Top Billing Thursday 8:30pm Sunday 1:00pm
you are here: Lifestyle | Kitchen Companion

Kitchen Companion

Top Billing Food Editor Katelyn Williams shares her recipes and kitchen secrets

Top Billing's Food Editor, Katelyn Williams, shares her kitchen secrets and some of her favourite recipes.



22 November 2011
A Sneak Peek Into The Top Billing Test Kitchen 

Top Billing Test Kitchen


Two of the questions I get asked most often is where the recipes in the Top Billing magazine come from and what goes on behind-the-scenes. Today I invite you into my kitchen to see what's cooking and also share the top brands the kitchen is equipped with.

Essentially, the Top Billing test kitchen is a normal household kitchen, but in the middle of Top Billing HQ. I've always boasted that I have the best office in the building – its sunny, light and warm and situated behind our reception area so, whether intentional or not, visitors are often greeted with the smell of freshly baked biscuits or something delicious simmering away on the stove. This of course, drives my colleagues crazy who suffer greatly for the spreads created in the magazine. Don't be too quick to sympathize with them though, after photographer Angie and I are done styling our photographs, all the , dishes become Top Billing lunch. This is quite important for me, as general feedback is vital and of course, the joy of cooking is all in watching your hard work being hungrily devoured!

Our test kitchen is as normal as possible – there are no industrial ovens or fancy equipment. It is very important that when I'm testing recipes for the magazine, an environment exactly like that of the reader is created – I need to accurately predict how the recipes will turn out for you.

The process starts off with brainstorming a story idea or food feature according to the season or trend. From there, I do research and come up with a few ideas for recipes, making sure there is an even balance of sweet and savoury dishes in each issue. Over the years I have built up a massive database of basic recipes and I work with these, developing and adding or removing ingredients to create something new and interesting. The Top Billing magazine reader loves to entertain so I try and create recipes that are simple and easy but have that 'wow' factor when served to guests. The recipes are usually tested the day before a photoshoot and I try and get as many people as possible to taste the dishes to cater for every taste and opinion. This is definitely a perk of working at Top Billing and there is usually a mad dash when the finished dishes are placed in the staff kitchen – the Top Billing TV editors, in particular are renowned for their uncanny sixth sense and most days I merely have to open the test kitchen door and they're ready and waiting, cutlery in hand! In our office the term 'you snooze, you lose' really does apply!

Once I'm happy with the quality of a recipe, it is ready to be shot. We shoot the food in our test kitchen as its important for our photograph set-ups to be close to the kitchen so the food looks freshly prepared. Photographer Angie only uses natural light when it comes to photographing food and after we've set up the angle, lighting and I've played around with which plate, cutlery etc to use, the food is finished off and placed in the shot. A small brush and olive oil is always on stand-by to add a little gloss to warm dishes if necessary, while a small misting bottle of water comes in handy for salads, fruit, veggies and drinks. Contrary to popular belief, food stylists don't use fake food or chemical substances anymore – everything is natural and as realistic as possible.

Another common question I get is which appliances and gadgets I use in the test kitchen and which brands survive the wear and tear! Here is a list of some of my favourite things in our test kitchen – the things I simply couldn't cook without:

Russell Hobbs

The latest addition to the Top Billing kitchen is the very sleek-looking range of Russell Hobbs appliances. I am simply in love with the Pro-Mix – it makes mixing, kneading and whisking effortless in the massive 5.5L bowl (which is genius when it comes to tripling or doubling recipe batches) and looks fabulously stylish on the worktop. It also comes with a mincer, pasta maker and veggie slicer .The food processor makes easy work of preparing pastry and of course, no kitchen should be without a stick blender. Working with these beautiful appliances makes me happy!

The kitchen is fitted with a Defy convection oven and gas hob as well as a Defy fridge. The oven is my favourite and always, without fail, bakes perfect cakes and really proved itself during the week I tested souffle's for the magazine – it produces exceptional results every time.

Being trained as a chef I obviously have a (rather disturbing, as I've been told) obsession with knives – Wusthoff knives are my favourite as they're sturdy and so well-balanced. My trusty Wusthoff Classic chefs knife has worked very hard in its 5 year life span having worked 17 hour shifts, 6 days a week in incredibly busy restaurant kitchens for 2 years and its still as sharp as the day I bought it. Exceptional value for money.

Le Creuset pots are my other love and we have the beautiful Carribbean blue range in the Top Billing kitchen. These pots never disappoint in heat retention and even heat distribution and although one suffered terribly at the hands of an intern who left a pot of rice on the stove for over an hour, the black basmati charcoal was scrubbed away easily and the saucepan was left completely unharmed – amazing.


User comments:

By: Mathabo
02 February 2015 09:17:46
hmmm, mouth watering recipes indeed, I'm going to try all of them, every weekend my kitchen is gonna be the busiest place

By: Dhananjay
17 October 2013 05:08:12
They can continue to bill you, and some of the scumabg creditors probably will, but they have no legal right to collect anything from you if your debts were fully discharged in bankruptcy. If you were placed in the wage earner plan (Title 13, I think) they will eventually get some of their money from the bankruptcy trustee, but they cannot continue to harass you. In either case, turn the bill over to the bankruptcy trustee or the court. Let them deal with the scumabg.My father filed Title 13 before he died, then my mother refiled to Title 7 for discharge of debts. Dad died in 1994, Mom has been gone for seven years, and we still occasionally get letters from collection agencies addressed to them. I just trash them now.

By: Oso
28 February 2013 10:12:26

By: Jelele Mokhine
05 February 2013 10:14:39
Iwant to be invited to Top billing as a chef what can I do. I am a executive chef & i would like to show my talent to the world

By: Alasha Ramjith
06 September 2012 14:28:34
Hi, I just tried your red velvet cupcakes recipe, it came out lovely, thanks, will b
sure to look for more recipes!

Please leave your comments: (comments will be screened by the Administrator)

0 characters (maximum 500)
Security Code:
Please enter above code:
Subscribe to our RSS Feeds Top Billing's RSS Feeds
Top Billing on TwitterTop Billing on Facebook
Wedding Inspiration
Have you been watching The Insider SA
Yes! Loving it
Not yet but I will now
Haven't heard about it yet
Vote now  View Poll Results
Broadcasting for Total Citizen Empowerment
About the SABC Contact Us Jobs
Advertise Disclaimer Site Map

SABC © 2011
Privacy Policy | Terms of Use
© Copyright 2010 Top Billing | Site created by  Fusia Web Services