Fresh, organic, wholesome, seasonal and delicious – these are just some of the words that describe a typical meal served at a Chōsen Experience. But for Josh Davies, Executive Chef for Chōsen Experiences, each meal is also a celebration. “It’s a celebration of the best local produce, but more importantly it’s a celebration of the local farmers and suppliers, who work hard to give us amazing ingredients that we can transform into something special.”
And Josh certainly has an abundance of such produce to work with, despite the group’s remote location near Port Elizabeth in the country’s Eastern Cape. “Cooking for everyone at this Chōsen Experience is such a delight because I get to use ingredients that I’ve never really come across before, like kudu, a type of African Antelope” he explains.
South Africa is known for such diverse top-quality meats, from the exotic springbok and warthog to ostrich, buffalo and venison – it is therefore no surprise that meat features prominently on this week’s South Africa Experience menu. “I have featured more meat on the menu, then say in Bali, because it really is at the heart of South African cuisine. I wanted to showcase these foods as simply but creatively as possible and give our attendees an opportunity to explore the local flavors to get a deeper sense of the destination.”
As with every Experience, Josh strives to design a menu that aligns with the Chōsen ethos. This translates to “clean” dishes that are a healthy balance of lean animal protein, good fat, and fiber in the form of leafy greens, nuts, seeds and fruit. The ingredients are prepared as simply as possible to retain their nutrients and flavor.
Josh has been cooking professionally for 23 years, four of which have been for Chōsen Experiences. The Australian chef, who lives in Bali with his family, says that one of the best aspects of his job is having the opportunity to be as creative as he wants. “Aside from the fact that I get to travel to beautiful places like South Africa and meet wonderful people along the way, I have free rein to experiment with any interesting ingredients I find. And for a chef, there’s no greater feeling.”
While this week’s menu features a variety of dishes that showcase some of South Africa’s best ingredients, we’ve asked Josh what he thinks will be the group’s favorite. His guess: “An oversized quail, sometimes called Jurassic quail, cooked over a braai (a South African barbecue), topped with herb-packed chimichurri sauce and served with chargrilled broccoli, smoked red peppers and asparagus cooked in citrus juice. That’s South Africa on a plate!”