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Derek Taylor

Derek Taylor

Derek Taylor Possibly South Africa’s only professionally-qualified food writer and restaurant critic (Cordon Bleu de Paris, London) – a former foreign correspondent and onetime successful “but very, very tired” restaurant owner. In 1980 he was forced to leave South Africa after being told his work permit would not be renewed, after being based in Johannesburg for five years. He moved base to Nairobi with Clare, where they were married under a 6pm curfew in a registry office with five bullet holes in the windows after the attempted military coup. (“We had a damned good wedding luncheon at the Tamarind with a bunch of correspondent mates who accompanied us home where we played tired and relaxed croquet till sunset.”) His work and residence permits were renewed after the release of Nelson Mandela in 1990. Derek Taylor writes on life and food for Life&Style, on restaurants, food and African politics for the Sunday Tribune. He is the author of a cookbook, Man in the Soup, and began his journalistic career in Australia with the Sydney Morning Herald. He continues to contribute occasionally to the SMH, Canberra Times and Australian Television Network Channel 5. After thirty years of reporting – and eating voraciously -- in Africa, South-East Asia, India, Britain and Australia he retired from foreign correspondence to KZN – which he knew and enjoyed from a number of holidays here. He had the interesting experience of being reported killed in action in Vietnam but returned after eleven days in time to read his own obituaries. He has worked for or contributed to the London Observer, The Guardian, Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the Sunday Express, Newsweek, the BBC Africa Service, the London Press Exchange, ITN television and the feature agency Newsfile Africa – of which he was one of the founding editors. He has also worked as a consultant and special writer for the United Nations Environmental Program based in Nairobi. In Durban he initiated and organised The Other Curry Cup, an annual festival and competition for Indian food chefs that the Sunday Tribune ran for five years. “What first attracted me to Durban was the fact that all the South African communities live closely together here. And I think that’s why we know each better than any other region in the country. It’s certainly the reason why I prefer to live here to anywhere else in the world. It’s just so much more interesting. “I’ve encountered more warmth and hospitality, friendship and general enjoyment in and around Durban than I have anywhere else in the world. And I can back that as a comparison with over thirty years as a foreign correspondent.”
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