Tag Archives: cook

Hayden with his surf board

Sun’s Out, Surf’s Up!

I must say, Durban’s a place that suits me pretty well. There are more beaches than you can possibly surf in a week. There’s sun and warmth enough to wear thongs (flip flops), exclusively.

And then there’s the flavour that you look for when you want to spice things up.


It seemed a very appealing, and appropriate, destination in which to film our final episode of Hayden Quinn South Africa. Not to mention a fun one. We’d basically not even unpacked at the hotel before we headed off to the WaveHouse.

Here, some of the crew and I took our moment, and did final cheesy topless pose to mark our final episode (see below!!!). I could’ve stayed there all day – but I was dying to check out some cool cucumbers that I’d read about being grown, sustainably, in Durbs.


We headed to Qutom Farm, and it was great to see their use of solar panels, rainwater and other high tech techniques, that keep this farm green. And the cucumbers? They were pretty green too!
I headed into the city, to  Victoria Street Market. Here I learned how to recreate the ultimate bunny chow. To add a healthy twist to the meal, I whipped up a sambal salad (with my freshly picked cucumbers!). I then had to find the legends who were rumoured to live off bunny chow, while maintaining their perfect six packs: the lifeguards.


Having been a lifeguard myself, this was a really great experience for me. Though the lifeguard systems in South Africa and Australia are slightly different, the stories are similar – and so is the fitness!!! To keep in line with this, I prepared the lifeguards a tasty WWF SASSI Green List  hake curry. We shared it, swapped stories, and had a laugh along the way. The crew ate whatever was left after the scene was shot.


It was cooking!


Learning the ropes

Hayden preparing curry, behind the scenes

Getting hungry for some curry!

Hayden with the lifeguards

Feeling at home!

Hayden with his surf board

Surf’s up!

Hayden in Zulu attire

The Rhino Reality

I’ve always had a huge appreciation for the rhino. However, not being native to the African continent, I never fully understood just how dire the rhino poaching issue in South Africa was, until I saw it for myself. Through this scary reality of poaching, I saw die-hard positivity. I saw volunteers, organisations and funding to look after rhinos, assess stocks and better understand the risks to these amazing creatures. I saw people tracking and monitoring rhinos, from the ground to the air.

I was even lucky enough to meet up with these passionate people and get a hands on appreciation for what they do. I was inspired by these incredible men and women who work around the clock to protect one of South Africa’s biggest assets.


And when I saw these magnificent animals larger-than-life from the ground and small-and-distant from the air, I was hooked. Rhinos really shock you by their size, their beauty and even just by the way they move. And of course by the fact that they look like modern-day dinosaurs! I just love them.

That night our hosts at Ghost Mountain Inn treated the crew and me to a slap-up dinner. It was nice to be able to put the cameras away and to enjoy, especially after a long day of filming.

I moved from nature to culture, and explored the old set of the television series Shaka Zulu (which has just recently started a re-broadcast on SABC 3 prime time), and through this, got a taste for the Zulu culture. I even took part in stick-fighting! That was awesome (although my skills left a lot to be desired!). Apparently if you get married, the different warriors from each family fight to ‘get to know each other’. I loved that too.
It was so much fun, we wrapped it all up with a little bit of Zulu style dancing! (And wow – did the crew laughed at my clumsy attempt!)


Hayden and the Zulu Kingdom

I felt under-dressed.

Hayden in Zulu attire

My friend over there was calling me pasty – what!!

Hayden and Etienne in the helicopter

Guardians in the sky

Hayden experiencing rhino conservation

Rhino watch.

Hayden in a helicopter


Hayden cooking on top of the Randlord's building in Jozi

Sharp-sharp, Soweto!

Okay guys let me introduce you to my favourite South African word: “sharp”. As in, “sharp-sharp!” meaning hello, goodbye, or just to show you’re amped for something – especially if you’re bordering on the same excitement levels that I was when we visited Soweto.

And yes. Soweto is one of the sharpest places in SA if you ask me!!!

I met with Lebo, of Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers, and we cruised around Soweto by bike. Now, if you’re ever in Jo’burg and have a couple of hours free – Soweto’s where it’s at. I mean even the old cooling towers had been jazzed up to fit the vibe and display the passions of the people of Soweto! Lebo took to me to Vilakazi Street, which is probably the most inspirational street in the world. Honestly, how can one street have been the home of two Nobel Laureates?!
We also passed kids playing soccer, shabeens, and loads of little restaurants and bars. Seeing all of this I felt extremely honoured to be shown around by one of Soweto’s very own.
I felt part of it.

From the inner-city Soweto to the outskirts of Jozi I continued to feel part of it when we visited the Swartkop Valley Primary Farm School, who form part of the EduPlant project. They grow their own food, with a basis on permaculture, and of course educate – not only the children – but also the local community so that they can use the skills of growing their own food at home. It was so great to see how keen some of the kids were at gardening. We used their skills (and their carrots), and threw together an awesome chicken mayo and salad sarmie (love that word!!!). haha and there were smiles all round!

To top it off, I was run off my feet by the kids in an epic soccer game. Haha!!!


Behind the camera photo

Lights…camera…I think you know where I’m going with this.

Hayden cooking on top of the Randlord's building in Jozi


Hayden poses with Chef Khumalo

Chef Khumalo and I

Food preparation


View of Johannesburg

Look at this beauty!

Hayden drinking a beer with the locals

These quarts’s mean business – enjoying a cold one in Soweto

Hayden crawling like a leopard

Leopards Never Change Their Spots

Leopards never change their spots.

