Adriaan Roets
2 minute read
21 Oct 2015
8:00 am

Callie-Anne Gavazzi: Born to be wild

Adriaan Roets

International recognition is not defined by making it big in America or Europe, it is about breaking through to audiences on any continent.

When you have the backing of ITV Choice, which broadcasts in Asia, Cyprus, Malta, the Middle East and Africa, unexpected fame looms where you least expect it.

Callie-Anne Gavazzi has been lucky enough to have a taste of international fame following the debut of her show Callie-Anne Cooks Into The Wild on ITV Choice earlier this month. The chef ’s laidback approach is a clear hit and the show has already received the green light for a second season.

“I’ve always been obsessed with food shows, but I definitely started watching more to prepare for the show,” the TV chef says. Gavazzi follows in the steps of South African TV chefs Siba Mtongana and Kamini Pather, who have struck a chord with international viewers.

Mtongana has livened up the Food Network, while Gavazzi now has the opportunity to shine on the mixed-entertainment channel ITV Choice. Into The Wild is built around the premise that Gavazzi visits remote destinations and then cooks without any modern luxuries such as stoves.

“I’m also the co-producer and have been impressed with the high quality of the show,” Gavazzi says. “Food is fashion and the inspiration for season one was to use the recipes and ingredients in a very natural way. It was meant to be local, with local produce. If I couldn’t find anything, I’d wing it.”

This translated well for the informal style of the show. “I want people to feel like they can do it too. I’m a home cook, not a chef. I’m trying to speak to people who are thrown by recipes.

“The main thing is using local produce to keep in sync with food. You’ve got to celebrate your local produce.

“There’s nothing better than celebrating seasonal produce,” Gavazzi says. By doing this, she believes it’s possible for anybody to not only adapt recipes, but also feel comfortable with what they’re cooking because it is familiar to them.

For the first season of the show Gavazzi goes to secluded locations to whip up signature dishes. You’ll find her using crocodile eggs to make a pizza – and there’s a reason for that.

“The minute I go somewhere I know what I can cook. I want the ingredients to drive the direction of the show. I’m a slave only to ingredients,” she says.

Gavazzi is from Bulawayo in Zimbabwe, but calls Durban home. The weather allows for outside cooking and it’s something she thrives on. “I love to use the Weber to cook, and I don’t generally like to do roasts. What I do well is not cooking in the oven,” she says.

Her best cooking tip is to keep it simple. “Use bold ingredients such as chilli or garlic – pungent flavours. A simple recipe and good ingredients make an impact,” Gavazzi said.