Ginger & Lime

Oct 11, 2019

Known Design Co

Time flies when you are having fun, they say, and I can certainly agree wholeheartedly with this statement. It is now just over 3 years since Ginger & Lime opened up, with me kicking it off with an interactive Masterchef style party for my birthday with family and friends. It is only when you look back that you can see how far you have come!

My kitchen has always been the heart of the home, a place where friends and family gather and bond over the preparation and the eating of, fabulous food, and I asked myself how I could combine this passion for cooking and make into a business venture? This is essentially what the concept of Ginger & Lime is, to open our kitchen to others who are also passionate about food to enjoy the experience with us.

I had been involved in photographic shoots all my life, starting as a model here and then working internationally, which sparked my interest in all types of cuisine. I then returned home and started a still production company to facilitate clients to shoot here. This grew and Gavin came in to help me take it further. After 25 years of production, I decided it was time for a change. We used to entertain the clients at our home and realised this was actually my favourite part of the job.

How did I get from this being a vague concept ……. to becoming a reality?

Liam Tomlin was hosting lessons at his previous business Chef’s Warehouse, and on a whim I decided to join him and see what it was all about. This was the highlight of my week.

Then one evening, watching him across the kitchen, I had a serious AHA moment. I didn’t want to be an observer on this side of the counter anymore, I wanted to be there, next to him, actually, I wanted to be doing what he does with such ease and passion.

I realised that with this powerful vision in mind, I could actually make it happen! It was a profound and life changing moment for me, as it came out of nowhere, but the more I thought about it, the more I knew that this was where I was meant to go with my life at this stage. This was my next purpose in life, and I set about making this happen.

I was in a hurry and eager to get going, as patience is not one of my stronger points, but a quiet voice inside me said “Wait, Denise, take your time. There is no rush. Use this time to study what others are doing, learn more, see what you like, and what you don’t like. Refine your skills, and redefine your vision.” And so I did. I went to every cooking lesson I could find, some were great, some were seriously bad, and I kept on learning from Liam at the same time.

I did major renovations to create my dream kitchen, one that would have to be functional for both the classes and the family. This alone was a huge project, and took around a year and a half to complete start to finish. But it was so exciting. The moment they started chopping out the walls, and actually building, I knew there was no turning back. I had taken that first step up the staircase, and I was so excited to see where it would take me. I had committed, and I can tell you it is amazing how things just flowed, and how easy the process was.

Ginger & Lime now seems to have a life and a soul of its own, and it is flying way beyond anyone’s expectations, including my own, and I am so excited to see where we are headed, as I remain open to all possibilities and in awe of this process!! As we always say, we feel we are holding on to a rocket as it is flying higher and higher, and we are clinging on for dear life!

Every single time that we start an event/course, after hours of preparation, it is as if we step into a role and onto a stage. The spotlight is on us, the show begins and we feel alive and energised, ready to perform. For that is what it is for us, a performance, theatre and entertainment, and sometimes a bit of drama thrown in too! Our guests feel this, the joy and spontaneity, the fun that we as a team are having, and they in turn they become energised. They get to experience the “behind the scenes” in food prep. That is where the magic begins and the energy flows, and this is what sets us apart from any other “cooking school”.

People are hungry for experiences and this is what we offer. Sure, you will learn to get stuck in and prepare great food, get your hands dirty, interact and connect with great new people. But there is more to it than this, you will feel that something special happens when people get together and share the preparation of food….. there is a bonding and a deep connection that occurs, and FOOD MADE WITH LOVE, FEEDS NOT ONLY THE BODY, BUT ALSO THE SOUL. You will also forget your problems for just a short while, and become very focussed, grounded and present. It is hard not to when you have a sharp knife in your hand, or you are tasting a sauce to see exactly what it needs to make it perfect.

We have literally had hundreds of budding masterchefs, serious foodies, absolute beginners-non-cooks and incredible people from around the globe through Ginger & Lime in these past 3 years and they all have one thing in common……… a passionate love for food, a curious nature and a need to learn and a desire for growth and to experience new things. This connects them all immediately.

Recently we have embraced the tourist market and have had many foreign guests learning the art of our braai, and making authentic Cape Malay dishes with us. This seems to be a growing business, and we really enjoy welcoming them into our home, in true SA style, and proudly teaching them all about Cape Cuisine.

Heading up this incredible venture has made me grow in so many ways, and stretched me right out of my comfort zone. I am on the spot, in the eyes of those that are watching at all times, and it was very daunting at first. I had to learn to speak confidently in front of an audience, to talk through each course and to explain what we were doing and why. It has been incredibly empowering, and I have grown so much personally.

I have learnt to lead my incredible team, to find each one’s strength and to build on this. They continue to inspire and energise me with their enthusiasm for Ginger & Lime. I am very demanding, mostly of myself, but I do expect the best from my team. I want them to reach for their highest self, and I push them beyond what they feel they can do, and it is great to see how each one has grasped the challenge and never backed down.

Through the establishment of Ginger and Lime I have been able to create full and part-time job opportunities. I see this as an important aspect of Ginger and Lime and my social responsibility and hope to be able to provide more opportunities as the business expands, in particular to create an ongoing intern/apprentice system.

I believe in always giving more than what is expected, and love to see the joy and appreciation on faces of our guests as they “get” this. They feel that they have received great value, but they don’t know that I have received even more in the act of giving.

I am so enjoying being able to live my passion, as for me this is not work. I think this confidence in following your heart comes with age, as you realise that time is precious, and the time to do it is NOW.

II so relate to the below quotation:

“A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both.” – LP Jacks

Book your place in one of our Interactive Cooking Courses here …………


• Interactive cooking experiences (4 to 24 people)
• Cape Cuisine: Gourmet Braai & Cape Malay (especially for our foreign guests)
• Exclusive private venue for special occasions
• Event Management (corporate or private)
• Celebrity & Guest Chef appearances
• Corporate workshops & Teambuilding exercises
• Product Launches with Bespoke Catering
• Private Exco & Boardroom meeting facility with catering
• Recipe Development and Menu Creation
• Ultra Modern Kitchen venue for photo and film shoots
• Masterchef Parties / Cookoffs / Kids Baking parties
• End of year Functions
• Kitchen Teas and Bachelorette

Enquire here to book a private event at Ginger & Lime………… link