In Focus: A girl named Kez
Kerryn Botha, more fondly known as “A Girl Named Kez” is a 25 year old foodie based in Nelson Mandela Bay. Her love for food and cooking was inspired and nurtured by a family who brought passion into their kitchen and laughter to their table.
A Girl Named Kez chronicles her exploits in the kitchen and shares her foodie adventures in Nelson Mandela Bay and South Africa as a whole.
We sat down with Kerryn and peppered her with a few questions.
Photo by Shawn Marsh.
Tell us more about A Girl Named Kez, when and why did the journey start?
It was only recently, sitting around the table with my family that we acknowledged that this journey had actually begun many, many years ago. I grew up in a family of foodies. Those who simply loved to eat and those who loved to cook and eat. From a young age, I started to show an interest as I developed a taste for the then, more obscure foods, like sushi. I still remember dragging my parents to what I believe was the first sushi spot in town, now known as Yi Pin at the Boardwalk, adamant that I simply had to give sushi a go. It was love at first bite. Another sure sign was when my Mom asked me what I wanted to do for my 10th birthday… I wanted a dinner party. My Mom indulged me and helped me setup possibly one of the greatest birthdays to date. Starter, main and for dessert, well that was something quite spectacular, allowing each of us the creative space to build our own. It was a hit!
The real push however, came at the end of 2015, when my dad, who seemed from the outside, to be a very fit and healthy man, had fallen very ill. After countless tests and back and forth trips to the hospital, he was rushed in for an emergency operation on Christmas Eve. His intestine had burst and had been living with a disease called diverticulitis for many years of which he had been none the wiser; or rather, had passed the symptoms off as the usual aches and pains that come with aging.
In an effort to help, I started to do a lot of research and like so many diseases; diet seemed to play a very big part. We needed to eat veggies and try to have minimal red meat. I thought to myself, “This is just not going to go down well with my Dad”. Veggies had always featured, but were a side rather than the hero of our dishes. I went on the hunt for recipes, took the proverbial ladle out of my mom’s hands and started recreating them. It came with such positive feedback, that I simply had to share it. Initially, with my friends and family over Facebook and Instagram and then finally on the 23rd of March 2016, I setup a Facebook page and changed my Instagram account to @a.girl.named.kez. The rest as they say is history.
What is your food philosophy?
Balance. I try to live as healthy a lifestyle as possible however there are occasions when I do overindulge. I used to bash myself over the head constantly whenever I slipped up, but I’ve learnt that life’s for lack of a better analogy, “too short not to eat cake”. I am constantly on the lookout healthy alternatives to some of my naughty treats, but I’m certainly not willing to sacrifice on flavor. I once tried to make a healthy carrot cake… I’d rather have the real deal. That being said, I’ve made some incredible health cookies which beat their refined sugar counter parts tenfold.
As a foodie, it is probably difficult to have just one favorite dish, but if you were stranded on a deserted island and you had to choose 3 meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner), what would you choose?
I’d gladly eat breakfast for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s by far my favourite meal of the day. I’d start off with avocado on rye and either a boiled or fried egg (sometimes simple, really is best). For lunch, one of my current faves, a giant mushroom, avo (clearly I can’t live without it) and feta omelette. I’d end the day off with eggs royale. I can get all those ingredients delivered right?
Talk to us about the foodie culture in Nelson Mandela Bay, do we have a foodie culture here?
Foodie culture is definitely on the rise in the Bay. There’s an electric energy in the air as people start to push creative boundaries within the industry. We now have dedicated markets such as the Goodnight market and on the 18th of November, our very first Food Truck Friday. We have restaurants such as Savages and Muse who are keeping up with global trends such as sustainability and seasonal menus. All that’s left for us to do, is support, support, support. I’ve heard far too many times, “P.E. just isn’t Cape Town”. Well of course we’re not, but who says we have to be? We have so much potential and the only way that’s going to grow and blossom is if we get behind the people that are willing to go out on a limb and do something different. Who knows, in a couple years’ time, P.E. could be the food capital of the world. A little friendly competition never hurt anyone did it Cape Town?
Name a few of your favourite places in Nelson Mandela Bay to get coffee, breakfast and/or a light meal?
Now you’re putting me on the spot. The list is endless and I’m always on the look for new and wonderful spots, but the spots that have really nestled their way into my heart are; Savages on Park Drive, Banneton Bakery on Main Road Walmer and Groundfloor Café on Stanley Street.
