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Chefs Of Cape Town - Chef Mary - Queen of Spicey Cuisine

Updated: Dec 15, 2020

We recently caught up with Mary Felaar , an amazing individual who, has not only been a hands-on guide in the kitchen but a mentor to us in starting up our social enterprise project and getting our Food Delivery Service; Kitchen Republik off the ground

From the first time my partner introduced me to Mary, she continually amazed me. Her composed demeanour, kind smile, and immense knowledge on all things food was something to behold.

An entrepreneur, skilled chef, passionate traveller, friend and mother; Mary optimise what it means to be a female entrepreneur in South Africa.

It has been, although short, a privilege getting to know her. She has offered us guidance through our new venture and a helping hand in the kitchen (where we need it most). On every encounter, we eagerly wait with pen in hand to soak up all the know-how Mary has to offer.

Mary has recently started parting ways with her involvement in the food services industry as she fulfils her passion for travel, which has seen her visit places like Russia, Vietnam, South America over the past few years.

Before she embarks on another journey we caught up with her to get a bit more insight into cooking, her food career and food services in Cape Town

Q: What was your first memory with food and being in the kitchen:

A:“It is tough to remember. I must have been about 6 years old having my first memory of cooking food in the kitchen. When I was about 10 years old. I remember my mom and I cooking in the kitchen; My sister was newly born and my mother had to look after her and I was already making whole meals for the family at 10 years old”.

Q: What is your favourite food or ingredients to cook with:

A:“Thyme. Thyme is my go to ingredient. I use it in almost every meal I make. It is a really versatile ingredient and relatively cheap and an ingredient I keep in the kitchen for all my cooking……. Thyme and thyme again".

Q: What kitchen tool can you not cook without:

“This has to be my kitchen tongs. I absolutely love them and find myself using them even when it is not required. You will not find me in any kitchen cooking any meals without my old faithful kitchen tongs".

Q: What is your favourite dish?:


Q:What is your best memory as a chef?

“I have many great memories of cooking and being a chef. One that particularly comes to mind was a 100 pax wedding in Gordons Bay. It was a perfect day where everything went perfectly to plan. I watched perfection unfold and it felt great. The client felt it to, the food was amazing and it supported to make a perfect wedding day”.

Q: What is your worst memory as a chef?:

This has to be every time the quo’s get to long for my food and my kitchen is at capacity. It has happened a few times but it is my worst fear; not being able to serve all my customers my delicious food".

Q: Who taught you how to cook?:

”My mother introduced me to cooking from a very young age. She used to bake and taught me the basics. At first I hated it as I had to do it in my private time and it felt like a choir. However, I soon took a liking to it and the kitchen became a place where you could express creativity and experimentation through food and cooking. By the time I was fourteen I was able to cook and bake an entire wedding cake. I definitely trace all my cooking back to my mother and the kitchen I was brought up in”.

Hungry for Mary's amazing food? You can order her Food Delivery Service through Kitchen Republik. Have a look to see if she has posted a menu for this week :

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