Extract from the second printing of The Food and Wine Pairing Guide:
Katinka van Niekerk has developed food and wine matching courses which she presents both locally and abroad. A career in the wine industry was followed by a stint as a lecturer for the Cape Wine Academy and she is currently a consultant to chefs and winemakers as well as a visiting lecturer at many hotel schools and catering colleges.
Katinka’s interest in food and wine pairing began when she was the young wife of a New York-based diplomat. At the time, formal dinners often ended with chocolate mousse, the fashionable dessert of the day, accompanied by champagne. She found this combination jarring, as the sweetness of the dessert ruined every subtle nuance of the champagne. When she wanted to challenge the food and wine practices of the time, she was gently told to follow convention and that she would soon ‘get used to how things should be done.’ But she didn’t, and her taste buds remained unconvinced!
Ultimately, this experience turned into a passion for discovering what works and what does not work when it comes to pairing food and wine. Building on the opportunities that came from living in the USA, Germany, Israel, the UK and South Africa, Katinka has, over the years, refined and developed this passion, constantly tasting, testing and investigating, all the while compiling an extensive database of notes and a prodigious ‘tasting memory’ of flavours and sensations.
Brian Burke is a passionate foodie with a specific interest in food and wine pairing. During his years in the corporate arena, he hosted numerous business lunches and dinners and keenly felt the lack of a guide to assist him, at a glance, to select wines to accompany those meals. The problem was not a lack of wines to choose from, but rather, which wine would best enhance the food without losing its own character. Being a marketer with a passion for identifying customer needs, Brian realized that many diners could find themselves with the same dilemma. Meeting Katinka was a ‘light bulb moment’. At the time, she was offering courses for people in the hospitality industry who needed to learn the principles of matching food and wine and how to choose the right wines for a meal. She had the practical knowledge, he had the research and marketing skills and it wasn’t long before they realized that there was a way they could share their expertise with all wine and food lovers wanting to discover the secrets of pairing wine and food. Voilà!, the concept for The Food and Wine Pairing Guide was born.