Meet Apriena Jugoo Pummer, a very special and very talented McCain Family Member. Apriena is our in house recipe developer and food photographer, and responsible for all the delicious #madewithmccain recipes that we share. We sat down with Apriena to get to know her a little better…
Tell us a little bit about yourself: What is your profession? What else do you like to do besides cooking?
I am Apriena Jugoo Pummer and I am 43 years young. I reside in Johannesburg, South Africa and have a Bachelor of Arts, Honours Degree – majoring in Psychology and English Literature. For the past 10 years, I decided to pursue my passions, which is photography and food and I haven’t looked back. I love reading, enjoying food and wine, researching and laughing.
How did you learn to cook/bake?
In the beginning it was all my mum, Jyoti Jugoo and what an icon to learn from and ground me. Now I research, try, fail, try again and keep moving forward. I teach myself daily!
What are your first memories from the kitchen?
It was in the early 80’s, when I sat and spent most of my time chatting with and watching my mum prepare all our meals. My late dad’s favourite protein was seafood and when he brought home fresh seafood, he purchased from the fisherman, I helped mum clean and gut the fish (although, I didn’t eat seafood back then) and then 1 would watch her cook it. It was pure adoration to watch.
My mum taught pattern making and sewing to women who wanted to better their skills in the late 80’s and early 90’s and Saturday morning classes were set aside for working women. By 10am, I would be starving, and Mum was busy teaching so, I had to think quickly about how I was going to satisfy my appetite. I remembered all those early days watching my mum and got cooking. I was tiny back then, so I had to pull up a step stool so I could reach the stove. I remember cooking an egg chutney (basically fresh chopped tomatoes cooked with curry powder and when it thickens you break eggs into the chutney and serve the eggs soft) and when mum was done with her classes, brunch was served! That was the first dish I cooked completely on my own at the age of 9.
What did your childhood taste like?
I grew up eating mostly Indian food and roasts and grills. I did not enjoy spicy food when I was young, but I loved grills and roasts, now however I am obsessed with hot and spicy food.
What influences you the most in your cooking style?
I am influenced by life around me. I take inspiration from cookbooks and shows, fellow foodies from around the globe and my hubby, who is Swiss, who opened my eyes to true European cuisine.
What's the last dish you discovered for yourself?
Crayfish tails- as mentioned above I never ate seafood growing up. I was obsessed with the ocean and had dreams of being a marine biologist back then. In fact, I only started eating seafood when I was 33 and pregnant for the first time. Being pregnant changed my tastebuds and since then I have made my peace with the ocean, and I absolutely love eating seafood.
This past New Year’s Eve, we had a braai at our home with my closest family and crayfish tails was one of the things on the menu. I can’t even begin to describe the taste that exploded in my mouth, but what I will say is that I know finally understand why seafood was my dad’s favourite.
What would be your go-to meal?
Seriously, those crayfish tails – grilled with fresh garlic, fresh chopped chilli, salt, pepper and tons of butter! Simple flavours are what it is about. Also, a Durban style lamb and potato curry is high on my list.
When and why did you start your food blog?
I started a blog when I was pregnant and then kids happened, and it took a back seat. About 4 years ago, I became more dedicated (albeit I still struggle) but my Instagram is active, and I share recipes weekly.
What is the blog about?
My blog is all about food of course, and food styling. I would say I love to showcase simple easy recipes but presented beautifully. Photography is my other passion and all images on my blog and Instagram are photographed by me. With my Instagram account, I set aside time daily to post a recipe or write a post when I’m not shooting or developing new recipes for McCain.