Barbara Williamson, one of our long-time staff members of the Monte Christo Miqlat Coffee Shop, recently had the opportunity to attend some very valuable chef training. She departed on Sunday, 2 September in an InterCape Sleep liner bound for Namaqualand and the following is her own words describing the experience.
From the very start of my trip, I was bursting with excitement. I couldn't believe I was going to Namaqualand. But here I was, with my bags packed and lots of mixed emotions including both nervousness and excitement. This trip was to be my first visit to this part of the world and I’d heard how beautiful it was there. Now I know for myself. You have to experience it for yourself to understand it's beauty. Springbok has its own beauty. It’s not like our "Boland beauty." It’s very different. The flower beds stretch as far as the eye can see with all kinds of different colors. These people live so close to nature and it was nice to get a taste of it.
Naries, where I did my practical, sits like an Oasis in the desert. One moment you’re driving through the emptiness, and the next moment Naries appears like an oasis. It’s almost hard to believe that this beautiful 'five-star' guesthouse sits in the middle of nowhere.
The staff greets you with a warm hospitality that is so unique to the country-side even before you enter the front door. The people I worked with were so down-to-earth. They simply welcome you with open arms, whether they know you or not.
The food conjured up in Naries’s kitchen is a whole other story. It can easily compete with the leading restaurants in Paarl.
What struck me the most was that the food prepared in Naries' kitchen is made with so much love and attention. Everything is not always rosy in the kitchen because sometimes it gets very busy and tensions run high. But the staff all stand together. There was a beautiful unity among them which really touched my heart...just like Namaqualand’s amazing beautiful flowers.
The MCM staff is thrilled that Barbara had this opportunity and is already enjoying some of the delicious food ideas that she brought back to the Monte Christo Miqlat Coffee Shop. Come join us there and see for yourself!!!