Briefly tell us about yourself.
My name is Fred Apaloo. I’m the Creative Director of Villa Grace which was launched in 2015. I’m very passionate about culinary art – food and beverage lifestyle experiences. In the nutshell, that’s what I am.
When and how did you discover your interest in food?
I’ve always been a fan of food. I’ve always liked and been intrigued by flavourings, foods from our culture as well as other cultures. I don’t really remember when I became hooked but I’ve always loved it.
How did you sharpen your culinary skills? Did you undergo some training?
I didn’t undergo any training. My educational background is in hospitality management and with that, came some skills like wine tasting, food pairings etc. but they weren’t extensive. In terms of the actual nitty gritty of the industry, 90% of it was self-taught. I think it is a natural talent.
How can one make every day meals look extraordinary?
It’s all about the Textures, Colours and Looks. If you preparing breakfast, look at your colours and textures. Add nuts, omelets, bell peppers, and fruits watermelons, strawberries, papayas, etc. It is a matter of using different colours to give you different tones.
How important is flavouring in meal preparation?
For me, it’s highly important. I think it’s the core and soul of every food. There are so many flavours in the world from different spices and herbs that get underused in Accra or Ghana in general. It’s essential to use the natural remedy of the earth which is full of beautiful flavours. When put together correctly, they create an amazing medley of flavours.
How should one manage the aroma of different meals at a setting so it doesn’t overwhelm a table guest?
That should be considered during the event preparation. You must know what the event is about. If you’re doing a fish fry or a crab boil, you have to warn the guests because it gives off a certain vibe. The event will inform the menu you’re putting together.
Do food colours and presentation play a role in a person’s choice of or appetite for a meal?
Definitely. They say, you eat with your eyes first; and it’s so true especially for me. Most people eat foods which looks good and pretty.
What ingredients can one use to brighten up their meals’ appearance at home?
Pineapples, watermelons and other fruits as well as vegetables like green pepper, cauliflower, carrots and other ingredients which will add layers of colour as well as flavour to any dish.
Aside the food, what else makes a dining experience special?
I call it a lifestyle as it goes beyond the food and beverage. The ambience and quality of service also count. When you put all of it together, that’s when you will get that lifestyle experience.
Source: Glitz Africa Magazine Issue 21