Home-cooked goodness

Five failed business attempts. Enough to make anyone throw in the towel. But not in Samantha Boshoff’s case. She was determined to find her mojo. And she did! A side hustle which turned out to become her success story … whipping up delish home-cooked meals. So you don’t have to!

Growing up, Samantha Boshoff was raised to have an entrepreneurial mindset. To have a vision and mission. Ultimately, to become her own boss. Turn her ideas
into reality. The latter of which she had many of.

“I’ve had a few not-so-successful business attempts. A nail salon, Pilates studio, event equipment hiring and starting a small food truck business … the last one involved catering for events. In between, I studied hospitality, followed by chef school, did an internship at a restaurant and then got a job. So, some of my business ventures I juggled while working full time. Crazy? I know. Unfortunately, or actually, fortunately, none of them were sustainable enough to quit my job and do them full time.”

Little did Samantha know that her big break would come when a friend and personal trainer, knowing she was quite the whizz in the kitchen, asked her to prep some diet meals for him. Before she knew it, she was cooking meals for almost all of his clients. Could this be the opportunity Samantha has been dreaming about? Indeed!

“I couldn’t keep up with all the cooking so I quit my job and started Sam’s Kitchen. Yay! Originally only focussing on lean meals, until this became a bit boring. I felt there was a need for healthy, but still proper, home-cooked meals. For people who’re too busy or tired to make dinner after work, but also for those who want to eat healthier, but struggle to do so because of the price, lack of clarity about whether a product is healthy and the struggle to find certain items in stores.”

It became clear that this time Samantha was on the right track. Steadily her business started to bloom. Amped to make this venture a long-lasting success, Samantha would put on her chef’s uniform and walk with a cool, calm and collected attitude into companies reception areas, schools – wherever she was allowed – with brochures and samples of her food. It paid off. Honestly, who wouldn’t mind a home-cooked meal after a tough day at work?

“For many years I operated Sam’s Kitchen from my parent’s kitchen, hustling from early mornings to midnight. Uhm, had to replace a few items in the process as well … Hahaha. After searching just about everywhere, I found a place with a magnificent industrial kitchen. Any chef’s dream! I finally found the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.”

Samantha hired staff members to lighten her load, extended her services and changed her menu more often. Now she does healthy desserts, smoothies, juice cleanses, diet programmes, Sunday roasts, salads, wraps, subs, anti-inflammatory menus, make your own meal in a box, keto, vegan, vegetarian and paleo meals, and … and … and. Bonus … regardless of what you order, the portions are generous and healthy.

Although super passionate about clean food, and after doing courses on Nutrition, Samantha admits she wasn’t always health conscious. After doing a 180 degree health change and growing her own veggies, she started noticing a change in her energy levels, hormone balance, memory and concentration, stress levels, skin, fitness and so much more. She was excited to share her journey with others.

“Does this mean that every single choice in my day neatly and perfectly lines up with what’s ideally healthy? No. I do believe in the elimination of all junk food, but the reality is that most people, including myself, will cave in sometimes. If I crave something, I allow myself to have it. When I chat to clients about their health goals, I want them to be able to stick with it. Unless someone has incredible life-long willpower, no one is going to be able to resist bad food forever. In fact, I don’t want you to. I rather recommend that you keep tabs on your indulgences and make sure your plan is realistic.”

There are great substitutes Samantha advises to try – brown rice instead of pasta, mashed cauliflower instead of potato mash, homemade frozen fresh fruit lollies instead of ice cream, 70 per cent dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate, plant-based milk instead of cow’s milk (if you don’t handle dairy well), homemade sugar and gluten-free desserts instead of normal desserts, a nut bar instead of chocolate, sugar-free oats and date bars instead of biscuits, unbuttered MSG-free flavoured popcorn instead of chips.

There’s some exciting prospects on the cards for Samantha. Think interactive cooking classes and a small sit-down menu. Publishing a recipe book and hopefully having her own cooking show one day discussing all things health and food related.

“Looking back, I’ll be forever grateful to my dad for not handing everything to me on a silver platter. For pushing me and refusing to be an ATM. My mom for always involving us when she cooked. All of this shaped me to become the best version of myself.”

Samantha’s cooking hacks
1. Those “burnt” bits left at the bottom of a pan after frying your meat or onions, aren’t actually burnt. It’s pure flavour. Simply deglaze your pan with wine or stock to lift that flavour into your sauce.
2. To prevent onion from making you cry, do not cut the base of the onion off. This will cause it to bleed. Also try washing it before you cut it, or keep some water in your mouth while slicing.
3. Add lemon to a dish instead of salt as an instant and healthier flavour enhancer.
4. To get your veggies and potatoes to roast better and crispier, don’t overcrowd your pan.
5. To get the perfect colour and crust on your meat, allow the meat to sit before turning. Make sure your pan is sizzling hot, don’t overcrowd your pan, and make sure your meat is dry before adding to the pan.
6. Avoid overcooking your veggies and losing their vitamins by blanching them in boiling water for a few minutes and then submerging them directly into ice cold water. This will retain the beautiful colour too.
7. Before cooking your meat, ensure it’s at room temperature – this will prevent the outside from overcooking while the inside cooks slower. When taking your meat off the pan out of the oven, allow it to rest before cutting into it. This will help retain the juices so that the flavour doesn’t go pouring out.

A healthy side dish to serve on Braai Day:
Refreshing broccoli salad
You’ll need: 1 cup mayonnaise (I prefer Woolies or Hellman’s Mayo); ½ cup sour cream (optional); 2 Tbsp honey; 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar; salt and pepper to taste; 4 cups broccoli florets; ½ cup dried cranberries; 1 apple, skin on, diced; 1 cup almonds, chopped; ½ cup red onion, diced finely; grated cheddar cheese, to cover; sprinkle of fresh parsley

To make: For the sauce – In a bowl, mix mayonnaise, honey, apple cider vinegar, sour cream and salt and pepper.
If you’d prefer softer broccoli, you can blanch it (boil in hot water for a few seconds and immediately transfer to ice water to stop the cooking process and keep it crunchy). Otherwise use the crunchy broccoli.
Add the ingredients and sauce together. Toss to coat. Cover with the grated cheese and add a sprinkle of parsley. Enjoy!

Details: Visit Sam’s Kitchen at 338 Ontdekkers Road, send her a WhatsApp on 076-451-9322, or follow @samskitchenleanmeals on Insta and @samskitchen on Facebook.