Say Hello to Chef Pete Goffe-Wood – Ultimate Braai Master Judge
To take our insatiable appetite for adventure and innovation to the next level, we’ve decided to go on the road with The Ultimate Braai as one of the official sponsors.
Of course, we wanted to get to know the people we toured the country with a little better, so we decided to have a chat with chef and Ultimate Braai Master judge and Chef Pete Goffe-Wood.
Since the early 90s, Pete has been a staple on the South African food scene. He’s a successful restaurateur and author whose eclectic and adventurous style has earned him the nickname “Kitchen Cowboy” (which is also the title of one of his most popular books).
Pete’s outspoken nature has made him an ideal judge for various shows and events; most notably, Master Chef SA, the prestigious annual Eat Out Awards and, of course, The Ultimate Braai Master, which is now in its sixth season and airs on eTV every Sunday.
Let’s pick his brain a bit…
You’re described as an “influential member of the SA food scene”, what would you say makes the scene so unique?
The SA food scene is in a great place at the moment as we finally see an authentic South African influence in a modern context. Some of the top chefs are using more traditional recipes and ingredients in their menus that showcase our diverse culinary heritage on a world stage.
You are also known for your refined palette – how do you keep it intact?
Cigarettes and whisky – just kidding. I don’t think people realise, but it takes practice, you have to get used to articulating what you are tasting by painting a verbal picture, particularly for television where generally all food looks fab.
Why do you think braai culture is so essential in SA?
Communing to eat around an open fire across cultural and economic borders is very important. The conviviality around the braai is something we can all relate to.
What are some of your go-to favourites for the grill?
Lamb rump and lamb ribs – lamb has a natural affinity to fire, and its innate fattiness loves the lick of the flames – who, in their right mind, doesn’t love a crispy lamb rib?
What is your favourite way to use bacon on the braai?
I like to wrap streaky bacon around cooked corn on the cob. The corn gets a nice char on it, and the bacon crisps up while the corn soaks up all the tasty bacon fat.
We have it on good authority that you are a fan of the Woody’s ribs… what’s your favourite way to prepare them?
I love them straight on the fire – there was much off-screen debate during Season 6 of Ultimate Braai Master about the need to steam or boil them first – nonsense I tell you! Over low heat, they will cook perfectly seasoned with just salt and pepper. When the ribs are prepared, and the meat starts to char and shrink from the bones on the top, then is the time to apply lashings of your favourite BBQ sauce. Look out for Chef Pete’s Smoked Chipotle BBQ that will be on shelves by March.
Foodie trends come and go – which one would you say has had the most significant impact over the last few years?
I think that as we look back on molecular gastronomy (please chefs, it’s well and truly dead now) we will see the legacy of that fad will be the application of science. Many long-held beliefs were debunked by closer scrutiny of how food behaves under hot or cold conditions that have helped chefs better understand the transformation of their ingredients, and made us all better cooks.
What is the most prominent mistake people make when it comes to cooking?
Trying to over complicate things – keep it simple and do it well!
Do you have a favourite moment from Ultimate Braai Master?
For me, the travelling around the country is what I love the best about UBM – we’ve done close on 15 000 km in the last two seasons, and we got to see some breathtakingly and truly magical places – entirely untouched places, areas that are beautifully nurtured and respected. We live in one of the scenic wonders of the world, and we should all spend a little more time exploring our backyards.
Lastly- you’ve been tasked with making a meal for Donald Trump- what would you make?
Unfortunately, I wouldn’t be able to make as I have a hair appointment ; )
Enjoyed getting to know Chef Pete Goffe-Wood? Eager to get to know some of the other creative characters from The Ultimate Braai Master? Check out our profile on host and producer Justin Bonello.