Food for Thought: Cathy Peacock

Trumpeter Cathy Peacock in the kitchen. She loves strawberries, prawns and a good steak. But don’t give her haggis, please.

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BILLY SUTER talks food and drink with Durban trumpeter and KZNPO member, CATHY PEACOCK, leader of popular swing band, Platform Jazz. The group, with guest singer Shelley McLean, is to perform a fun new show, The Great Gatsby Party, at Durban’s Rhumbelow Theatre in Umbilo at 8pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and 2pm on Sundays, from January 17 to 26. Platform Jazz also features Kirsten Sayers on clarinet, Jeff Robinson on sax, newcomer Andrea Bolloco on trombone, Melvin Peters on keyboards, Bruce Baker on drums and Andreas Kappen on bass. Their latest show features hits such as Chicago, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Puttin’ on the Ritz and also new songs in an old style. Tickets cost R160 (R140 for pensioners). Book at Computicket or phone Roland Stansell at 082 499 8636.
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On a scale of one to 10 how good a cook are you?

I’m about a seven-and-a-half. I like to cook, but do the easy, rustic type of dishes.

Your most embarrassing/awkward moment in a restaurant?

I once ordered a piece of chocolate cake in a coffee bar and the waiter told me that I didn’t need it! Bit cheeky, I thought

Favourite take-away meal order?

I Like Chinese.

What are you unlikely to never order?

Frogs legs and snails.The texture does not appeal!

What is your first food memory?

Having Christmas cake when I was about three.

Your favourite meal?

I enjoy prawns. Have had great prawns at the Pavilion restaurant in Uvongo!

The meal you don’t enjoy much?

I can’t say I am overly fond of banana custard.

Something you loved to eat or drink when younger, which you can’t find today?

Orange ice lollies.

As a child did you ever develop a taste for unusual foods or unusual combinations of foods?

I like fish and strawberries in the same meal. 

What is the dish you tend to cook most often?

Roast chicken. Its easy and delish. Always a winner.

What do you like and/or dislike about attending dinner parties?

I love dinner parties. I enjoy the different conversations with people. I just don’t like it when you arrive at 6pm and eat at 9pm. 

What has been your biggest kitchen disaster?

Burnt meringues! Also, once I had a new blender and tried to blend gravy for Christmas dinner, and managed to spray gravy far and wide over the kitchen stove, counters and floor.

What has been your biggest culinary success?

I’m a dab hand at doing pork belly. And I make fabulous Dom Pedros.

How serious a wine fundi are you, and what is your favourite tipple?

Not too serious. I enjoy a lovely prosecco and a good merlot.

What three people would you most like to invite to dinner?

I enjoy inviting orchestra conductors around as they have interesting tales of orchestral experiences to tell. I’d like to invite Gunhild Carling around. She is a Swedish multi-instrumental jazz performer. I’d also quite like to invite comedian Mark Banks round as he is very amusing!  

What kitchen utensil can you simply not live without?

A great knife.

What’s the most kitsch thing in your kitchen – and why is it there?

I have a rather rude wine opener which is in the shape of a gorgeous man! A friend gave it to me for a birthday gift. It’s quite a conversation item.

What are some foods you simply refuse to try?

I don’t think I’d try haggis and strange things like snake or animals’ brains and heads..

What is your favourite restaurant in Durban or KwaZulu-Natal and what do you usually order there?

I like Tasca at Umdloti. Fab location. Excellent tapas and the place is unpretentious.

Favourite restaurant?

The Oyster Box verandah in Umhlanga.

Favourite cooking ingredients?

Cream, wine, garlic and black pepper.

What marks the most memorable meal you’ve had? 

Years ago I had a lovely romantic meal with a partner at The Commodore at the Wild Coast Sun. It was fabulous. Lovely food and company, and a dear old lady tinkling away at the piano.

Who is your favourite celebrity cook? And who is your least favourite?

I think Nigella Lawson is lovely. She loves food and is entertaining. Jamie Oliver is good as he makes good simple food. I’m not mad about Gordon Ramsey. He swears far too much!

Your fave tipple and meal on a hot, humid day?

I like Sprite Zero and also a nice, chilled prosecco . A great salad with interesting ingredients would get me on a hot day.

And on a freezing day?

A glass of merlot and a good rare steak with some fresh veggies .

What is the sexiest of all foods?

Strawberries and cream. Gorgeous colour and flavour!

What do you tip in restaurants?

Between 12% and 15%, depending on the experience.

Have you/would you send a dish back at a restaurant if you were not happy with it? 

Definitely. Restaurants are expensive and if something is not cooked to your liking then I don’t have a problem with sending it back, There is a nice way to do so and its best to get what you ordered.

Favourite dessert?

Pavlova.

Store-bought sweet you most enjoy?

Choccie mousse! Yum.


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