James Bramman, a former caterer who grew up in South Africa, is owner of Safari, an African-inspired cafe, bar and grill in Newcastle…

One of my most memorable meals… took place in a tiny restaurant in Lefka, Cyprus. It was a simple dish of charcoal-grilled chicken, marinated in olive oil, a little lemon, garlic, basil and oregano. It was the food that inspired me to start cooking.

If I could only eat one kind of food for the rest of my life… it’d have to be Thai. Working long hours, you need energy from your veggies. Saying that, I’d also be quite happy living on a diet of bread, meat, nuts and berries.

I’m originally from Scotland, but grew up in South Africa, so my palette is quite varied... I like all kinds of food, but I’m not a big fish lover. I’ve never had sushi – but one day I’ll try it.

The UK plays host to some of the best food festivals and markets around… Tynemouth Food Festival – one of the few local events we attended when we had our catering business – stands out, as well as Northallerton’s Homegrown Food Festival. We found that the smaller events seemed to care more about what they do, sometimes casting profit to the wind in order to dish up something unique and worthwhile.

If I could eat my way around the world…

I’d have brekkie in Scotland; Lorne sausage in a roll with a potato scone and maybe some Stornoway black pudding. For lunch, I’d fly to Japan and try sushi, at last! I’d have dinner in South Africa.

I’m not a big fan of aeroplane food… I’d rather buy a bag of over-priced crisps from the airport newsagents.

India does the best comfort food in my opinion… For years, my breakfast/brunch of choice was a tomato soup with loads of chilli and black pepper.

If I could travel to one place, anywhere in the world, for one plate of food… it’d be Kenya. There’s a place called Voi, on the western edge of the Nyiri Desert, which I love. It sits on a little hill, serving up 360 degree views of the Savanna. You sit and eat, while herds of elephants trek to the nearby watering hole – not even thirty yards away from the restaurant. They do some of the best steaks in the world (Africa does the best wagyu). I’ll go for rib eye when I can.

I’ve never really been one to order dessert – not when I could be drinking a good glass of wine instead… I do like my coffee, though, so if I had to pick something, I’d go down the Spanish route with a scoop or two of decent vanilla ice cream, churros (maybe just the one) and a hot espresso poured over the top. Not too big, or too sweet.

One of my favourite restaurants… is a fish place in South Africa, just off the coast of Durban, right on the beach. It doesn’t actually have a name, or a proper menu. You eat with sea shells instead of cutlery and there are logs instead of tables. The owner catches the fish himself, prepares it right in front of you on the barbecue, and whatever’s left over goes in to tomorrow’s chowder. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Related Stories