Barry Clarke born, in Mbeya, Tanzania was raised – mostly barefoot – near the port city of Durban in the province of KwaZulu/Natal on the east coast of South Africa.

His interest in foods started at a young age…catching fish and octopus in the tidal pools of Ballito Bay on the north coast, picking mussels and other shellfish and steaming them right away, or cooking them on a fire on the beach.

Barry’s family life revolved around the bounty of foods in this sub-tropical region of South Africa – bananas, mangoes, lychees, pineapples, pawpaws, guavas, avocados, passion fruit, prawns, crayfish, line fish, squid, range-fed poultry, beef and pork, and the best lamb in the world from the Karoo in the Cape province.

And, of course, you cannot grow up in South Africa without a constant supply of biltong and dry wors, and a regular diet of boerewors and meat pies. Then there is the braai – cooking outside on a charcoal fire. This is to a South African what barbecue is to an American.

BFG_Teddy BBQ3.jpg

Living near Durban also meant experiencing the food influence of the large Indian community there, with curries, chutneys, bryani and chilli bites.

Later, as a student in central California, Barry lived with a family of Swiss Italian heritage and learned a whole new style of cooking…which served him well when he cooked for the William Randolph Hearst Jr. family at Hearst Castle over the Christmas of 1974.

Hearst Castle, Christmas 1974

Hearst Castle, Christmas 1974

Barry and his wife, Sarah, emigrated to Vermont in 1977 where for two seasons they ran the St. Johnsbury Country Club restaurant and bar, and Barry was sous chef at the Rabbit Hill Inn in Lower Waterford, Vermont in the winter. Over the years Barry has worked in marketing, operations and management positions in various industries – including time as a chef/consultant with the Shebeen Pub and Braai and Catering Outfit in Charlottesville, Virginia. All the while, he has been just half a step away from the kitchen. The time has been spent cooking for family and friends and doing a wide variety of small and large catering functions – honing the recipes for the items you will enjoy on The Barefoot Gourmet’s menus.