It’s a saying, but seriously. Why would they? Their spots are gorgeous. Spotting a spotted leopard (redundant?) in their local spot was such a privilege. Even if it was only on a computer screen, just to know that these majestic animals are roaming the same paths and valleys and veld that we too can walk is a pretty special thing. As was Dr Quinton Martins’ knowledge on my favourite member of the Big Five (like when he pointed out that most spots on a leopard are in fact rosettes, not spots! Who knew?!). The expanse over which these animals roam, to me was incredible. It just brings to light how much of an impact we as humans have on their lives.

Hayden crawling like a leopard

Leopard crawll. Not even joking!!

Hayden looking at the leopard footage.

Looking at the leopard footage.

From my leopard crawling in the Gamkaberg Nature Reserve, we drove on to Prince Albert via the Swartberg Pass. And boy – is that pass impressive! I mean, it was built over a century ago, one of the longest walls is apparently 2,4km(!!!). The pass is still used today, and being a bit of a mountain pass lover haha I can safely say (‘scuse the pun) that this road, even though it is all dirt and gravel is really really well kempt and to me very safe; the hardest part is keeping your eyes on the road for all the incredible views!. I know it probably sounds mad to those of you who haven’t driven it before – but for those of you who have, you get it, right?! It really was an awesome part of our long drive north to Priska and its madness that that sort of pass exists, let alone has existed that way for over a century…!


The next day we headed for Prieska. At first, I thought – snap. It’s South Africa’s outback. But the next thing we were cooking a potjie with spice combinations I wasn’t even allowed to know, swimming in a pool with dogs, admiring Damara sheep (they have quite peculiar tails!!! Sheep in Aus don’t have tails), and listening to an accordionist! Oh, and the windpump broke (did you see that!!!).

Potjie pot

Potjie time!

Hennie and Hayden standing in front of a windpump

Hennie and me, making a potjie

That’s when I realised, we were definitely, definitely not in the Outback. It may look the same, and it may be filled with similar characters but all these characters had a different story to tell.
And that bizarre, crazy fun day really epitomised my trip so far. It showed me that when you’re inundated with culture and experience – well that’s just the beginning of it; you can become so overwhelmed and pleasantly surprised when traveling that you end up eating a potjie, listening to an accordionist, and about to be hailed on in the middle of nowhere in Prieska. And that that’s not only okay – but you couldn’t imagine anything better.

Sky, sunset and clouds

How beautiful?!

An elderly man playing the accordion

Oom Piet the accordionist

This is why I love travel, this is why I love food, and these are the reasons that I am falling in love with South Africa.

Crew in front of a sunflower field.

Crew, just chilling!




Hayden Quinn in a pink shirt

Hermanus Has It All

Hermanus really does have it all, doesn’t it? I mean, you see it as soon as you drive into the town. On the left, the Walker Bay vineyards. (Again. How many vineyards can one country have?! I don’t know how you all don’t drink wine all the time.) On the right, ocean.

In the middle, that small town vibe you come to love about Hermanus.


And on top of this all, just outside of Hermanus is the Klein River: a jaw-shatteringly pretty and quaint river. And I was supposed to cook there?! Luckily, I had renowned Stanford cook – Mariana Esterhuizen – who knew the river like the back of her hand, and could take me through her delicious duck breast dish.

Hayden Quinn boarding a River Rat pontoon

Come aboard the River Rat!

Hayden Quinn and local cook, in front of a river

Me and Mariana, on the Klein River

After polishing off my Spiced Apple and Meringue Eton Mess, we headed back to town, and I bought whale postcards that I hoped I could use as fake proof that I spotted some spouters. (In the Whale Watching Capital of the World, why am I the only one who didn’t spot a whale?! We even went back in Whale season and I still didn’t see any!!!!)

I also had a chance to explore the shoreline. I even braved a morning swim in the tidal pool in front of our hotel, signing off with a girly squeal as I jumped in – it was fresh!!!!. The day was overcast and the water was grey – but that only made the mountainous shoreline even more dramatic.

Hayden cooking on the Walker Bay coast

Being a coastal cook

And yes, Lars (the show’s director) forced me into a pink t-shirt.

A really tight, really pink one which he now happily owns. It did match the beautiful protea flowers of Gaansbaai, but still…that one had to stay in SA!!!!

Hayden Quinn in a pink shirt

How pink is this shirt???

Hayden and Etienne in Paternoster

Paternoster Gets Me

Paternoster Gets Me

When you’re travelling, you get to experience new places for the first time. These experiences are fresh, exciting and can even be jarring. And among all of the new, you find that some places feel inherently familiar. Some places suit you, and you suit them. You just get each other. These rare places make you feel relaxed; they make you feel at home.


That’s what I got from Paternoster.


Now I know you South Africans are used to your country, and I’ve promised in the past not to ramble on about its beauty too much, but you’ve got to be kidding me!!! Paternoster is picturesque to death! It really does remind me of a beautiful little Greek village: loads of nature, loads of sea, and loads upon loads of culture.


And it just got me.


You know when you smell the salty sea air, and it makes your veins pump – you just want to get out there? Now imagine loads of awesome wooden fishing boats (called “bakkies”) just waiting on the sandy shore; waiting to take you out fishing. Waiting to take me out. I hoped.


I approached some of the local fishermen, and not only did they offer to take me out, but they offered me overalls (green, to match my eyes, a crew member joked) to wear, a line to tug and a technique to master. They taught me how to catch Hottentots – it was so awesome!


With hooks full and tummies empty we (Pieter and Abel, my fishermen guides, WWF trailblazer chef – Kobus – and I) ate the fish, together with freshly foraged ingredients, right off the rocks.


On the rocks.

Mussels on the rocks

Mussels on the rocks

Hayden and Etienne in Paternoster

Etienne and me, (HQSA’s DOP)

Boat on the Paternoster beach

A Bakkie