Who is Neill Anthony?
Neill Anthony is first and foremost a cook with a massive passion for ingredients and the people that produce them, without amazing ingredients our job as cooks/chefs is made impossible and not fun at all.
I get really excited about stuff like white asparagus, wild mushrooms, local rare breed meat – it gets me out of bed in the morning. I can’t wait to cook ingredients like this whether it be in a lavish multi course dinner for a client or just grilling some asparagus and eating it with garlic mayo.
So I am a cook. I will never stop cooking and will never get bored of it. It makes me happiest and also makes others happy which is what its all about. As chefs and cooks we do sometimes forget that thats what we are here to do.
What’s your best childhood memory?
My best childhood memory does revolve around food. I come from a big family and we were always in the kitchen. My mom is a massive inspiration when it comes to my food journey. She is an amazing cook.
The super power of food is that it brings people together and as a family we were always brought together by a simple plate of great home cooked food.
A specific memory would be my dads french toast on a Saturday morning, fried in bacon fat. How we are a family of super fit thin kids I don’t know.
If you had a chance for a “do-over” in life, what would you do differently?
I am not sure what I would do differently. There are of course things that we all wish we didn’t say or do in life but we live with the consequences of these actions and get on with it.
I would love to have been a professional golfer but I am shit at golf so that never happened.
I honestly believe I was put on this planet to cook
What do you feel most proud of?
I am most proud of my TV show “the private chef” its gone global I mean its aired in 98 countries so thats a big acomplishment I reckon.
The most important thing is thats its not just my accomplishment its myself and a team of people that go through months of pre production then a solid month of shooting and then more work in post production to bring it all together.
If you could keep only 3 possessions, what would they be and why?
My dads comrades green number card, I carry it with me were ever I go so that I have a piece of him with me. He ran 16 comrades marathons in a row so its very inspirational. My thermomix. It blends anything. My nespresso coffee machine. I know people think its a cheat’s coffee but I really do love mine.
Have to add a 4th… my iPhone 🙂
What would you want your tombstone to say?
I would like to have my tombstone to be surrounded by sunflowers and encourage people to take them and give them to someone else. It would say: “Here stands Neill he cooked till the end.” Keep it simple.
What is Neill Anthony, Private Chef?
Neill Anthony, Private Chef is a true representation of what my life is like – it’s all about food and people. It’s a food focused lifestyle show that celebrates South African produce and producers. Its also just really fun to watch and shoot.
What’s your favorite kind of coffee?
My favourite coffee is whatever I am drinking at the time. It ranges from expensive to instant but I love it all.
I do try to drink as much local coffee as possible and this is where trust comes in as we need to trust our coffee sellers and shops to give us what it says on the box. It’s the same with food. We place so much trust in our suppliers and super markets to give us organic, free range, etc, but this is all we can do is trust them. That’s why I build up a great relationship with my suppliers.
I do like a flat white. It seems to be the thing at the moment but as mentioned before I do love my nespresso machine.
I always order a double shot of coffee otherwise its just coffee flavoured milk.
In which coffee shops are we likely to bump into you?
What does a perfect day look like?
My perfect day will always revolve around cooking and food, whether its for friends, family or clients.
What’s the most important lesson a private chef should learn?
The most important lesson a private chef can learn is to drop you chef ego. Your client can afford to eat out at the best restaurants in the world all the time and they sometimes just want a great plate of well cooked food. So give them what they want and leave all the frilly cheffy shit for your instagram page.
Any other advice for young cooks?
To all the young cooks out there being in the food industry at the moment is very exciting. Yes, chefs are the new rock stars. But stay grounded. Yes, you may have a sleeve tattoo, top knot, hand stitched denim apron, fancy tweezers to plate your food on your hand crafted ceramic plates, but if it looks great and tastes like shit no one is going to eat. Take a step back and build your knowledge around the ingredients, pick a carrot out the ground and eat it, eat an oyster out the ocean, go to a farm and see how the animals are treated and slaughtered. Appreciate this then go cook.
Cover image captured by De Leça Media