Nikki Booth owns and runs her own unique private restaurant, Ottimo Cibo from her home in the Kirstenbosch area in Cape Town. Set beneath the back of Table mountain, her home and garden provide a unique venue for informal and totally relaxed culinary indulgence, based on her passion for food.
Her concept is the result of many years of careful but natural pursuit of what has become her special craft; seemingly effortless entertaining in her own environment, but which bears all the hallmarks of her understated good taste and attachment to the uncontrived.
Nikki’s earliest food influences were from her mother and grandmother – both accomplished home cooks. From an early age she would watch what was happening in the kitchen and always be keen to help, thus starting the process of osmosis or self-teaching which never stops.
Having the opportunity to travel to Italy sparked a whole new interest in her subject, so much so that the country has almost become her second home. Much of Nikki’s inspiration lies in the variety of fresh seasonal Mediterranean produce available, and its simple use in Italian cooking. Among her favourite ingredients are fennel, which grows fresh in her own organic garden, artichokes, type ‘00’ flour for baking the best bread, and chocolate.
Now visiting Italy whenever her schedule allows, she is fortunate to share space in a busy family kitchen gaining wonderful exposure to techniques and secrets handed down through generations.
In Cape Town Nikki works with her small team in her professional home kitchen and is directly responsible for producing the world-class food served at an Ottimo Cibo event. Once dessert is on the table, she can be found chatting to her guests and happily sharing recipes with an appreciative food audience. Apart from the buzz in her kitchen while the food is being prepared and served, Nikki enjoys this part of her events most. She is happiest knowing that she has cooked for people who understand her objectives in the kitchen.