Kayla-Ann Osborn’s South Coast rock mussels fresh from the sea

Kayla-Ann Osborn’s South Coast rock mussels fresh from the sea
Kayla-Ann’s rock mussels with chilli, ginger, coriander and coconut. (Photo: Kayla-Ann Osborn)

Chef Kayla-Ann Osborn stepped away from her stove to collect rock mussels just for us. She cooked them with chilli, coriander, ginger and coconut – a South Coast treat straight from the sea.

Chef Kayla-Ann Osborn left Delaire Graff in Stellenbosch to return to her home turf of the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast, where she has opened an eponymous restaurant at Umdoni Point, with a second eatery pending. 

She takes her three-month-old baby to work with her, and three months into running her new place, she says, “life’s still chaos. but happy chaos”. The restaurant has found its feet and is running smoothly for the most part. “My baby is at work with me which I love and my now three-year-old pops in often to extort milkshakes and chocolate out of the staff.”

Her second restaurant, The Italian Club, is set to open soon at Umdoni Point, with wood-fired pizzas, pastrami sandwiches, beer on tap, gin freezos, breakfasts, coffee, hand made pastas and lots of festivally live music. Her ready made meals, meals on wheels as my chef sarcastically calls them, have been a booming sensation on the coast and we are about to launch our campaign with Salta SuperSpar. I’ve even bought a refrigerated trailer. These are just delicious, well cooked ready made fresh meals.”

Kayla-Ann’s culinary school has its first intake in July 2024, and she is frantically sifting through accreditation paperwork and syllabus plans. This includes state of the art facilities, fine dining, wood fired cooking, a production kitchen and commercial shelf product kitchen training. As well as artisan bread making, cheese making and a strong focus on artisan trades, not just mainstream kitchen training.

“And then we are also about to launch our wedding venue in the beautiful Umdoni Bush.”

And all this with a baby in hand. That’s inspirational.

Kayla-Ann Osborn. (Photo: Supplied)

Of the recipe she shared with us, she says, “I just love this recipe. It’s been on my menus over the years and is always a winner for the private dinners I cook in the many beach homes here on the South Coast. It’s simple and just delicious. The important part is that the mussels are fresh-fresh and you have a good glass of chenin blanc with them.

“We collect mussels here along the coastline and stay strictly within the permitted mussel allowance. There is a proper way to harvest them and this is not with a shovel that destroys everything in its path.”

Farmed mussels work really well,” she says, “but I prefer the flavour of the local mussels here. They are delicious and sweet.”

Kayla-Ann’s local rock mussels with chilli, coriander, ginger and coconut

(Serves 4)

2kg mussels, scrubbed and beards pulled out

1 tin coconut cream

2 tsp chopped red chilli

2 tsp grated ginger

½ tsp peeled, finely chopped garlic

Big handful of coriander washed really well and chopped.


Place the mussels in a large pot with a well-fitting lid. Add about 4 tablespoons of water, place on a high heat and put the lid on. Steam until all the mussels have just started to open. Strain through a colander, keeping the cooking liquid. This is important, there’s so much flavour in there.

Pour the cooking liquid through a muslin cloth or dish towel back into the pot. Add the chilli, garlic and ginger. Place back on a medium heat and allow to cook for 2 minutes. Add in the coconut cream and reduce until thickened. Taste for seasoning, you shouldn’t need any salt and the flavour should be well concentrated. Throw the mussels back in and the coriander. Cook for another minute or two with the lid on to heat the mussels and wilt the coriander.

Serve this with really crusty sourdough and a well oaked chenin blanc. Drowning the bread in the sauce at the bottom of the pot is the absolute best. DM



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