Food & Laughs

It’s been almost a month of no Thursday nights entertaining for others, and Thursday nights for both of us doing Thursday night Joburg things. I’ve always loved Thursdays - app i was born on a Thurs, but i also remember that my first horseriding lessons happened then (a big shout out to Why Not, a 12ft demon pony), my first (as of 14 yrs) watching live music experiences and other Thursday night escapades not fit for print.

And because of South Africa’s rather odd (read fn crazy) past, others also heart the Thursday : Thursday was Maid’s Night Off - bonus for Apartheid sufferers all over the country. (Maid’s Night Off was a headline made by Spur to advertise their Thurs specials, inviting all the Anglo-Saxons & Afrikaners to come n tuck into a big juicy T bone. Crazy.)

Herewith (i like that word in emails, i like it a lot) pictures of people having a nice time on a Thurs.

Much love,
K, Kate, K8, Katie, K80, Kathryn


After vacating our last beautiful space, with thanks to our benefactors, we relied on the kindness of CO-OP (DOKTER AND MISSES & WHATIFTHEWORLD in collaboration with OPEN) on Juta to host our street dinner.


The traumatic and completely unexpected experience of making food for people during the first phase of Mess has brought me/us to a point of, without any hyperbole, a COMPLETE and fundamental re-evaluation of my relationship with food. This re-evaluation has also, in my personal body and life been forced by an awareness that I am an emotional eater (and probably feeder too). Having puked 4 weeks ago while dancing, sober and stuffed from diner, I was acutely aware that 5 years of carbohydrate-smashing and plus-minus 20 kilograms had brought me only thousands of rands less in my account and a 36-38 pants size.

The quandary is: I cant just stop eating, but no longer find any pleasure in food; and cant stop cooking because the 6 months of Mess bookings show me that people are clearly interested in what we are doing.

Mess will now move into a second phase of exploration. The first was characterized a generous naivety - cook large portions made from healthy ingredients, passion and ideas about old-fashioned rustication. This approach has left me hungerless and nauseated. Phase 2 will begin by with a re-evaluation of principles I have frankly taken for granted, perhaps because I was drunk on my own arrogant Epicureanism. The forthcoming Messes will reflect our disenchantment and seek to: (1) reflect on our personal confusion at serving a cooking for others and the relationships formed in this process; (2) explore what it means for us and others to pay for food; (3) evaluate whether we/I should be eating so much; (4) interrogate the bias we have towards romanticized notions of whole food, organics etc; (5) explore people’s excitement to participate in our experiment.

Closed for a European Summer/African Winter

You know how the Europe peoples go on holiday for a month or two.

Mess is on holiday.

I know it seems illogical in these exciting times, but we’ll be popping up in September, when it’s Spring. And we’re booked out for September too. This isn’t such a “oooo” moment - there are 4 sittings a month, with 16 people per sitting.

In the meantime there are some things we’ve discovered.


  1. No Vegetarians. Sorry guys, but if we want to fry crostini in bacon fat, you (v) will need a separate pan (washed) with separate oil. We’ll have a full veg night in the futures, but not now. It’s also the anxious, often underfed look of the vegetarian’s eyes that put me into a spin. I know you’re hungry, I know you’re paying R200 for much much less than the others. I know it’s not fair that you are being the good one, while the rest of us are chewing up with the world with our yen for meat. It’s not fair. But such is your choice.

  2. No Menu plans. EVER> I know it’s your Special Day, but it’s too confusing. Joburg being an industry place, there have been quite a few peoples who can’t bear the surprise (you can put the word CTRL in there somewhere. Bear the surprise. It’s worth it.

  3. No water. We DON’T SERVE WATER. Bring WATER. POUR IT.


  1. Joburg people are pretty amazing. We never quite know who will b sitting down. And how much they will laugh, eat, chat, sing, dance, cry or speech (many a Birthday). It’s great to know that the city is wide and diverse and sometimes baffling and that, when breaking bread, friendships can be made.

  2. The reaction to new food. Good on you guys!! My fav is the rabbit reaction. Being the hardcore type who has a rabbit tattoo (and a butterfly - Belle du Jour would not call me a Scary Bitch) i particularly like to watch people’s faces when they see bunny in a bowl. Then there is the open mouthed horror of the giant cooked … salami , sitting cut, atop lentils. Hahahhaha.

  3. The security guys. So far, our biggest fans. About five on any given night, these guys make sure no tsotsis (or cops) bust into our glass bowl. We make sure they get all the leftovers. I give them a rundown on what the food is and when i return they give me feedback on what they liked and what they didn’t. Top Dish: Steak Tartare. 2nd fav. White Chocolate Cake with fresh figs. ( The other night I had to march back across the road and stand, hand on hips, and say: “Give it back”. The man sheepishly - no argument, i can be very strict - wriggled his hand into a nearby window frame and extracted …. one of our knives. they don;t make bone crockery like they used to and Rumble’s set can cut into ANYTHING. I would also steal it. )

So in summary (hahahhaha) email me on and I will let you know when we’re next popping up.

If you got my number in a newsletter that went out - BAD TIMING, I know :( - I apologise for not answering my phone, but - really! - I’m at the Wild Coast, at an old 40s holiday beachside hotel resort thing (it even has a broken trampoline) and I will be back and I will answer your email. Soon.

K80 xx

Christmas in July

As promised, herewith (belated, yet 6 months early) Xmas*

This is how things began: We’re being good.

Turkey, beans and almonds, three salads (beetroot and gorgonzola, green slaai and butternut and parmesan), ham, potatoes, gravies and … more.

Goths. Scarier than Emos. Especially in 2010. With cork on their faces.

About 100 cork photos later and vast gallons of yuletide wine.

The favour is returned.

Oh, look. Cake.


I’m coming to get you.

I hate you guys.

  • I do feel weird about that X - but it is from the Greek for Christ and it’s been used since the 16thC (date source: the wiki) and if you look at the above picture of this rather scary looking stranger, you’d probably agree an X is more than appropriate.