The key to a circus' heart is in the kitchen tent
published Friday 9 March, 2018
Jani: Hi Alex (she is already laughing) just tell me a little bit about yourself.
Alex: My name is Alex and I am 51 earth years of age. My role in the company is to cook and to provide nourishing food for all the beautiful, amazing beings who work for NoFit State Circus. (She is chopping red cabbage for dinner)
Jani: You are quite new to the company. Tell us when and how did you end up here?
Alex: Well I've ended up here through Molly (Molly is the Merchandise Manager and one of the singers in Lexicon) and I know Molly's father who is the shipwright of my beautiful boat. I would say it was a good fortune that connected me because one day I met Molly when she came to visit her father, but he wasn't home and she came onto my boat. She told me she was going to London to work with the circus on the Southbank with a show called Bianco, and just off the cuff, I said ''do you need any cooks by any chance?," and she was like ''why did I not think of this before?'' and because they (NoFit State) were desperately looking for a cook at the time. So, she put me in touch with Becca (NFS Assistant Producer) and two days later I got an email asking me to cook for the company. This is how I ended up working on Bianco, and since fallen in love with the company and the performers, so I stayed around.
Jani: You are such an amazing cook! You know everyone's needs. Where did you learn to cook? How are you so good?
Alex: Well, I think, wow, that's a difficult one. I started cooking when I was 16. I have two aunts who are half Greek, and all my life whenever I've seen them they really loved their food. My mum is not really a cook, so it is probably from my Greek side of the family. I always loved cooking. I helped out for my father when I was a teenager because he had to invite important people around for meetings and I was organising and making dinner parties for them. So, I've been cooking for almost 36 years now. Something in my heart really loves it, but I never wanted to be a full-time chef because I was scared of two things: one that I was going to get fat, and the other that I will end up hating food. So I was a cook for a couple of years and then I went back to college at the age of 27 to study nutrition and became a nutrition consultant, and this is when I've discovered that I'm a healer and since then I've been focusing on food as medicine. I don't use anything processed, and I only use earthfriendly ingredients, lets heal the earth and not destroy it. Food is my art, my prayer and my path.
Jani: What are the challenges of cooking on tour?
Alex: As a cook I want to please everyone, and I want everyone to be happy. My challenges on one level is that there is a really wide variety of nutritional needs in the company (veggie, vegan, gluten free, and other dietary needs) I know that finely tuned artist and physical performers they need to get optimal nutrition in their bodies, and the crew needs optimal nutrition for their needs. That, combined with budget, is a creative challenge. Most important for me is to everyone has a high-quality meal what is varied, fresh. Then there is the other challenge of not having water for the past couple of days because of the cold weather, and to keep the kitchen really clean and hygienic, and to still make delicious food. Now I've got heater in the kitchen as well, but it was very, very hard with the cold. Going on tour will give me the challenge of finding new suppliers and to make sure we get everything from them. I like local and never shop in supermarkets.
Jani: What is the funniest thing happened to you recently?
Alex: I was making Tahini dressing. I turned around for something and the blender got a mind of its own, jumped out of the bowl and covered the whole kitchen.
Jani: Do you have a favourite circus act?
Alex: My first ever circus experience was Bianco, so I am new to all this. I love everything, but I really love Lyndall on the Swinging Trapeze. After seeing Bianco for 15-18 times, it is really hard to tell what my favourite was and pick out one, because I just loved all the eye candy and sexy bodies. I just love the magic of circus, it's too much to take in.
Jani: You know it's the 250th anniversary of circus, how will you celebrate it?
Alex: Being here, having an amazing job and being at the heart of the company, I will have other companies coming here to our circus village site too, so to unite everyone in the kitchen tent will be wonderful.