Woolworths TASTE - - Restaurant Staff Dinners -

STAFF DIN­NER spaghetti and meat­balls This is a tight team held to­gether by chef James Di­ack’s lead­er­ship and charisma. It’s not an easy kitchen: very small for the amount of en­ergy thrown around in there.

The re­ward is be­long­ing to a team led by a man build­ing an em­pire. This em­pire is based on James’s com­mit­ment to eth­i­cally farmed food and to chang­ing the food in­dus­try by putting his ideals into prac­tice to prove their ben­e­fit. He does this by sup­ply­ing his restau­rants from his fam­ily’s Bright­side Farm in Ma­galies­berg. Who couldn’t help but feel a sense of pur­pose by be­ing in­volved in this man’s rev­o­lu­tion? His staff have been with him through many years and many po­si­tions. And if they ever leave, they come back. For good rea­son.

James’s ethos car­ries through to all as­pects of run­ning a kitchen, in­clud­ing feed­ing the staff. For their meal of spaghetti and meat­balls, the pasta is freshly made, the meat­balls han­drolled and made us­ing in­gre­di­ents from Bright­side. Clif­ford Khanye makes pasta for the restau­rant ev­ery day and to­day he adds an ex­tra 30 or so por­tions for the staff meal. I see an­other chef squash­ing the freshly rolled meat­balls back into a mush and he ex­plains that they had cooked a lit­tle taste test and there was a spice miss­ing, so they were start­ing over. They def­i­nitely wouldn’t serve that to the team if it wasn’t up to stan­dard.

It’s a two-man job, as the fresh pasta is blanched in batches and tossed in the rich, re­duced tomato sauce. Fresh basil, but­ter from the farm and ex­tra sea­son­ing are added for good mea­sure. The rest of the team pitches in now as the bowls be­ing set out for plat­ing cover ev­ery sur­face. Siz­zling meat­balls are plated on the spaghetti and James

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