For me it’s also the joy of giving back – seeing young Chefs flourish and learn new things. I also love the instant gratification of being a Chef. You make good-looking food for 500 people and the recognition is instantaneous. That makes me happy.
The working hours. You’re working long, long hours when the rest of your family and friends are off work. As a Chef, your days off are often when other people are working. So that can be tough.
I have to say meeting Nelson Mandela. I couldn’t believe how humble he was. He just brought this sense of peace and calm. If I had gone through what he had gone through, I would have been bitter and angry. But he wasn’t at all. He was an incredible man and I was honoured to meet him.
I love being a part of it. It’s an amazing platform for these young Chefs to prove themselves. It’s also great for us watching to see how the millennials think – what their ideas are. I think everyone can learn from this show.
A lot of people want to be Chefs, but when they realise the long working hours involved, many of them leave the profession. We have a responsibility to show them that they can have a beautiful career in the culinary industry. We have a responsibility to mentor them through the hard times, so they can achieve their dreams.
I do! I cook all the time at home. I find it so relaxing. I cook with a glass of wine or a beer and just unwind from the day.
You know, food doesn’t have to be complicated. Sometimes the simplest dishes are the best dishes. Think of a bangers and mash with a beautiful gravy. That for me is delicious food.