So green it hurts October 21, 2018

Not only is Isibindi Africa Group Executive Chef Carl Moller an incredible chef, talented photographer and sports enthusiast, he has a heart (and fingers) of green. Listen to this story of one man making a difference in rural KwaZulu-Natal:
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“A little while ago I experimented with a few microgreen growing kits and a sprouter.  I was unhappy with the tired looking, well-travelled single variety that was available from our suppliers” explains Chef Carl. “After an initial success I decided to increase production to 10 trays in total and a couple of kg’s of seeds, 15 varieties from radishes, vegetables and herbs, to a few interesting seeds like Red Clover & Lemon Basil. Some are quick growers – around 6 days in total from soaking the seeds (mostly overnight) to cutting and serving. The herbs are generally a bit slower and growth slows down if the weather is rainy and overcast.”
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Selection on the plate from left to right – Green Chard, Red Rambo Japanese Radish, Beetroot & Bright Lights (image by Chef Carl Moller)

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Carl enthuses further: “Last night the entire meal was garnished with in house grown microgreens and sprouts and guests are also noticing how fresh and interesting they are. It seems almost impossible given our location!”
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Concern for the quality of produce served in his restaurants, while having a keen interest in environmental care, Carl is thoughtful about every aspect of his management role. “Not only tasty, trendy and cool, but also the growing of these in-house is reducing our plastic being brought in(less packets and herb tubs). Once I have Perspex lids made for the initial germination to replace clingwrap, no plastic will be generated from this besides the packets the seeds actually are sold in. The growing medium is coco peat (from coconuts) sourced from Eshowe Nursery and the sacks it comes in are already earmarked for re-purposing into beach clean up bags for our guests to use!”
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All of the images in this blog were taken by the chef himself.
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Dorado with ‘Bright Lights’ swiss chard – cooked and photographed by Chef Carl Moller

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