Owner & Head Chef
Marthinus Ferreira is the inspiration behind DW11-13, one of Johannesburg’s most innovative restaurants. He loves charcoal cooking, as his stint as a judge on Ultimate Braai Master proved. And when it comes to charcoal cooking, he loves Big Green Egg!
How long have you been cooking with a Big Green Egg?
I’ve had mine over a year now and I use it a lot for smoked dishes such as quail and chicken. I’ve also got a foie gras dish on my menu that I serve with a smoked meringue cooked on the Big Green Egg.
Do you find the Big Green Egg a versatile piece of cooking equipment?
Very much so. As well as smoking, you can cook foods at very high heat to sear in the flavour and then bring the heat right down to finish the cooking process. I like to cook really thick steaks like that. This method cooks them to perfection but retains all of the juices and flavours of the meat.
Are you a fan of the ‘low and slow’ method of cooking?
It’s the best way to cook something like a leg of lamb. I marinade a leg of lamb for 12-24 hours in lemon juice and yoghurt, seasoned with garlic, rosemary and a little paprika. Then I seal it quickly in the Egg, lower the heat right down for hours and wait for the magic to happen.
What else are you cooking?
Charred vegetables are a big favourite of mine. At the moment I’m cooking a lot of broccoli. You just blanch your broccoli, brush with a chilli, garlic and sesame seed marinade and char grill to get that smoky, blackened flavour. I go through 20 punnets of broccoli a week in my restaurant!
You are known for your innovative and constantly changing menus. What inspires you?
I like to experiment with food and flavours, using ingredients in different ways. I worked with Heston Blumethal for 2 years and he’s famous for being experimental. Over the last 8 years I’ve developed my own style, based on the ingredients and cooking methods that I enjoy. On my next menu, I’m planning a smoked milk dish.
Yes, I’m going to dehydrate some milk mixed with a little gelatine to get a result that’s a little like meringue but with a milky taste. Then I’ll smoke that in the Big Green Egg to finish. I’ll serve this with a carrot and caramel pudding accompanied by a Tonka bean sauce. (NB: Tonka bean is a South American bean that is used as a flavouring in a similar way to vanilla).
Are all of your dishes unique?
I have 9 course tasting menus where I like to offer something a little different but I also have an a la carte menu which features the more traditional, popular dishes. One has to have the old favourites although I do put my own stamp on them.
What’s planned for the future?
I’m planning to open another restaurant in the next 18 months. I’ve found a location so now I’m busy designing what the restaurant will look like. I’m going to have an open plan kitchen so that diners can see the action in the kitchen. I’d love to have a Big Green Egg in pride of place as they are good looking and an essential piece of kitchen equipment.