It's official! The InstaEats brand has come to P.E! �� I hope you're all ready to flex those muscles and show the rest of South Africa just how much P.E. has to offer. ���� Don't think I haven't noticed just how many of you are snapping pics before you nibble! �� I'm beyond excited to be a part of this foodie adventure with @eatby.mp and @instaeatssouthafrica, we're all in for an epic ride! We decided @bannetonbakery was the perfect spot to get everything on the go and they didn't disappoint. Head over and follow @instaeatspe to keep up to speed with all our foodie shenanigans. �� #cityofpe #thefriendlycity #thewindycity #breakfast #Banneton #food #foodie #foodlove #instafood #foodgasm #healthystart #foodporn #foodstagram #foodphotography #instalike #instafeed #eat #eatout #eatoutpe #sharethebay #coloursofyousa #instafood #instaeatspe #foodblogger #instafoodie #foodforfoodies #bakery #delicious #goodfood #foodblog
What about dinner restaurants in the Bay?
Muse, in my opinion, is possibly one of the most underrated restaurants in the bay. They offer a fantastic seasonal menu and the passion in the kitchen translates directly to the plate.
Savages food and wine pairings… when you see it come up on your newsfeed, just make the booking right there and then. Its money very well spent. Having been to such events in SA too, it’s very fair to say that Savages not only holds their own in the Bay, but on a national level too.
Cole finished exams today and you know we love celebrating every small victory. We went to @muse_restaurant, Cole's choice and a brilliant one at that. #dinner #dinnerisserved #supper #instadinner #instasupper #foodporn #foodstagram #foodie #instafoodie #foodpics #foodforfoodies #instafood #foodblogger #lifestyleblogger #southafricanblogger #portelizabeth #southafrica #celebration #eatout #foodinpe #lifeinpe #food24pe #zomato #feedfeed
You take beautiful photos of food, do you have any photography tips for other foodies?
Natural light. Natural light. Natural light – if you have that, half the jobs done. I also think it’s imperative to make the food the hero in the shot. I like to maneuver myself around my subject until I find the shot that makes me hungry enough to want to put my camera down.
Do you have a short and simple recipe to share with people on the go?
Here is a quick and easy recipe for Lemon, Thyme and Honey Overnight Oats. It's perfect for mornings when you need to be out the house early, have a busy day ahead and want to rather spare every extra moment catching some extra z's.
This recipe is inspired by food blogger, Breakfast Drama Queen, click here for the recipe.
Good morning everybody! �� It's already been a busy morning on my side. Hit the gym, packed my bag and got my camera ready... oh yes! We're heading on our next foodie adventure! �� It's an adventure of a different kind, because we're heading to @schotia_safaris! �� I'm sure you'll all agree, there's nothing quite like getting back to nature and experiencing the great beasts of our extraordinary land.�� I'm so excited, I nearly forgot to tell you what I had for brekkie! ���� You guessed it, perfect for any busy morning; Lemon, Thyme and Honey Overnight Oats by @breakfastdramaqueen. A special shout-out to @cityofpe, @sharynhodges, @jacques_crafford, @darrendpeens, @zoo_of_zanne, @eyeofthe_iger and @just_bean_there �� see you guys soon. I have no doubt, we're in for an epic adventure!
And lastly, a few quick questions...
Spicy or sour?
Sweet or Salty?
Coffee or Tea?
Coriander or Basil?
Coriander for its incredible health benefits, but my Italian dishes will never be the same again without Basil.
Brunch or lunch?
Brunch – it means I’ve woken up later than usual and it looks a little something like breakfast.
Spoon or fork?
Fork, but have you ever tried to eat soup with a fork? I guess they’re both essential.
Well done or medium?
Cream or froth?
Chocolate or cake?
White wine or red wine?
It depends on what I’m eating, but as a social drink, I lean more towards red.
Grilled or fried?
Braai or curry?
Curry. South Africa, don’t hate me.
Salad or veggies?
Salads in Summer and veggies in Winter – I don’t think I’d be happy giving up either truthfully.
Well, there you have it - a recipe, a few restaurant suggestions, tips and a whole lot of delicious inspiration. Thank you Kez, we look forward to follow your journey, bite by bite.
Follow A girl named Kez on Instagram at @a.girl.named.kez and also on Facebook (A Girl Named Kez).
Cover photo of Kerryn was taken by Shawn Marsh from Marshy Photography.
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