Meet Erica Brown; chef, gypsy and creative entrepreneur. She will delight you with spoonfuls of wanderlust, a dollop of eco-warrior passion and instill upon you sprinklings of positive magic.
Her interest in life has always centered around travelling. She combined her desire to travel the world and learn about different cultures and different tastes and became a chef. But she didn’t just land in this position she has spent many years climbing the ladder in the world of gastronomy. Starting off as a young dishwasher in a hotel kitchen in the United Kingdom she rose over the years to run kitchens as Head chef in many different styles of cuisine across the globe.
But it is not her desire to run restaurants anymore. Her passion is to impart her knowledge and her wild stories of travel in her Vegetarian Cooking Courses and demos.
Coming back to South Africa from years spent abroad traveling and cooking, Ericasettled in Howick, a small town in the farming area of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. Discovering an abundance of fresh farm grown veggies and scenic beauty she decided to put down roots.
Erica`s journey with food and of self-discovery has been a lifelong experience. She has been looking at the way the world interacts with food for a long time in her career. How food is produced, the quality of food, the carbon footprint of having food completely out of season on our supermarket shelves or on restaurant menus.
Vegetarian food became her choice when she was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease, a by-product of stress, poor eating habits and environmental implications.
Karkloof Farmer´s Market was where Erica began her journey reaching out into the South African audience. She began making freshly pressed juices with her mother´s juice extractor. Not at all knowing that her adventure at this market would be the launch pad to everything else she has done since returning from living abroad. For Erica this has been a great chance to source and support local producers, buy their products, and create trustworthy relationships with these local farmers and artisanal food entrepreneurs.
Erica has catered for key playing local NGOs and their educational partners and functions. For example WESSA. Many schools have requested her recipes to implement in their tuck shops and school recipe books. Her famous Chickpea Chocolate Ganache Cake was created for the theme based on the UN International Year of Pulses. The food was based on pulses for all of WESSA´S Water Explorer Events in 2016. In the same year she catered for the WWF Anti-fracking seminar held at Cedara, KZN Midlands, South Africa.
She has a small heirloom naturally grown and harvested seed saving company called Sōlseed. Naturally the two aspects of seeds and food within her business hold hands and are imperative to taking responsibility for our health and planetary sustainability.
Sōlseed is about sharing and selling heirloom seeds to make sure we can all grow vegetables without fear of starvation and corporate ownership of seeds and farming.
When Erica is not in the kitchen creating new recipes or teaching people how to make delicious food, she can be found in the garden planting and harvesting.
A great and deep passion for gardening, she feels seeds are the most important part to life in general on earth. “Without seeds we have no food, without healthy food we have no life.”
One way to make sure you enjoy good health is by growing your own food. By planting open-pollinated seeds that are not genetically modified or of hybridised DNA splicing you can ensure that the seed you grow can be saved for the next season. This creates freedom from having to buy seeds each year.
She started to save and swap seeds with other like-minded people and has sourced her seed stock from seed savers all around the world. She now sells her own brand of seeds at The Karkloof Farmer´s Market.