Arnold Tanzer2017-04-16T12:31:52+00:00

Arnold Tanzer

The exterior of Arnold Tanzer’s Food on the Move premises are unassuming, unexpected. Burrowed in a side street of Johannesburg’s up-and-coming industrial-chic hub, Kew, the building itself is a mashup of modest brick – but the inside is something spectacular. A leafy oasis of carefully pruned floribunda and koi ponds. Tanzer’s premises seem an extension of himself – a humble, All Star-wearing peoples’ cook.

Running a full-service catering company isn’t what Tanzer envisioned when he was nose-deep in textbooks, studying medical technology in the 80s. Then in true renegade style, he escaped to Holland, in protest against joining the South African army. “The only job I could get in Holland was washing dishes, because the Dutch government wouldn’t recognise my South African diploma,” explains Tanzer. “I took the job, got myself elbow-deep in grey dishwater and then, in a stroke of fortuitousness, was offered an apprenticeship under a professional chef.”

After his training, Tanzer’s rise to success was nothing if not dramatic. Within a few years of working as a chef in Europe, he landed a gig as Michael Douglas’s personal chef – and back in South Africa cooking for Douglas whilst he was shooting a movie. On the back of his trip, Tanzer decided to stay in South Africa and joined Londolozi as Executive Chef for 14 lodges across Africa.

When he met his wife-to-be, Tanzer based himself back in Johannesburg, and opened his own restaurant. “Delicatessen was an extension of my personal cooking and eating style,” says Tanzer. “We had no menu, and served 400 breakfasts every Saturday morning. When I sold Delicatessen, I moved into Braamfontein, which was just burgeoning at the time, and started a catering company.”

Tanzer’s company grew exponentially and, after a few years of intense hard work, he decided to sell the company and move into production. He was lucky enough to produce MasterChef South Africa and Reza Mohammed’s cooking show. But cooking was – and is – where Tanzer’s heart is, and, once again, he decided to open his own full-service catering company, Food on the Move.

Today, Tanzer runs and manages Food on the Move, creating no-fuss menus for any and every kind of event. His food philosophy is grounded in simplicity – he believes a truly talented chef should be able to make an incredible meal with a few carrots, potatoes and onions. Foams and gels aren’t his style, he likes to keep it simple.

“Salt is both the beginning and the end of every meal preparation,” says Tanzer. “It adds a base of flavour, and is the final finishing touch to a spectacular meal.” Tanzer was challenged to create a dish inspired by the 1960s, and the retro restaurant trends of the era were the starting points for his dish development.

“The 60s was the heyday of Crepe Suzette, Steak Diane and all-out restaurant service, where dishes were served on a shiny silver tray, at the table,” explains Tanzer. “Eating out was all about ceremony and steak tartare was the dish du jour in restaurants, made delicious with perfect seasoning.”

Tanzer believes steak tartare is a great way to showcase the very best, freshest ingredients – especially the quality of meat. “Steak tartare is perfected with just the right amount of salt – this offsets the richness of the meat and the fat in the egg yolk that completes the dish.”

Seasoning is as much about eating with the eyes, as with the mouth, says Tanzer – visual seasoning is a huge part of his plating technique. Tanzer also believes salt is crucial in the preparation and curing of fish, as it intensifies the flavour. He experiments often with flavoured seasonings, like lemon-infused salt, which he used as a base flavour for his steak tartare.

“This dish is a little bit of a labour of love – the meat is best chopped by hand, as it yields a better texture – but the final result is completely worth it. I love serving it with crunchy, hot twice-cooked fries and a generous pinch of Cerebos Rock Salt Flakes.”

Steak Tartare with twice-cooked fries and horseradish cream

For the horseradish cream

  • 20g Prepared horseradish
  • 200g mayonnaise
  • 40g crème fraiche
  • Pinch of salt

Method

  1. Mix all ingredients together and season with salt.

For the fries

  • 800g large potatoes
  • Oil for frying
  • Sprinkle of Cerebos Braai Salt

Method

  1. Peel Potatoes and cut into 18mm slices. Reserve in cold water to ensure that they don’t go brown.
  2. Heat oil in a deep fryer or large, deep saucepan to 130°C.
  3. Working in small batches, carefully lower the fries into the hot oil.
  4. Fry for about 8 minutes, or until the surface begins to feel dry and firm to the touch.
  5. Remove fries from oil, and lay them out on a wire rack to cool and dry.
  6. Place cooled fries in the freezer.
  7. Heat oil to 190°C.
  8. Fry for about 3 minutes, or until the surface appears golden brown.
  9. Drain fries on paper towel to remove excess oil.
  10. Season fries with Cerebos Braai Salt to taste.

For the steak

  • 200g fillet or rump steak
  • 4 free range egg yolk
  • 2 tbsp red onion, finely diced
  • 2 tbsp chives, finely sliced
  • 2 tsp salter capers, rinsed
  • 2 tbsp cornichons, finely diced
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 6 anchovies (optional)
  • Cerebos Black Pepper
  • Cerebos Sea Salt Flakes
  • The juice of ½ a lemon

Method

  1. Trim beef of all sinew and fat. Place in the freezer to firm slightly.
  2. Hand cut the beef into sheets, then strips and finally, cubes. Aim for a small dice
  3. Finely mince the anchovies (if desired) and then add to the beef with the Dijon Mustard.
  4. Roughly chop the capers, scatter in the red onion and chives.
  5. Toss in the egg yolk and season with a liberal amount of Cerebos Black Pepper.
  6. Check the seasoning to taste, then squeeze over some lemon juice to balance the flavours.
  7. Serve with Cerebos Sea Salt Flakes on the side.
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