Thandi Gets Real About Groceries in the BVI

Thandi originally hails from Cape Town, South Africa and presently resides in the British Virgin Islands. She is the Chief Stewardess on a yacht and when she isn’t working long days she can usually be found cooking or working out. She’s a part-time vegetarian (flexitarian) who eats meat free an impressive six days a week. Thandi cooks a blazing hot curry that isn’t for the faint of heart and she can somehow still make you laugh as you’re wondering why your eyeballs are sweating. She is always keen for an adventure and is married to a very talented chef

If you haven’t met someone named Thandi you might wonder how to pronounce the name. I’ll help- Crocodile Dundee rhymes with Thandi [Tun-Dee].

Thandi, what do you think the biggest barriers to healthy eating are?
I think the biggest barrier to healthy eating is the price of healthy food. It can be very expensive to choose the healthy option.

Do you have any horrible or hilarious cooking experiences you’d like to share?
Oh yes. I wasn’t always a great cook. When I was first dating my [now] husband I tried cooking him a meal and it was absolutely awful. He fed it to the dog.

If you were going to be stuck on an island for months and you could bring an unlimited supply of 4 food staples, what would they be?
Emma! I already live on a small island … I’d bring quinoa, sweet potatoes, avocados, and tomatoes. I’m assuming bananas will be growing on this island because I can’t live without them.

Biggest pet peeve related to nutrition?
The fads. Don’t follow a fad just because everyone says it is nutritious. Diets come and go but in the end, they never work.

If one ‘diet’ was your nemesis which one would it be?
The Candida diet, you are not supposed to have alcohol and I do love my red wine.

What do you think the government should be focusing on to help improve public health?
I live on a small Caribbean island that imports 90% of the food. I think there should be more focus on promoting or encouraging local agriculture and importing from nearby islands. This would lower our carbon footprint, help the agricultural industry to grow and improve the price of groceries.

Do you think one person can make a difference in public health policy?

If you could get a message out to the general public about food, what would it be?
Listen to your body, if you eat a certain food and you don’t like the way it makes you feel then try cutting it out. You should feel recharged and ready to face the day after meals, not ready for a nap.

What is your favorite thing to make in the kitchen?
Soups and curries.

Who is your favorite person to cook with?
My husband is a chef and I love cooking for him [now that I’m better at it]. When he gets home he is usually too tired to cook.

If you could cook a meal with anyone, who would it be?
The award-winning chef Francis Mallmann. I love his rustic approach to cooking, his food is simple yet elegant.

If you could sit down to a meal with anyone, who would it be?
I worked for Sir Richard Branson and sitting with him for a meal was always inspiring. One man can truly make a difference.

Beans or eggs?

What’s your favorite breakfast?
Banana flaxseed muffins.

Does your job get in the way of what you eat?
Yes, I am often away from home for my work and this usually means eating when I can or whatever is in front of me at a late hour.

How do you eat well with the time constraints?
I try and make healthy snacks and bring them with me. When I do get hungry I don’t grab the first thing I see, I have what I packed instead.

Thanks to Thandi for the interview, I had a lot of fun chatting! 

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