Down-to-earth and real. That’s Kamini Pather…  - Millstone

At Millstone, we like things to be down to earth and organic. We’re all about staying genuine and pouring our heart and soul into what we do. It’s for these reasons and more that we feel such an affinity for Kamini Pather and are so glad that she’s agreed to be a Millstone Ambassador. This young and passionate MasterChef winner is making waves in the cooking world, as she forges her path to a bright future paved with amazing foods and forthright values. We chatted to Kamini to discover a bit more about her and her self-confessed obsession with food!

Millstone Flour: Hi Kamini, thanks for taking the time to chat to us. Where in the world are you right now?

Kamini: I am everywhere all of the time! After 9 exquisite years in Cape Town, I relocated to Jozi in January 2015. Having said that though, I am currently visiting my parents in Durbs. I keep saying that I have to travel in my blood. My mum writes it off to ants in my pants.

Millstone Flour: Hahaha! That is such a Durban saying… How would you best describe yourself and what you do?

Kamini: I like to think of myself as a performer within the food world. When I host TV or radio, as well as when I demonstrate cooking techniques or host dinners, I bring the story of the food to life. I am always reminded of the day that I got to sit in the front row of Gordon Ramsay’s cooking demo. He is a performer. I don’t recall what he cooked, but his energy and ability to entertain around the food was certainly there. He is one of my inspirations.

Millstone Flour: Well, we hope your language isn’t as colourful as Chef Ramsay’s when you entertain! How did your love affair with food begin?

Kamini: Like most people, my love affair with food began as a child in my grandmothers’ and mother’s kitchens. I am the eldest grandchild (and child) and was always seated on the kitchen countertop or in the thick of the Sunday lunch preparation. I always knew that food was the reason why the people I cared about were gathering.

Millstone Flour: Ah yes, you’re a girl after our own hearts! We’ve always seen food as the vehicle to unite people. That said, when you were cooking in the Masterchef kitchen, thoughts of family gatherings must have been far from your mind. Was it as stressful as it looks?

Kamini: It’s more stressful than it looks, actually. The key was always to approach each day and challenge with a fresh mind, whether I won or not. Having said that though, it was a life-changing competition. I now have a platform and voice within the food world. It was that voice that allowed me to have my own food-travel show, Girl Eat World.

Millstone Flour: Girl Eat World looked like an amazing adventure. Tell us a little about it. How did it come about?

Kamini: It was my food dream coming true! It was entirely indulgent, in that it was about me and my life. Before MasterChef, I was an active blogger and Girl Eat World showcases me travelling around the world to 10 cities (Johannesburg, Bangkok, Tokyo, Sydney, Lima, Philadelphia, Milan, Berlin, Copenhagen and Dubai) to meet with fellow bloggers, who were my insider’s guide to the city. They all introduced me to new flavours and experiences that included a few adrenaline-pumping segments. The bungee jump off the Orlando cooling towers, the base-flying in Berlin – all ways to summon my appetite for the rest of the day.

Millstone Flour: Yes, those looked like the type of activities that would make the next meal taste that much better. So aside from leaping off buildings, what else inspires you?

Kamini: There is too much emphasis put on outlandish inspiration, I get inspired by produce, food that I eat in restaurants or friends’ homes and historical food that my mum or gran made. Moments inspire me. Much like a certain song or hue can be paired with a meeting of minds, birthday or epiphany, so can flavours.

Millstone Flour: That is really profound. So out of all the places you visited, which was your favourite?

Kamini: They were all incredible and I’m not just saying that. Tokyo and Copenhagen were amazing for a similar reason – they simply work as First World cities. Public transport was phenomenal and the level of design really spoke to my soul. Bangkok and Lima were chaotic and honest. The people were humble and unashamed with their pungent flavours. Berlin was a hub of creative energy, where the youth really does take creative careers to the next level. And I got to see Jozi in a way that I never had before: through the eyes and tastebuds of its pan-African identity.

Millstone Flour: Talking of pan-African identity, do you have any interesting behind-the-scene stories from Masterchef?

