Justin Bonello is a South African television star, filmmaker, author and chef. He is famous for his outdoor cooking skills. The king of bush cooking, so to say. From juicy steaks to rat-like small animals he finds in the wild, there is nothing in South Africa to eat that Justin Bonello has not already grilled.
"Today I thought up something very special for you" he says to me as we get into the car. He turns to me and adds seriously, "I don't eat anything that I didn't kill myself. Otherwise I would find it immoral and you will have to earn your own food today! There is no morality in nature. Life, food and death belong together!
I don't eat anything that I didn't kill myself. Otherwise I would find it immoral and you will have to earn your own food today! There is no morality in nature. Life, food and death belong together!
I remain in silence and thoughtful during the trip to our still unknown destination. Pictures go through my head that I have seen in his documentaries, and some were not exactly pleasant. Leaning in my back seat, but not particularly relaxed, I wonder what will await me today.
We drive with his assistant from Cape Town, the R44 road along the coast. With every bend it becomes more beautiful and wilder. After some time the car stops. In front of us a huge, lonely, breathtaking beach.
I look to the left, I look to the right... "And what is there to eat here?"
I look to the left, I look to the right... "And what is there to eat here?" I ask Justin, a little surprised. "Take off your shoes and come with me." he says. Justin goes a few steps ahead, towards the water. Suddenly he stops at ankle level in the water and starts a kind of "Let´s Twist again as we did last Summer" dance. "Do the same!" he screams. "You have to drill yourself into it and if you feel something like a stone between your feet, it's a shell! he screams even louder. Yes, let´s twist again as we did last summer... but real summer feelings don't come up with me. The surf is strong and the water is so cold that I after a few minutes I can't really feel my feet anymore.
After one hour, that feels like 3 or 4, I come out of the water trembling with a handful of shells. Justin's, his assistant's and my shells - the catch of the day - all come together in a potjie pot, a three-legged cast iron pot. Justin prepares a kind of wonderfully fragrant Mussel Chowder with butter, basil, garlic and chili. We drink a Hamilton Russell Chardonnay, just chilled in the Atlantic (iced would be more accurate). Although, being honest, at that moment I would prefer a hot cup of tea much more. It's shortly after two. Food will be ready soon. The sun is burning and I put my feet deep into the warm sand. The world is fine again and everything tastes fantastic.