“Don’t Be Afraid of Making Mistakes” And Other Secrets to Great Cooking

Acclaimed chef Franck Dangereux shares indispensable advice for the kitchen as he reflects on a lifelong love of food.

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Chef Franck Dangereux, photographed by Craig Fraser.

I don’t want to be in the fine dining game anymore because I find it a little bit elitist and also unrealistic.

A manifestation of Dangereux’s passion to make excellent food accessible are his regular cooking demonstrations at the restaurant, as well as his cookbook Feast at Home — a marvellous concoction of anecdotes, advice and, of course, delicious recipes.

When it comes to food, I find people are just so afraid of fucking it up. Don’t be. Nobody’s dead. Flopping a soufflé or a sauce is not a big deal. You really learn best from your mistakes.

Dangereux’s approach to cooking is one that embraces all the senses. He wants to, he says, “teach people how to use their senses for the process of cooking — not only at the end, but to keep your senses engaged from the beginning, [and] throughout the process, because I really believe you’ll become a better cook by doing that.”

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“Keep your senses engaged.” Photo by Craig Fraser.

If you try to please too many people, you end up pleasing nobody. You must please yourself.

“I was under some kind of illusion after leaving La Colombe that I would be satisfied with having a little farm stall. Who was I kidding? My wife often laughs at me — she says ‘You were going to make sandwiches in Noordhoek — seriously?!’ I was really convinced that was what I wanted. I was so tired and gatvol of all those years of pressure and I really thought, ‘Fuck, I just want to sell sandwiches in Noordhoek and that’s all I want to do.’ But my wife knew better.”

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