“I don’t just stand in the kitchen all day barefoot and cook, I also sing.”
This is how Willie Strauss jokes about his upcoming tour in the Western Cape where he will cook, sing and tell stories on stage.
Willie is probably best known these days for his food talks on various radio stations. He visits every second Monday first with Amore Bekker and now Eliose Cupido, but before that he discussed new recipes every Saturday for six years on Pretoria FM. He also makes regular appearances on community radio stations such as Radio Laeveld and Radio Overberg.
“I’m one of those crazy people who can talk myself hungry, to the point where my mouth is really watering over the recipe I’m talking about now.
“To me, cooking is like reading a letter from someone you haven’t heard from in a long time. The thrill of the white Croxley envelopes in your hand is that recipe you simply have to try; reading the letter with the lined paper is like preparing your food.
He says he has always loved cooking. That love probably comes from his childhood where as a boy he baked cookies or cooked food with his mother in the kitchen on the farm, Vyfbeker, in the Kenhardt district in the Northern Cape.
“It’s just part of one’s life, but if I don’t feel good that day, I’d rather stay out of the kitchen altogether,” he confesses.
Yet Willie is not just the guy who gives away recipes for free or generously shares cooking secrets, he is also a true artist through and through. At the time, he obtained performing arts at the Technikon Pretoria (now Tshwane University of Technology). There are seven albums to his name and he has toured the country with productions such as The devil wears crocs and There is an angel in my pantry. He was the presenter of his own cooking program and a guest on TV programs such as Farmer diva, Well done! and Ailment.
“However, I am at my happiest on stage where I can sing, tell stories and cook.”
Willie’s latest production, Food, singing and stories, is a summary of who and what Willie Strauss is. He is food, he is music, but he is also definitely full of stories. If you throw the words singer, food connoisseur, songwriter, sink store and long tables together, the answer is Willie Strauss.
“This is a wonderful interactive show where I will teach you to make a fondant rose. You will walk away with a handful of practical food tips, and I will also give you a recipe while I tell stories – I will make you laugh and send you away with a tear in your eye.
“Henry-Jon Williams accompanied me on the piano and wrote some original songs and even a story for the production.”
Willie is also an entrepreneur as befits any good artist these days. His zinc store is his own posh bargain shop where he sells everything that is edible and wearable. He sells delicious soaps that look like sheepskin coats, and there are aprons and pajamas with funny Afrikaans sayings on them.
Some of his listeners also like to eat at Willie’s own pop-up restaurant. “It is unbelievable to think that these people drive all the way to Cullinan in Gauteng to come and eat with me. Then they also usually bring me old china or antique tableware. I think it’s great that people trust me with their Grandma’s treasures.
“People have been asking me so much on Facebook when I come to visit them in the Cape… Now we’re going to make a wide trip there and visit from the Karoo to the Western Cape.”
Willie’s performances are at:
- Gray Palace in Richmond on September 9.
- The VLV in De Aar on 12 September.
- Die Boer in Durbanville on 14 September.
- Die Hutspot in Parow on 15 September.
- The NG church Lambertsbaai on 16 September.
- Our restaurant on the Simonsvlei estate at Klapmuts on 17 September.
Call Henry-Jon on 082 775 8110 with inquiries about any of these shows.
Willie also holds a house concert in Doringkloof, Centurion, with Food, singing and stories on Saturday October 7 at 2:00 p.m. There are only 60 seats available and reservations can be made with Mariandl on 082 338 4819. Follow Willie Strauss on Instagram or Facebook.