Kamini: I have told this story a few times but it’s a goodie. On our flight to Ethiopia, I met Chef Benny at the bathroom. He had his headphones on and when I asked what he was listening to, he handed them to me. It was hip hop – my best! He was listening to 16 Bars by Notorious B.I.G.!

Millstone Flour: So Benny’s a hip-hopper! We would never have guessed. Did you discover any interesting baked items during your travels?

Kamini: I do recall standing in a market in Berlin, where I met a third-generation baker who was in his early 30’s – as they all seem to be in that city. He manned his family’s Italian bakery in Kreuzberg. I remember him kneading the dough in a way that I think only true-blooded foodies would consider attractive. The way that he used his hands to create bread really was a feat to behold and would turn anyone off their Banting trip in a heartbeat! *swoon*

Millstone Flour: Ah yes… Kneading with love. We know exactly what you mean. What is most important to you in the creation of unique meals?

Kamini: The MasterChef judges always urged us to put a piece of ourselves on the plate. They said that no dish would be as good unless it was personal, and I believe that. Your heritage, your experience and your creativity come together with the best quality products to deliver a meal that stands out in the crowd.

Millstone Flour: That’s how we feel about our flour! Tell us a little about some of your baking memories and experiences. Have you always enjoyed baking?

Kamini: As most people do, I started baking with my mum when I was old enough to hold the bowl. I would sit on the counter and cream the butter and sugar. I remember sticking my fingers into the bowl to get slivers of that fluffy, yellow treat. We would bake vanilla cupcakes that my mum has always called Queen Cakes. For my 4th birthday, my mum and I made Butterfly Cakes for me to take to school for my friends. They were Queen Cakes with the domed tops cut off and replaced by a cap of whipped, fresh cream with the tops re-appropriated as wings. They were so much more interesting than anyone else’s gifts to the class and I recall being proud that I had helped make them.

My gran is also a phenomenal baker and she has always made free-formed scones with raisins (yes, raisins) in them. Her nimble fingers would move the dough into attention with mesmerising precision.

Millstone Flour: Hmmmm… We might have to chat to your mom and gran about those recipes. Are you fussy about the ingredients you use?

Kamini: Of course I am. You are what are you eat, no? I read labels, I look for signals of quality: artisan, handmade, organic, etc.

Millstone Flour: Well said! What do you consider your greatest culinary achievement so far?

Kamini: Cooking Luke Dale Roberts’ dish in the penultimate episode of MasterChef. I adore Luke and his food. I did a stage at The Test Kitchen after MasterChef and I got a glimpse as to why he is the number one chef in the country. So many people working towards perfection.

I also got to cook for Halle Gabriel Salassie in Ethiopia. He is a legend, whilst still being incredibly humble. He also finished every morsel of my food, which is the ultimate compliment.

Millstone Flour: Those are two incredible feats! Talking of ultimate compliments, we were delighted when we saw that you’d posted a photo on your Instagram account with our Millstone Flour bag. What is it that you like/love about our brand and product?

Kamini: That was entirely coincidental because I went to Glenwood Bakery, as I always do when I am in Durban. Their product is the best in the city and I’m a sucker for anything baked. I bought too many things, as I tend to do, and instead of giving me a plastic bag to take my treasures home, I was given a Millstone Flour bag. On my stroll back to my parents home I took a selfie. And the rest, as they say, is history.

After having visited the Millstone Mill and learning a bit more about the product, I am not surprised about the high quality of goods being produced with Millstone Flour at The Glenwood Bakery. With quality ingredients, the world is your oyster. Yes, it all starts there.

Millstone Flour: You’ll make our millers blush! Where to from here for Kamini?

Kamini: Season 2 of Girl Eat World has gone into pre-production. I would like to produce a book, as well as do some international press. I’m also working on two other food travel shows, so sit tight for the unveiling. You can follow me on any social media platform as KaminiPather – Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and SnapChat.

Millstone Flour: Thanks, Kamini! We can’t wait to see what you get up to next!

Keep a lookout for Season 2 of Girl Eat World on the Food Network, and make sure to follow Kamini’s journey on all of her social network platforms. This is a Durban lady who is going places!