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