Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My First Interview - Chris Witham

I recently had the opportunity to do my first interview and it was a really great experience. I interviewed Chris Witham, who is the head chef at the Skye Bistro which is an amazing restaurant at an even more amazing hotel, The Fordoun Spa. I was meant to also write a review on the Fordoun Spa, as a kind of romantic getaway option from Durban, but I am finding it difficult to get down to it.

This style of interview did not however appeal to me (Q&A) as I would prefer to describe the interview, the setting, the person, add some background information and summarise what we chatted about. This experience has taught me 2 things:
> One, I talk too much. When listening to a recording of the interview you can hear me waffling on about renewable energy, Clarins and even dinosaurs!. And,

> I sound nothing in real life like I think I sound in my head. How did that happen? Your ears are obviously listening to your voice when you speak. So why then does it alter it, to make it sound better (in my case). I am grateful for the interference though because if I knew how I really sounded, I would not have problem number one anymore, in that I would talk a whole lot less.

Some of Chris's answers surprised me, in a good way, i.e. when I asked him where he would recommend people of Durban get their fresh ingredients from, he did not hesitate before mentioning , 'The Verulam Market'. The full interview can be viewed here

Readers of my blog, however get the full experience. Bear in mind that this is a Bistro, so the portions are small but the idea is to sample more i.e. have a 5 or 7 course meal.

 While we waited for our starters, we were treated with a Tempura Mushroom (on the house) that definitely set the tone for what was to come.

For my entree, I had Tempura Prawn, Cold Smoked Trout Tare Tar and a Trout Cake. It tasted better than it looks and the drizzle around the entree was not purely decorative but this amazing plum like sauce that just seemed to bring out the best in the food. In between our entree and main meal we were served with a lemon sorbet to cleanse the palette.

 I am really disappointed with this picture because it does not do justice to my main meal. I had Grilled Kingklip Meuniere (don't ask, I don't know), steamed baby vegetables, lemon scadovia, lemon beurre blanc (lemon butter sauce) and wilted spinach. This was surprisingly quite a big portion of food which regrettably meant that I had no space for dessert (I know, sacrilege). If I had had space in any event, I was not going to go for the extravagant french desserts but had my eye rather on the Midland Cheese and preserve platter


  1. Hello there! I recently wrote an article about conducting an interview. Check it out for some tips :)

  2. @ Devorah. I checked out your article and it is very helpful. Thanks. I tried to prepare for this particular interview by reading Anthony Bordain's 'Kitchen Confidential'. Thankfully Chris was not as hectic as Mr Bordain.

  3. It was a good interview. I liked that it wasn't too food snobbish. I'm not sure if that's an actual term. Interesting, surprising at times. A good read.
    Ferran Adria is a food hero of mine as well. I first heard of him when I watched Anthony Bourdain's film Decoding Ferran Adria.
    He's moved on from El Bulli and is working in the El Bulli Foundation. The most important thing to him is creativity. He's got over 1800 recipes to his name.
    I think that knowing Chris's influence is someone like Ferran Adria makes the idea of eating his food so much more appealing, especially since El Bulli is no more.