One of the aims at West Africa Cooks is to combine food, fun and information to your day whatever the mood. We are lucky enough to have an established Caterer on board who agreed to be take time out of his busy schedule for an interview. Cyril Roy Macauley is a damn good Caterer with years of experience - I should know I have tried him and he does not fit the stereotype of 'late, slow and slapped up greasy ass food in your face with a sweaty smile'. Cyril is concerned with taste, presentation and imagination, his food exhibits the high standards that he places on himself in his industry. If you have standards when it comes to food, he is your man.
So I caught up Cyril Roy Macauley a few weeks ago and this is what he had to say...........................
Where are your parents from?
My Parents are from Sierra Leone
What started off your interest in cooking?
Well at an early age I always loved cooking with my grandmother, she used to get me putting things in the pot and let me think I cooked the dish. It was a great feeling, everyone having a part of something you put together
I started in hotel administration but after qualifying and going into the field I realised that was not what I was passionate about. So I went into catering, the heart wants what the heart wants so I went back to study and spent four years in chef school.
What's the first thing people need to know about becoming a caterer?
You have to be highly skilled and an effective communicator. If you can understand the client’s wants, you will be able to deliver service of a very high quality and of acceptable standards.
What sort of events do you cater for and up to how many people?
Last weekend was a BBQ for five thousand, sometimes private dinners for 10, weddings for 250, it varies depending on the clientele and what they require.
Where are you based?
I am based at Erith in Kent Providing Hospitality for the an International facilities management Company
Does catering pay the bills?
It does but not in a way many people think. The economic climate has made it difficult to achieve good margins on out products. Average food prices have gone up 7.5%. and a lot of people still want to pay the same price for a function today as they did three years ago. This is where the effective communication in our business comes in.
What’s your least favourite African food?
FoFo!!!! What’s the point? Lol
What's your impression of African Restaurants in the West?
There are some very good ones, we are coming along, there is still a long way to go with marketing our dishes over here, we have to shed the darkrooms and cheap furniture culture that makes, some look less professional. We have to get it in our heads that our competitors, brand and design their restaurants. Some African restaurants do that really well most don’t.
I think all ethnic cuisine has been successful had to be fine tuned to accommodate western pallets, once that success has been achieved then you start educating and introducing your customers to stronger flavours. We have to find the best way to educate customers about our cuisine; Presentation is also a key, putting the rice in a bowl mould and flipping it upside down does my head in; that service is so 60s we have to be innovative in our presentations that alone would make people look at our food. Also we as Africans cook too much;; not everything needs to be boiled for six hours. LOL
What do you absolutely love to cook?
Desserts, I would love to have specialise in patisserie
Do you cook at home?
I do sometimes, but I prefer the wife’s dinners more
What range of food does your catering service provide?
We do all sorts I trained with the British Army so our scope is pretty wide mixed with my African background I have a wealth of experience to draw from
Favourite African Food?
It has to be Fried Fish, Beans Akara, Plantains and Mild Pepper Gravy served with Dough Bread. Heaven……..
Favourite African artist?
My listening is so varied, I listen to everything, at the moment I am feeling Shady Baby
Any health tips for African food lovers?
Don’t Deep Fry…… cook in the oven, Less Palm Oil and please we don’t have shares at maggi
Sensible lastly, can you send West Africa cooks a recipe?
Plantain & Fresh Chilli on Rocket & Avocado Salad
I hope you enjoy answering the questions!!
Thanks a lot!