A Day Out with Chef Sam

Passion. Flavour. Love

When I first met Sam Lynch, better known as Chef Sam, I was collecting my daughters 1st birthday cake at her house – I was greeted at the door by a lady wearing elephant slippers, her daughter sitting quietly by the TV and it felt like home, I immediately felt like sitting down and having a cup of tea.

If there is any one that you know that is passionate about food – they have nothing on Chef Sam, she eats and breaths food, living by the motto Passion, Flavour, Love!

Chef Sam has seen and done it all from large fine dining catering to boutique coffee shops, spreading her passion, flavour and love to all that have the privilege of meeting her.

The second time I met Chef Sam was before interviewing her for this piece and for some reason I was nervous but she reminded me of the elephant slippers and with a reminiscing giggle I was at ease again with her.

Ordering a simple coke and mushroom risotto we got chatting like good old friends catching up – who would have thought?

When and where did you start cooking and baking?

“I started cooking eight years ago and only started making cakes in May 2010, on Mother’s Day to be exact! I have been making novelty cakes since May 2010, when I happened upon an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ themed catering job. Being one of my favourite childhood stories, I couldn’t resist! The order was for canapes, as well as cakes and I tried it out and was hooked from then on.

After completing the Advanced Food and Wine course at the Culinary Academy in Cape Town, I went to London.

I gained most of my experience in England as I was exposed to a variety of culinary worlds, it also brought me out of my shell, I was such a quiet, almost sheepish girl and the personal and professional growth that came from it was something I will cherish. Having the chance to work at these various establishments has enabled me to build confidence in the trade, get a feel for the immense possibilities that awaited me, and allowed me to establish a sense of self within my skill.”

What is your fondest childhood memory?

I remember being at my friend’s mom’s house and taking almost every single ingredient and mixing all together in the garden… and then eating it!

What is your worst culinary experience?

I wouldn’t say it’s the worst but certainly the most bizarre! I was working at Hillcrest, we were in the middle of a function for 60 people. We had just gotten the food in the ovens and suddenly there was a power cut! Quick thinking… I grabbed one of the waitresses to help me, and sneaking out the back door; we carted all trays to my car and zoomed off to my mother-in-law’s house to cook the food there.

We managed to get everything done, and on time.

What is your most memorable experience?

Having the opportunity to work in Buckingham Palace – that was something I will never forget.

What book are you reading at the moment?

Ha ha ha! I don’t have time to read books … so the last thing I read was my utility bill.

An insider’s tip for upcoming chefs?

Be yourself, be 100% sure that this is what you want to do as it’s not always as glamorous as it sounds, it’s a humbling job as people that you don’t know praise you for your work, it’s flattering but can quickly go to your head so stay grounded.

What sets you apart from other chefs?

I live every day by my motto and I put a lot of myself in every single piece that I create, everything that goes out my door was started and molded by me and I take great pride in it. I use my cake as artworks, I am a perfectionist at heart and I aim for every novelty cake to be different from any other, and I like to add lots of personality to the characters I create.

If you aren’t in the kitchen, where would one find you?

Either in the garden with my husband and my family or if I had an art studio I would be there – I love being creative, it’s in my blood, everything I see in the world inspires me.

How do you juggle being a mom and chef?

With great difficulty but with lots and lots of late nights I make it work, it’s a struggle working from home as my children see me at home and are yet too young to understand that I am working but I am in the process of building an extension to my house so that I can have my own space, which will make life easier for everyone involved. My cakes are also my therapy.

Who would you share a kitchen with for a day?

It would definitely be Heston Blumenthal – he uses scientific elements in his cooking which I enjoy doing!

What is your favourite cake that you have ever made?

It has to be the Hello Kitty cake I made for a little girl by the name of Emily – I loved the detail of it, every little piece was perfectly made, I almost didn’t want it to leave my kitchen.

For your perfect cake for any occasion don’t look any further than Chef Sam’s kitchen.

By Tammy Tinline

Chef Sam
www.chefsam.co.za | sam@chefsam.co.za |+27 (0)82 431 7569 | Join Chef Sam on Facebook

Be sure to check out Chef Sam’s Hard Butter Biscuit Recipe.

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