Last week I was invited to a media lunch hosted by the gorgeous Claire Allen of Masterchef fame. I had to own up when meeting Claire that I didn’t know who she was until that morning when I frantically did a quick Google search before the event. *GASP!!!!! (Not my finest moment but I think honesty is the best policy in times like these)

Now I hear most of you foodies screaming, How on earth can you not know who Claire Allen is? Have you been hiding under a rock? And to answer your question yes I have. You see, in my defense we haven’t had TV/DSTV installed for the last four years. We watch Plex (streamed through a separate server) and Netflix which up until recently has worked out pretty well for us. That is until I met Claire and was reminded of the excitement and anticipation that surrounds a show like Masterchef and how much I really miss out on. I used to follow it religiously and I LOVED it! Now I’m dealing with a serious case of FOMO and trying to get my hands on the reruns!

Getting back to my Google search – I was instantly drawn to the girl who seemed to answer questions with such ease but also seemed to have quirkiness about her that I loved. So when I met her I was happy to learn she was just as down to earth and cute as she is in her you tube videos and online interviews. I was drawn to the way she spoke about food and just her general demeanor.

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We were treated to a delicious 3-course meal with a select few and it was so awesome to meet some new faces. As much as I love the mommy blog community, I thoroughly enjoyed stepping out of my ordinary and talking about different things and the fact that I got to take one of my besties with me who is also a mommy, was a real bonus. We did what most moms do when they are kid free – We got a little pickled, giggled and ate! Here are some pictures of the event, which was hosted at one of the most gorgeous settings, Poseidon Guest House in Hout Bay. Too beautiful for words!

Claire Allen interview

Claire Allen chef

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Angel fish with gnocchi and seafood bisque….. YUM!!!

1. Claire, after meeting you I was struck by how authentic you are in your approach to food. What is food to you?

I love how food tastes, how it can change your mood, how important it is to life and bringing people together. I am all about bold flavours and cooking from the heart.

2. When did your passion for food and cooking start? Who has been your biggest influence in terms of your style of food?

I was very much influenced by my mother and family, we were always in the kitchen cooking. My mom and uncle have been the biggest influences – I’m always on the phone with either one of then getting advice.

3. Before Masterchef what did you do and how has that changed since the show?

I opened my events business Signature Productions when I was 17 years old and spent the last 12 years growing my brand, network and client base. I still run my business, Signature Productions produces Short Chef Skinny Chef; my long-term goal is to merge my love for food and knack for events into a thriving business.

4. What are some of the biggest lessons you have learnt along the way, both personally and in the professional world of cooking?

After watching Burnt last year I cried, I realised that if I had spent the years, determination and courage I spent on events on cooking I could have been an incredible chef and that made me very sad but I realised that the choices we make no matter how small will always lead us to the destination God has chosen for us. When I was 6 years old, my dream was to have my own cooking show and now, 23 years later, I wake up every day and work on making that dream a reality. So I think I’m on track.

5. Tell my readers a bit more about your Short chef Skinny chef partnership.

I saw an opportunity to create a platform for Sipho and I to do what we love – we both have similar passions, interests and goals and it therefore made sense to work on a project together. The name was a no-brainer, the rest is history.

6. What is your go-to recipe for when time is not always a luxury. As a mom of two (and most my readers being moms) we would love to hear some little secrets as to how yummy food doesn’t necessarily have to be elaborate and time-consuming. Share those pearls!

Soup! Most people aren’t aware how fuss-free this is. I was in Perth visiting my mom a few weeks ago on a cold, wet day and she created a pot of vegetable and chorizo soup in just 45 minutes! It was also packed full of vegetables, bonus!

7. I was lucky enough to have a little sneak peek (and taste) into what you will be preparing at The Good Food And Wine Show. (LUCKY ME!!) What else can we look forward to?

I’ll be recreating that dish live in 45 minutes at the Chefs Open Theatre, which im very excited about. On the Short Chef Skinny Chef stage I’ll also be making Chocolate Coffee Whisky Brownies and Coq Au Vin, to name but a few.

8. The Good Food And Wine Show is a world-class event with many top chefs from around the world attending. Firstly congrats for getting your name and brand in there and secondly, who are the chefs and TV personalities you are most looking forward to meeting?

I’ve been fortunate to meet most of the chefs performing at this years show but I am looking forward to meeting local chef Sarah Graham . I really enjoyed her cooking show. I’m also looking forward to meeting George who I need to shoot an Instagram video with saying, BOOM, BOOM, shake the room!

9. I saved the most important question for last . What is your favorite wine and whose kitchen would you drink it in?

I’m crushing hard on Marco Pierre at the moment, and he seems like the type of man who has a similar palate to mine regarding wine, so it would need to be a full body Grenache blended red. I adore wine and I enjoy tasting different wines but I can be a brat: if it’s not good I’ll tell you.


Well, if you guys don’t want to miss seeing this hot little chef in action, be sure to book your tickets to The Good Food And Wine Show in Cape Town this weekend. I refuse to experience any more FOMO so I will be there on Saturday afternoon tasting food and drinking ALL the wine.

Go show some love to Claire’s Facebook Page and you can be kept up to date with her food journey!

Hi I’m Leigh! Did you enjoy reading this post? I really hope so and would love you to stick around a little longer! Please feel free to browse my blog for other articles or to keep up with all the latest news and to be the first to hear about some great competitions, come and find me me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can also email me directly at leeloobaggins@hotmail.com or simply subscribe below and never worry about missing out!
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