A Tailored Taste & Passion For Food
Halima Ferreira is a chef with a passion, full of determination and a feisty spirit to achieve it. She spoke to Paul Andrews to explain more about her journey with food.
A lover of all things foodie, Halima’s lifelong affair with food can be traced all the way back to her childhood in South Africa where family and food laid the foundations for the career that was to follow. Food was at the heart of the home of this Portuguese family and it was time spent in the kitchen with her parents and grandmother creating authentic dishes full of tradition where the passion began.
Halima’s father was a driving force too in encouraging her to follow her culinary dream. He was heavily influential in her decision to complete culinary school and Halima recognizes that the ‘support and encouragement that she received from not only her father but also her mother, was significant in leading to her success as a private chef.’ For Halima, there is also a tinge of sadness as her father passed away soon after the course was completed and he has not seen her career take off but to this day she ‘dedicates a large part of the journey in the culinary world to her beloved father and his unwavering belief in her abilities.’
As Halima confirms, “I looked up to my father and craved his admiration, respect and affection. Our bond with food was engrained in us and I truly believe that our fantastic father/daughter relationship has helped me reach such great success.”
As a newly qualified chef Halima jetted off to Europe before taking on assignments from Alaska to Tokyo and Bahrain, to name a few of the places where she worked before returning to the UK from the Middle East.
She launched her business in the UK back in 2015 having been working as a private chef in the Middle East. As Halima explains, “I wanted a break from working for people, to balance my life more and to have more control of what I was doing after having sacrificed so much for so many years.”
It has been quite a journey for Halima taking in a wide range of activities, all food related, ranging from catering for private dinner parties to hen do’s and romantic dinners, cooking classes and more besides. “I have also set up plant-based nutrition consultations, pantry revamps, weekend cooking retreats and for me a big focus now is using food as medicine in a way to help people live and eat better,” she continues.
Everything was going well with the business until March 2020 when the pandemic hit the UK. As Halima continues, “My world was turned upside down and once again I had to learn to adapt and pivot my career once again. I completed some courses, learning new skills and chose to specialize in the health and wellness sector, focusing on everything from professional weight loss, professional health coaching, detox and toxicology.”
For many of us the pandemic affected us in ways that we could never have predicted and Halima is incredibly honest with how it affected her too.
As she explains, “I was greatly affected, my mental health in particular. I became an ambassador for the Burnt Chef project seeking to help eradicate stigma in hospitality. It’s a cause very dear to my heart. I have also been working very hard to build myself back up again and created a support network that I can lean on for advice and support too. The pandemic has highlighted a lot of greed and selfishness and I have responded by being professional, formal, compassionate and kind where I can, creating boundaries to help.
“It has not been an easy time but some of the skills that I picked up during my travels have stood me in good stead – professional resilience and emotional intelligence – and are helping me through, along with the need to take time out for me and to look after myself more too.”
With the vaccine roll out progressing well there would appear to be a ray of light at the end of the tunnel and Halima is optimistic about what lies ahead. “The pandemic has taught me to prioritise my life very differently. I am already looking forward to new collaborations and work opportunities and to continue to build my brand. I have used the time during the pandemic to build and learn new skills and am in a stronger position than I was a year ago and continuing to learn will certainly bode well for the next few years and beyond,” she adds.
Food remains central to her passion and over the next five years Halima is looking for the brand to continue to go from strength to strength, picking up from when the pandemic hit.
“I think it is also important to have sustainability at the core of everything I do and a great workplace culture that nurtures and looks after employees and clients alike. I am looking to build a business to teach, educate and train other chefs and to create more workshops for clients to attend bespoke cooking and nutrition workshops. The possibilities are endless and that is exciting. I would also like to see the development of an at-home service of meal kits for people to order focusing on health and special diets and to work alongside other professionals in doing so, all with the aim of continuing innovation, creating great food and being on trend,” she adds.
Living in Leicestershire also affords Halima the space to continue her dream. “It’s not as crazy as some of the big cities that I have lived and worked in and the pace of life is a little slower. It’s quiet and peaceful where I am and after travelling for so many years it is great to come back to countryside and great parks. There is also a fantastic mix of culture in the city, its historical journey and there are some great museums to visit. I also love the quaint countryside pubs for a Sunday lunch and the ease of access to London or travel abroad as I need, but most importantly Leicestershire affords a tranquillity that I love and need,” she continues.
Halima is happy in Leicestershire and loves to visit Belvoir Castle and the famous Balloon Bar, Ragdale Hall Spa, The Curve Theatre and Farndon Fields Farm Shop.
As she adds, “The Farm Shop is a joy for a foodie like me and a trip to Market Harborough is a favourite place of mine with plenty of places to eat and drink.”
Food is in her soul and she loves nothing better than King Prawns grilled with a gorgeous Peri Peri sauce, a salad and some tomato rice. Sounds delicious and fully in line with the vision that she has always had for the business, that every dish should be delicious yet nutritious, a taste experience leaving you happy, satisfied and looking forward to your next culinary delight!
Halima continues to fulfil her life journey through food, continuing to raise the bar and we look forward to seeing the business flourish in years to come.
One thing is for sure, her father would be incredibly proud of her achievements…
Visit her website here to find out more