Alumni Spotlight

17 February 2015 –

The Capital Hotel School and Training Academy takes pride in all its graduates and we would like to let the world know how well they are doing.

We will feature blogs, postings and news from past students to assist them in sharing their experiences and knowledge.

We will be embarking on a culinary adventure with Monique Du Toit as she shares her passion and experiences from the “professional kitchen”.

meet monique

As a young woman I was a person with my own ideas and plans for my life. Sitting in my parent’s kitchen at the age of 17, talking to them about my future career options.

In that small kitchen in Nelspruit I told my Mom and Dad I wanted to become a teacher, following the career of my Grandmother and Mother but for some weird reason my Dad was set against the idea and told me “you, my child, need to become a Chef” and running through my mind was “hahaha. Me? A Chef? Daddy you are crazy”.  The reality of being a chef was standing on my feet for hours and working in a place what it is so hot you cannot even think straight; you must be out of your mind.  But after all: my Dad was right, as he is always right.

In that same small kitchen 5 years later, sitting in front of my Dad I told him “Daddy I want to go and study Cheffing” and the o-so-famous words came out of his mouth “I told you so my child”.

But taking that leap to go into a kitchen that is so hot you want to cry, and standing so long on your feet until they are numb, is the best thing in my life now.
I am loving every moment in the kitchen and doing what gives me the greatest joy – that feeling equates to being a rock star!monique

Questions and Answers with Chef Monique du Toit

Name

Monique du Toit

Nickname

Monas

Where are you from?

Nelspruit, a small town that is almost as hot as a kitchen.

Culinary education

The Capital Hotel School and Training Academy

What’s the first dish you learned to make really well?

A Creamy Sweetcorn and Bacon soup, one of my Mother’s famous dishes she showed me to make when I was still in school and I make that dish still today.

How would you describe working in a professional kitchen?

It’s like having your own “Zoo”, you have your crazy chickens, hard-headed donkeys, natty goats and all of that make a kitchen the best place to be. Never a moment of boredom – when you work, everyone works together, and when you play, everyone plays together.

So working in a professional kitchen is the best time of your life.  I tend to agree with the following quote; “Anyone can be a cook, but it takes a special kind of crazy to be a Chef”.

On your bad day in a kitchen, how or what is your rock to lean on?

Well that is easy to answer, the love of my life that is working next to me in the kitchen.  He is my rock and has a way to make any bad day the best day you can have. Working with someone that is your best friend and your partner, not only  in the kitchen but in life, makes everyday fun.

What is important for you as a Chef when working with food?

Fresh products – working with fresh products makes food the best it can be.  Fresh vegetables with a dash of good olive oil,salt, pepper and rosemary will let your vegetable taste like heaven on earth.

Who is your culinary icon?

Jamie Oliver; he exudes passion for good quality produce and rustic cooking.  Jamie travels and learns about cooking methods and ingredients, far removed from the airs and graces of the “celebrity chef” status he deserves.

What is your “secret weapon” food spice or ingredient?

Cajun is one of my best spices to put into my food.  But if must confess SALT is the best addition to a dish; salt has a secret way to bring out all the best flavours in your dish. Salt is a symbol of friendship and hospitality so I prepare my dishes with a lot of love and friendship.

Where have you learned the most?

I am fortunate to have been brought up in a house where we were always surrounded with food and all the best produce we could find.  We would sit around the tiny kitchen table for hours and debate recipes from Mom’s collection of recipe books and reminisce  about life events and how food played a role in those moments.

What is your favourite food to eat?

Well as simple as it sounds, I love a fresh Greek Salad and a Cajun Chicken Wrap.

What is your signature dish or specialty?

A chocolate mousse, prepared with my secret ingredient, which I will share with all of you in an upcoming next blog.

What is the one thing you need in the kitchen?

My kitchen team.  Have you ever tried to do a service without your team, now that is a recipe for disaster. I promise, you will run around a kitchen like a chicken without a head and legs. If you run out of an ingredient/prep you can make a plan and wing it, but without your team the kitchen will not function.

What is your passion in life?

Preparing dishes to the best of my abilities, gives me the sense of accomplishment that I’m doing the one thing I’ve been put on earth to do.  That is a feeling you cannot describe – that is what I believe passion is all about.

What can we expect from “Make it happen with Monique” posts?

My food philosophy is “keep it simple” and I enjoy taking fresh produce and making the most of it.  My new adventure in the “culinary arts” will be to to share, motivate and educate followers/readers about ingredients and preparation methods to enhance their current cooking repertoire.

Famous last words (for now)?

Thank you for spending some time with me and I promise you I will guide you in becoming an awesome cook for the people you love.

Chef Monique will be posting some exciting recipes and stories about her inspiration behind the creations.

We look forward to making Chef Monique’s postings a regular feature on the “Latest News and Events” – look out for “Make it happen with Chef Monique“.

 

monique banner

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