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Recipe for success

Janice Solomons wears many different hats – including being a chef, a lecturer, a wife, a mother, and a daughter – but if this effervescent woman with the easy smile is forced to choose between her different roles, her family wins hands down.

The chef life chose her

Janice believes life guided her to become a chef. She recounts how she gave away her chef jacket in 2009, convinced she was done with the chef life. “Working as a female chef is hard work, long hours on your feet, and mentally challenging.” But, life forced her back to this world, and she ended up working at the Protea Hotel Willow Lake as their head chef.

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Today, Janice is a lecturer in Culinary Studies at the CUT. She loves teaching saying that it has taught her that she must keep abreast of the latest food trends and developments in her field of study.

But, Janice is more than a lecturer; she is also Levert’s wife and a mother to their two daughters, seven-year-old Thalia and five-year-old Hannah. Her smile softens when she says, “Levert is my biggest support and helps me to juggle and navigate our daily family responsibilities, while Thalia is our creative daughter and Hannah our self-assured girl.”

And baby makes five

This little family of four is soon to expand. “We’re very excited about the new addition to our family. I enjoy looking at Thalia and Hannah during this time. They kiss my belly and talk to the baby. They’re so excited and introduce me to people by saying, ‘Mommy is pregnant’,” laughs Janice, adding that she did not always dream of being a mother. “I was scared of babies until I had my own,” she admits in her disarming way.

Choose your words carefully

Janice’s vulnerability shines through when says, “I love how my children love me unconditionally and I can see how my hugs makes things better. I’ve also noticed how much they value my words. This is good, but the downside is that I need to use my words graciously.” This leads her to quoting the saying that mothers worldwide live with constantly: “To be a mother is to have your heart forever walk around outside your body”. Being a mother had made her acknowledge her dependence on God. “You can only take care of your children when they’re in your care but only God can take care of them in the big world”.

Cherishing mothers on Mother’s Day

When asked about Mothers’ Day, Janice declares, “I love it because it’s the perfect day for Daddy to make potjiekos. And it’s a perfect time to think on all the great mommas in our lives. During Covid-19, in 2020, my husband lost his mother and grandmother, so we have a lot to reflect on and be grateful for.” Which brings Janice to her own mother, Grace. “One of my fondest memories is from a day we visited an art gallery. The artworks were mostly in charcoal. I scribbled on paper when we got home; I was so inspired. The next day my mother brought me paper and charcoal. But, I never really pursued this hobby. But, until today, I realise the influence of a mother. You can awaken dreams in your children and speak life into their future.”

4 quick foodie questions:

What’s your answer to fast food?

I don’t have an answer to fast food being a mom with a full time job and studying. I would recommend when buying fast food to choose the healthier options – grilled not fried, and a salad rather than fries.

What’s in your fridge?

Fresh fruit and vegetables. We planted a vegetable garden recently and it has been a great bonding experience for us as a family.

What is your go-to meal when you get home tired after work?

The air fryer cooks everything – between 20 and 30 minutes. This gives me more time for reading, bathing, and praying with my children.

What food do you make to spoil your husband and the girls?

My children love broccoli and spaghetti bolognaise, while my husband is a traditional Free State guy who loves his meat and homemade bread.

Text: MARGARET LINSTRÖM. Photos: PIERCE VAN HEERDEN

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