Nikki Booth

She’ll never eat shark fin soup, but this Cape Town cook has tried deep-fried gecko
Cape Town cook Nikki Booth says she gets the most pleasure from ‘making use of the freshest produce, and combining ingredients simply and with abundance.’ With a decidedly Mediterranean leaning, cultivated by regular trips to Italy, Nikki grows many of her ingredients in her own organic garden. The influence is quite obvious in the delicious dishes she creates at her private restaurant, Ottimo Cibo – part of five-star tourism corporation The Roving Ambassador’s exclusive portfolio. She operates the restaurant from her home in Bishopscourt. ‘Working in my own environment is the best thing about what I do,’ she says. A pizza oven tops her kitchen wish list, and she swears by keeping things simple.
What’s always in your pantry?
Parmesan and prosciutto. If you were a drink what would it be? Prosecco – a bit bubbly, and always dependable!
What was your most memorable meal?
We were served a seven-course dinner of local specialities on the terrace at Principe Cerami, the Michelin-starred restaurant at the San Domenico Palace in Taormina, Sicily. The restaurant has breathtaking views over the Mediterranean Sea at sunset, and top-class food to match!
Current favourite restaurant?
Cape Town’s Bizerca Bistro.
What would your last meal be?
Vietnamese chicken salad with basil and mint, followed by a small rib-eye steak cooked medium rare, with chunky chips and rocket salad. To finish, pine nut ice cream with a chocolate-liqueur sauce.
Can’t live without?
My Bamix hand-held blender.
Do you have any culinary vices?
Pork crackling!
Won’t eat…
shark fin soup.
Weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?
On a cooking holiday in Thailand’s Koh Samui, we were in a local market where various ‘delectable’ specialities were on offer. I went for the deep-fried gecko. It was a little like chicken and I am still here to tell the tale. Your ultimate breakfast is… ciabatta French toast with grilled Buffalo mozzarella, baby plum tomatoes in honey and balsamic vinegar, crisp pancetta, fresh rocket and Parmesan.
What’s your signature dish?
Currently it’s duck carpaccio with Five Spice, and a green-apple and wholegrain-mustard relish, but this changes quite often. Who are your foodie icons? Australian food innovator Maggie Beer, and Londonbased food writer and cookbook author Jill Dupleix.
Contact: The Roving Ambassador Office
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