Nadin Pospech – owner and Chef of Top Nosh Cooking School and Specialty Caterer
Nadin Pospech is the owner and Chef of Top Nosh Cooking School and Specialty Caterers in Cape Town. She was born in Germany and already has an international career as a chef behind her.
Nadin, where does the love and passion of being a chef come from?
Well, I was born in Leipzig and always had a passion for food. I was a picky eater from a young age and that made me experiment in the kitchen with the ingredients I liked to eat. Meeting my first boyfriend of the age of 15 and him being an amazing butcher doing catering on the side made me explore further in this direction and planted the seed to become a chef by trade.
Which cooking school did you visit first in Germany? And what was your biggest advantage of this German cooking school system?
I did my 3-year apprenticeship with the Hotel Intercontinental, (at my starting time “Hotel Merkur”), think now it is called “Hotel West Inn” in Leipzig. I truly believe Germany has one of the greatest educational cooking school systems next to Swiss, Norway, Sweden and Austria. An apprenticeship works fantastic together between theory and practical education. That explains why so many European chefs go out in the wide world.
Immediately after your time at the cooking school, you worked in Austria at the famous Schloss Fuschl. How did this time affect you as a chef?
We cooked very much classical French cuisine, and I am so glad I had this training in hot and cold kitchen, no matter what trend the cuisine goes in times, this is the best foundation a chef can have. It influenced me in a way, to never give up and always keep learning no matter what.
After different stations as a chef in London, Switzerland.. you moved to South Africa. What was your first impression of South Africa’s cuisine?
Wow…, at first, to be honest,… what a challenge. To get used to the ingredients, having to adjust recipes, some new products I had never worked with. Also certain product one was used to work with, was just not available at the time. Well this has certainly changed over the last 18 years and I would call Cape Town a Food Hub of many culinary influences and almost everything is now available.
How would you describe South African cuisine today in one sentence?
Just amazing bursting with lots of flavours and creativity.
What are some of the latest trends in South African cuisine?
Organic and local sustainable food is very much important to many chefs. Vegan and vegetarian dishes are much more found on menus and more and more tapa style restaurants popping up.
Countries can often be characterized by spices. Which spices are typical for South Africa?
Regarding flavour and spice directions, well South Africa is not for nothing called Rainbow Nation and this can be seen in the food too. Local plants being used like Buchu and Rooibos for tees, smokes or infusions. Cape Malay brings all aroma spices like cardamom and star anise, Turmeric, jerra ,….the Indian influence the spice like mother in law, curry, ginger, Marsala and many more. Apricot Chutney or also known as Bludjang is simply fantastic and I would almost say South Africans love a touch of sweetness to their food.
After so many different experiences as a chef – how would you describe your culinary line today?
I am staying my classical European roots but absolutely love incorporate local flavours into dishes like Amarula, Fynbos or Biltong flavoured something. That explains as well that I cook a lot for the German and French Ambassador in Cape Town.
If you have time to travel around South Africa, what interesting culinary discoveries have you found?
Oi, there are sooooooo many good places, especially in the Cape area. Never had a bad meal and always feel inspired by the creativity of other chefs, especially when least expected. Sometimes less is more and when ingredients are fresh, it can only be good.
What kind of vegetables do you use in South Africa today that you did not know before?
Butternut, Squash and sweet potato are stable diet for South Africans. Sour fig was something very new to me also Biltong and cooking with all sort of plants like Buchu.
Fish: what are some of the local sorts of fish and local recipes?
Local Fish, especially at the Cape is Snoek, a very tasty, affordable fish. Fantastic for smoking – making a pate out of it and for braaing (grilling) on a Fire in tin foil and some Apricot glaze. Absolute delicious. Other available fish is Hake and Kingklip and not to forget Tuna. Around Easter the tradition is to have pickled fish, soo yummy, it has its heritage from the Cape Malay. My friends mom makes the best one,… with coriander, turmeric, curry, cumin, all spice, vinegar and lots of onion.
What are typical South African desserts?
Brandy pudding, Malva Pudding, Kooksisters (these ones are very sweet), Bownies and Muffins.
Your company: Top Nosh Cooking School and Speciality Caterers – what do you offer?
We offer cooking classes for people who would like to learn a little more about cooking but not necessary want to become a professional chef. we do private catering for small sit-down Function and also big cocktail events. We do a lot of baking, suppling coffee shops with our European influenced baked goods and do amazing tasting Macarons.
Do you still cook or do you occasionally offer German, Austrian or Swiss menus?
Yes, I do. There is quite a large community of Germans speaking people in Cape Town and sometime I am asked to make something traditionally. I have a stall twice a week at a local food market and people start loving the taste of Bratwurst, Currywurst, Sauerkraut and Glühwein (in winter).
Cape Town: Are there some very local specialties?
Biltong – dried meat, chutney, Samoosas, snoek pate.
If you have a day off, what are some of the local food places of Cape Town you are going for some very local specialties?
Food markets are great to go to and there are plenty in Cape Town, otherwise I absolutely love fish, calamari and mussels and there is a tiny small place, would not even call this a restaurant in Hout Bay “fish on the Rocks”, they are really good.
Have you ever thought of a restaurant in Cape Town that serves traditional German dishes in a new, modern way and with fine dining atmosphere?
Yes, this could definitely work and there are actually in fact a view places doing that.
Hand on heart – which German food do you miss the most?
White Asparagus in any form and cherries freshly picked from the tree.
You are as well engaged at the South African Chefs Association and the National Culinary Team South Africa. What are your activities?
I have been for 6 years on the South African Culinary Team and was basically tournat in between hot kitchen and Pastry and had the time of my life. Learning, sharing knowledge and making the most incredible friends and chef connections.
I am now for quite a while on the judging side and still learning. I am having the honour and look very much forward to judge at the Culinary Worldcup in Luxemburg in 2 months. I am since a couple of years involved with the South African Chefs Association and we do a lot of activities for fundraising and organizing educational events for young chefs and underprivileged teenagers in South Africa.
Many foreign chefs are also interested in working in Cape Town. Do you have a recommendation for them how to start?
To find work or starting your own business is easy. The more tricky part is to get a work visa. But as I always say in life, “Wo ein Wille ist, ist auch ein Weg”.
If you had time to write a cookbook on Cape Town’s cuisine/food scene … what was it about and what would the title be?
Very challenging question indeed. It has always been my dream to come up one day up with a cook book … maybe something like “Rainbow Nosh News” and it would content healthy back to root recipes, most properly a vegetarian cookbook, making it in 4 chapters of the season and taking on individual vegetables spices combinations and what health benefits one will have.
Thank you very much, Nadin!
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