His love for mixing the old with the new is evident from his Instagram feed right through to his actual cooking, with his grandmother featuring in numerous photos on his feed. “[She] unknowingly taught me that food isn’t just food. It can be a tool to raise funds and feed one’s soul. It’s more than something you shove down your throat. It can heal, provide and feed,” he says of his gran. She is the inspiration behind his love for cooking and has a fudge recipe that will put you in heaven, he claims. He often uses her recipes as inspiration to make certain dishes his own. Her fudge recipe, though, is one he often uses for weddings. “It takes almost two hours for a small batch. It’s something you work your ass off for, but for that one minute while you eat a block… it feels like you are in heaven!”
Chef Ivan’s own wedding was the actual inspiration behind his wedding catering company, Toast Fine Food. “We did 99% of our own wedding stuff. From design to food. Even the cake (which was a Rice Krispie treat cake).” He says that lockdown has certainly given him time to up his game and see how he will be able to generate more income. One of the ways he has been making an extra income is through consulting. “A lot of people started asking for industry advice and I started offering consultation work to restaurants and wedding venues. It’s a tough industry and sometimes people underestimate it,” he says.
As a travelling chef, his working hours are often very unpredictable. He says balancing family life and being a travelling chef is often a challenge, but that balance is the keyword. “My wife is very disciplined and keeps us all grounded. She is the answer to our balance,” he says. He has a 3-year-old and 8-month-old at home, hence the talk of balance – one of the things we’ve all probably had to practise and perfect the past few weeks.
With Chef Ivan it’s always a mix of old and new and we love it!
Favourite knife brand: “LOL! It’s like asking a woman what her favourite shoe brand is… There’s a lot out there. But I would probably buy anything on Kitchen Samurai’s online store.”
Favourite ingredients: “Onions and garlic.”
Favourite cutlery brand: “No real preference.”
Favourite cooking method: “I LOVE cooking on open fire.”
Biggest chef role model: “Old school: Marco Pierre White. New school: David Chang.”
Favourite Pretoria-based restaurants: “Wood & Fire, Fermier and Pizza Box. Why? Because good food, good food and good food. Also, they never disappoint and do what they do full heartedly.”
Contact Number: 076 234 7731