It does not matter what time of day it is; Jenny Morris will always answer her phone and help near anyone with advice, tips or simply menu ideas for a special occasion. That is the kind of person she is. Ever ready to be there for people, to share her love for food, and for people.
Jenny Morris is South Africa’s original celebrity chef. Otherwise known as the Giggling Gourmet, for her infectious laugh and warm affable nature, Jenny has published a legion of cookbooks, hosted several foodie-shows and is the go-to person for good food, great tips and incredible recipes. Few people are as passionate about what they do as Jenny Morris and, together with her husband David, who takes care of the business end, the pair have conquered the food universe. She is currently writing her seventh book and preparing for two food tours next year.
Why are you called the Giggling Gourmet?
Because I Giggle, haaaaa I am a happy chef, I love what I do. I believe laughing keeps you healthy, happy and young.
You have thus far had an incredible career, where did it all start and how, looking back at your path, did it all happen?
Let me start by saying it never fell into my lap, I earned it. I have always worked hard and done my best with every I do, I never cut corners on quality. I am known to under promise and always over deliver. I am passionate about what I do. I love every waking moment if what I do. I believe hard work pays off and certainly makes you stand out. I suppose I got noticed, I am blessed. This is all a big bonus for me.
Why is food so important to you?
I think that food brings people together, whether it is to celebrate the arrival of a baby. A christening, a special birthday, engagement or wedding and funeral. Food is used to love, celebrate and nurture.
Is food really the language of love, and why?
The act of eating encompasses all our senses. Creating a meal for someone you care about brings you closer to then, it is an act of love and a way to express your love.
They say that sometimes even the order of adding ingredients or the direction that you stir something impacts the taste of a dish, is this true and why?
I cannot answer that because flavour is what goes into the pot, but texture might be because they say stirring a sauce makes it thinner because the long strands of starch will line up with each other and all move in the same direction. … So, stirring sauces in the same direction does influence the starches – and in sauces that have milk or cream the proteins in I have been told.
What is your comfort food, and why?
I love a large baked potato with a crunchy skin and fluffy interior. I love spoon lots if sour cream and butter onto it. I love the gorgeous earthy flavour of a potato, simple, unpretentious and delicious.
Which type of cuisine is your favourite to eat and or cook – Indian, Indonesian, Thai etc and why?
That is a little like asking.me which of my children are my favourite. I adore flavour, fragrance, textures and colours on a plate so Indian and Asian tick all the boxes for me.
It is winter and it is getting very cold, what are the best foods or ingredients to warm you up, and why?
Potatoes because they are so versatile, they can be served hot or cold, mashed, baked, stewed, toasted or chopped.
I like the cheaper cuts of meat because they are packed with flavour, I love the sticky richness they leave behind after they have cooked long and slow with heaps of garlic, onions a d wonderful herb. I would choose a short tub and beef shin over a fillet steak any day.
I love pap and pasta and buttery polenta.
Bread and cheese. I love baking bread; I love it with thick slabs of cold salty butter. I love all kinds of cheese, ripe oozy brie and camembert. Mature delicious fruity nutty Wyke cheddar, ripe and creamy gorgonzola. Oh, my happy mouth. And vegetables, every vegetable on the planet, I love all vegetables.
What is next for Jenny Morris?
Well, I have two Food Tours planned 2022. One to take a group to Morocco and another to take a group on a Cruise on the Danube.
If you did not become a chef, what would your alternative career choice have been and why?
I think I would be a farmer; I have a passion for gardening. I always say I grew up in a garden, my father grew everything we ate except mushroom. I grew up getting excited about what each season would bring to the dinner table. I have in tune with the seasons all my life.
Watch Jenny Morris share a great Avocado recipe