Introducing our food contributor Kate Liquorish, who is an award-winning actress you may recognise from local television productions such as Queen Sono, Still Breathing and other well-known shows and films. However, it is her lesser-known role as the creator behind the Instagram account Joburg Eats (@joburgeats) that has the city hungry for all she shares. Liquorish describes herself as a "perfectionist" and a "wine-swilling actress who loves food and hates noisy eaters". With success in both the acting and food world, we just had to track her down for an interview on what makes a good meal, where to find it in Joburg and more insights into the city.
"The beautiful, crazy, whacky, different, wonderfully warm people will make you fall in love with this city."
What made you venture into starting Joburg Eats?
I was writing for several food publications and wanted to create a space that was my own, where I could celebrate great restaurants and food without being censored.
An accomplished actress and a lover of food and wine. What came first, and how?
Acting. I was a natural-born drama queen. If I hurt myself you'd hear about it for days after. For my parents, I think it was equal parts exhausting and hilarious. But I've also always loved food and cooking. I consider myself an all-round creative person who finds joy in experiencing and making art of all forms.
What brought you to Joburg or makes you stay here?
Born and bred. I love the energy and hustle of Joburg. There's electricity in the air, both literally and figuratively, and I don't get that same feeling in any other city in South Africa. And, of course, the people. The beautiful, crazy, whacky, different, wonderfully warm people will make you fall in love with this city.
Joburg vs. Cape Town? How would you describe what makes the food scene in these two cities stand out?
Cape Town is extremely cosmopolitan, it's boujee, high-brow and wonderfully indulgent, you can go there and experience fine dining and fabulous views for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Joburg is more eclectic; I find it's more about the overall experience, which is often not at all cosmopolitan. Often, for example, you can go somewhere with bad service, great food, fascinating people, a gritty environment and a hit-and-miss drinks menu and have the time of your life.
Worst ingredient to see on a plate?
A pansy flower garnish.
Key to your heart when it comes to food?
A dish with a story: a recipe passed down, or something inspired by someone they've met. It has to be linked to someone's personal experience because you can taste the love. And if it's lacking, you can also taste that.
If you could make all Joburg restaurants implement one practice to improve their offering, what would it be?
To stop trying to offer something for everyone, just to stay true to their ethos. When I'm handed a 10-page menu I want to cry.
Where my family is.
Go-to meal at home?
Vibrant salads (often without lettuce) and seriously smashing dressings. Fresh herbs and lemon feature a lot.
Your favourite Joburg suburb, and why you choose it?
Rosebank. I love that you can walk everywhere and that that there is so much going on. You can get a meal for R50, R500 and R5,000 in the space of a kilometre. You can listen to live music on the rooftop of Radisson RED Rosebank, have a glass of Champagne at 54 on Bath, cocktails at Sin+Tax, get a gourmet soft serve at The Pantry, take your toddler to Joy Jozi, get Greek street food at Soul Souvlaki and go to gritty nightclubs.
What three things should a visitor not leave Joburg without seeing or experiencing?
1. Going for dinner at Les Créatifs in Bryanston, what Chef Wandile Mabaso is doing there is just phenomenal (read all about lunch date at Les Créatifs here).
2. Go for a drink on the Rooftop at Hallmark House. The views across the city are unmatched.
3. Go to the Yeoville Dinner Club and experience the joy that is Sanza's [Sandile's] 'Pan Afrikan Plate'.
The most memorable meal you have eaten in Joburg?
It's a tie between Les Créatifs in Bryanston and Yeoville Dinner Club. Completely different, but they both encapsulate so much of the city and our people.
Your last meal – what would be on the plate and with whom would you want to eat it?
I'd want to eat a meal surrounded by my family and friends with wine flowing and laughter reverberating off the walls. And great music playing in a sunny, daytime setting. Funnily enough, the food comes into the equation last. I think simple food, something that could be eaten with your hands, probably a curry with lots of sambals, dhal and naans to lap it all up...
As the mother of a small child, what do you consider the top food experience when eating out with a toddler in Joburg?
If you want to enjoy a nice meal don't take them with you :) Jokes aside, I think open spaces are vital, if they can roam then everyone's happy. We had a fantastic meal at The Old Oak Restaurant and Family Centre in Linksfield a little while back. What a great spot: unbelievably good food, superb service, great wine list, reasonably priced and an amazing outdoor space for the kids to play. I think it's my number one child-friendly restaurant in Joburg. (Read our guide to kiddie- and adult-friendly places and spaces in Joburg).
The last thing you want to see on a plate in Joburg?
Not sure. Tramezzini maybe? All those fillings plus extra melted cheese in such an enormous whack of bread. Not my thing.
If you could buy one Joburg building which would it be?
Victoria Yards maybe? Not sure what I'd do with it though. I just love going there.
If you were the Joburg mayor for one day (average tenure) what would you change?
The pavements. Trying to navigate them with a pram has really made me think about anyone living with a disability in the city and how difficult it must be to get around.
Favourite Joburg label, and why?
This makes me realise how untrendy I am. I've had to sit and think on this really hard. The last super boujee premiere I went to I was lucky enough to wear a Marianne Fassler design and it was gorgeous. Pink ostrich feathers and silver leather. I was sold the moment I tried it on. She's a genius and so OTT (over-the-top). We need more of that. More statements.
What makes someone a Joburger?
Inviting you round for something and meaning it.
What do you love most about Joburg?
So many, many things, but mostly the fact that it's so representational of all the different walks of life that we have in South Africa. You can find whatever you're looking for, you just have to seek it out.
What do you least like about Joburg?
The pollution at the moment feels out of control. We need to get a hold on it.
Your number-one tip for a first-time visitor to Joburg?
Be open, get out, meet people, try new things, taste everything, say yes, don't take selfies on the street and follow Johannesburg In Your Pocket for things to do.
The perfect weekend in Joburg includes...
Friday sundowner at Sin+Tax or Acid Food & Wine Bar. Dinner could be takeaway Oishi on the couch. Saturday walk at Delta Park early in the morning, pick up some croissants from Patisserie de Paris, maybe a little market visit, or breakfast at Salvation Cafe at 44 Stanley. Or if we're there for lunch, it's at Little Addis to visit Kassa (the owner) for a chat and some delicious Ethiopian food. Late afternoon drinks in my garden: my signature tequila negronis or a delicious Chardonnay. Sunday brunch at Séjour at The Houghton Hotel. Okay, I'm full.
Three words that describe this city
Hustle. Sunshine. Boom.
Check out some of our previous #MyJoburg interviews for more insights into the city:
#MyJoburg with Tamzyn Botha, director at Shade Brixton
#MyJoburg with Yasmin Furmie, content creator and co-owner of SiSi The Collection
#MyJoburg interview with entrepreneur, Olwethu Leshabane.