Known for her inventive take on modern soul food, as well as comfort classics, Lindi “Gee” Govender is a professional Durban chef who is passionate about cooking. Tabloid Newspapers spoke with Govender about her journey from when it was all just a wish.Tabloid Newspapers ( TN): Who is Lindi Govender?Lindi Govender (LG): Lindi is a feeder, someone who loves to laugh, fun, crazy, and loving. Sometimes I am full of kindness and generosity. TN: Where does your love for cooking come from?
LG: It comes from a family of foodies. My grandmother cooked for everyone, and I was always next to her with my own tiny piece of pastry rolling things out.
My mother had me cooking from a very young age peeling and chopping, so when she came from work she put it together. My dad’s eldest sister Mary is still my go to person. Whenever I am unsure about something I call her, she is a serious foodie.
TN: How was the learning part for you, the experience?
LG: I studied locally at Christina Martin, but I did my in-service training abroad. I have always been interested in food, even though my parents didn’t take it seriously. When I finished work, I got an internship at a friend’s restaurant. I loved it. It was hard work but I loved it. In her kitchen there was order. I learnt a lot as American food is different from our food here in South Africa.
TN: What is your favourite dish to cook?
LG: I can cook anything. I don’t have a favourite. I just do what my client wants. I can cook anything from Italian to traditional foods. Indian. Local and West African cuisine.
TN: In your kitchen you love?
LG: The smells. The spices. The noise and the laughter.
TN: Which celebrity would you like to cook for?
LG: I have cooked for him already, even though I cannot mention him. I would also like to cook for Jamie Oliver, because I like his set up. He cooks at home in his kitchen and its nice. I like his concept of having guests over and cooking for them.
TN: What is your secret to a healthy fast meal?
LG: Balance. I wish I could practice it. I don’t want to see food after cooking. But the trick is everything in moderation of course.
TN: If you were to host a dinner, who would be invited?
LG: Those who don’t have much. People who struggle daily. I would spoil those people. Single parents. The hungry. Those that struggle daily to put something on the table.
TN: What plans do you have for the future?
LG: I want a patisserie. A place where you weigh your food and go. Somewhere in the corporate place, maybe an office block at uMhlanga or Durban North. A place were people don’t have time to sit and eat.
TN: What has been the highlight of your career?
LG: The people who keep coming back for more. My clients who constantly order. Those who recommend me to others. The joy of watching someone’s face after that first taste. And smiling to myself thinking, I told you.
TN: Describe your food in three words
LG: Quality over quantity
TN: If you were given a choice to an outdoor cooking, where would you choose to go or set up?
LG: Somewhere where people are struggling and don’t have much. People who work hard to make ends meet and would love to have a beautiful meal but can’t afford it.