Love Sandwiches in The Kitchen
A Week in the Kitchen is a cookbook in the truest sense of the word – it pays homage to all things that make Karen want to cook. The creative energy of Woodstock, the real life, beautiful people teeming into Karen’s cafe on a daily basis are just as much a part of this vibrant recipe album as her refreshingly simple and celebratory dishes. From the famous Love Sandwiches to her patriotic Africa Burn salad, Karen’s rich life experiences and anecdotes are drizzled all over. We popped in to this vibrant Woodstock eatery to meet Karen and to talk about her new book, A Week in the Kitchen.
Karen Dudley is a whirling dervish of activity. As she rings up an order, she’s having a conversation with someone in the kitchen as well as advising another customer on which dessert she should choose and screaming with delight as an old friend walks through the door. It is this energy that makes The Kitchen what it is – a gesellige, cozy space buzzing with the sound of the customers that are crammed into every available space.
There aren’t too many people in the Mother City who have had the chance of cooking for Michelle Obama. Earlier last year the US first lady had lunch at Karen Dudley’s sidewalk cafe, The Kitchen, in Woodstock. So what did Karen cook for Michelle Obama?
Michelle Obama famously popped in for lunch on her tour of Cape Town. What did you serve her?
It was great. We were warned that morning that she was coming… we gave her our usual lunch plate with chicken and an assortment of salads (aubergine ratatouille, koshieri rice, beetroot apple coriander salad, sumac slaw, our falafel and hummus). She ate it all. We had a little party in The Kitchen – it was packed with all her entourage. They all paid and had a great time. Wow! What an amazing woman. She knew that choosing to come to us in Woodstock meant that she came to all of us in Cape Town as opposed to just an elite few and got a fabulous lunch in the coolest part of Cape Town to boot!
The Kitchen is always buzzing. To what do you credit its success?
A great variety of genuine deliciousness in a buzzy, unpretentious ‘granny’s kitchen’. There are many places to eat in Cape Town, where you can get one delicious thing on your plate. At The Kitchen, you get 5 or 6 delicious things on your plate, each one perfect and true! And then of course the allure of the Love Sandwich, and the honey mustard sausages, the almond croissants and appleterias, the lemon squares…
How did your book, A week in The Kitchen, come about?
People were really asking/demanding a recipe book! They were asking for wholesome, accessible food. I did the book with my very clever friends Russel Wasserfall and Roxy Spears. The book was born out of friendship. And we literally shot it in a week (in November last year) in The Kitchen. It really does capture all the energy and bustle and love in our shop – and of course, many of our favourite flavours. People are loving cooking from A Week in The Kitchen. And I am so happy to share!
For one of Karen Dudley’s personal favourite recipes for Almond Tarts, click through to this post.
A week is the optimal time frame necessary to fully absorb the essence of a place. A Week in The Kitchen however is enough to ignite a powerful keenness to cook and a thirst to embrace all things colourful and quirky in your own kitchen.
Follow this link if you wish to add Karen Dudley’s A Week in The Kitchen to your personal cookery books collection.