/ Behind the scenes: Sarah Cooks Cape Town /

A Sneak Peek Into Episode 6



If you’re interested in food, chances are that you’re interested in other people’s food too. The context, the stories, the meanings behind, the nuances and the niceties. Well, I certainly am, and so I knew that the chance to cook with Cape Malay kitchen queen and culinary legend Faldela Tolker would be right up there as one of the most interesting, colourful and character-filled food experiences that I could ever conjure up. And I’ve never been happier to be right.

Faldela Tolker might be pint-sized, but oh boy does she cook big.  And live big, and talk big, and just fill every nook and cranny of a room with her vivacious personality until you think the walls might burst. She’s adored in her local Bo-Kaap community, and our wanderings through the streets to the spice shop, butcher and local corner supermarket were dotted with merry greetings and animated exchanges between her and so many passers by. I loved having a window into her life for the two days that we filmed with her. Faldela welcomed us into her home with open arms, and it wasn’t long until we all felt like we were part of her extended family. The whole community, in fact, were immeasurably gracious and hospitable, and we left feeling that this is a very special place, which is only further underlined by the fact that Faldela has friends in far corners of the world who have visited Cape Town, joined one of her kaleidoscopic food safaris and gone home with her story in their hearts.

Faldela started cooking to earn extra money when her first two children were still toddlers. She’d stay up late, get up early, and cook tasty treats to sell to local business people at lunch time. It wasn’t long before she had a thriving enterprise, and then started giving cooking lessons and culinary tours right from her home. And the rest, as they say, is culinary history.

During this episode, you’ll see us make samoosa’s (Faldela-style of course); rotis (with a very special ‘touch’); Cape Malay lamb curry and falooda (a milk, falooda seed and rosewater drink that is unbelievably delicious). Besides amazing food, we were kept very well watered by the wonderful people at BOS Iced Tea. All the food and drinks were then transported to a Faldela’s friend Geeda’s roof and shared with their families and some of the local community members. The breathtaking view of Cape Town at sunset made a very special meal even more memorable. The whole experience is something that I feel very privileged to have been part of. So this is my way of once again saying a very heartfelt thanks to Faldela and all her family and friends who made us so welcome.

And thank you, too, to my friend Mark Chittenden for taking so many of the amazing pictures that you can see in the blog posts and recipes relating to this Episode. We wish we could have had you on set full time!

First things first, fresh ingredients. We took to the streets to visit the local spice shop, butcher and corner store.

Chris (our Director), Faldela and Rita (production assistant) trying their hand at folding samoosa’s Faldela’s way

Clearly, she’s a pretty good teacher

Faldela’s beautiful home in the Bo-Kaap. They all have their own colour and style, and with that, their own stories.

Caro (assistant food stylist) hard at work


Close-ups of Faldela folding samoosas

Nicola (co-executive producer), myself and Rita, very very happy with our Haas coffees from down the road.

Nic and Chris

Janine (stylist and make-up) with our bounty of samoosas, and Geeda, who hosted us for meals while we were filming.
We transported everything to a Geeda’s roof for one of the most scenic dinners I’ve ever been lucky enough to enjoy.


The most incredible backdrop to any meal – endless views over Cape Town

Nicola and I absorbing the view

And so, happy hearts around a full and merry table. What could be better?