Tzara: Alchemist Dreams.

Tzara concocts both musical *and* gastronomical potions to please the senses.

Serving: Culture is an exploration of what ‘culture’ means today, to youth, to South Africans, to you. For this issue, Three Magazine collaborated with Jodie Petersen, Denver Nazima and Tzara, inviting them to tell us their story of culture through food, art and fashion. This is what they served… Enjoy!

Tzara’s music is ‘easy to fall in love’ with, and ‘hard to describe’. But, forced to be confined to genres by their Facebook page, they’ve marked ‘Dream Pop’ and ‘Experimental Electronic‘, with ‘experimental’ seeming to be the keyword here. As a music producer, model and overall creator, with many fingers in many pies (perhaps, even literally, at this moment), experimenting seems to be the motivation behind all their projects.

Putting things together that shouldn’t – or, wouldn’t usually – work, but do, is what Tzara does best. On stage, in studio, behind the camera, or – yes – in the kitchen.

For their Serving: Culture cover shoot, Tzara (aka Tara Boraine) discusses their concept and the culture around food and plants in their family.

3Q’s with Tzara

Alchemist Dreams is based on alchemy, a medieval chemistry. In popular culture, we have attached a sense of magic and other-worldliness to it. One description of alchemy is “a seemingly magical process of transformation, creation or combination” – which is how I imagine Tzara experiences experimenting with food.

“Whenever I get stuck … I go and cook and come back to my music with new perspective.”

Tzara describes growing up “with a bunch of hippies”, their mother’s love for healing herbs and teas and their father’s general love for plants. They reminisce about gardening and concocting potions as a young child.

What was the shoot concept?

As a kid I grew up mixing potions all the time and making concoctions, so the idea for the concept was alchemy – kind of, like, an alchemist vibe, maybe a little witchy and fairy-like too.

What is the communal significance of food to you?

I grew up with kind of hippy parents and there was always a focus on organic, local and sustainable produce. My mom was very into natural stuff and herbs and my dad is into plants – I remember as a kid, if I was sick, she’d have a plant or herb for everything. There was a very holistic approach to food.

My grandfather grew up really poor, so there was nothing he hated more than an empty fridge – now you’ll never find an empty Boraine fridge.

Do food and music link up for you?

Definitely. Food is about experimenting or, at least, that’s my favourite part of cooking – experimenting – and music is about the same thing. So, whenever I get stuck with music I go and cook and come back to my music with new perspective. I really just love bringing people joy through food and music.

The Menu

Breakfast: Honey on Rye Toast

When I was younger I didn’t really like eating breakfast, but I remember loving butter, honey and cinnamon on rye bread. Maya [their sister] makes a really good Eggs Benedict.

Lunch: Vietnamese Summer Rolls

I got into Asian food as a teenager. I struggled with acne terribly when I was younger and Asian food uses minimal dairy. So anything like summer rolls or jackfruit pulled pork.

Dinner: Vegan Pulled Pork Sandwich or Simply Asia 505 with tofu

My mom didn’t really allow us to eat out much growing up but when I was a teenager I discovered this one Simply Asia dish and I’ve been ordering it ever since, whenever I’m feeling indulgent. [Otherwise] Maya is a really good cook, so she does a lot of cooking.

The Recipe

Ultimate Umami Gravy

“I am a slut for comfort. As a vegetarian, you get bombarded with açai bowl after açai bowl, and sometimes you just want a wholesome hug of flavour. There’s nothing Instagrammable about this gravy but damn, it’s rich, tasty soul sauce. Pour it over everything to make it more wholesome.”


6 sun-dried tomatoes or 2 tbsp  2 tsp sugar (treacle, coconut or palm sugar)
1 onion, chunky cubed 1 tsp sesame oil 
1 carrot, chunky cubed 2 tbsp olive oil 
5 cloves of garlic, minced 1 tbsp balsamic or rice vinegar
2Tbsp/2 cubes of vegan “chicken stock” (I use Massel cos it’s the only one I could find in SA) mixed into 2 litre hot water 2 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
2 tbsp soy sauce  1 pinch white pepper 
A handful of thyme & rosemary, tied into a bundle 1 pinch star anise 
2 cups whole shiitake mushrooms  1 pinch cardamom 

Bonus ingredients:

1 tsp miso paste / 1/2 tsp liquid smoke / 1/2 cup white wine (optional)


Fry onions, garlic and carrot in olive oil on medium-high heat until just starting to brown / If using, deglaze pot with white wine. If not, deglaze with “chicken” stock / Add the rest of the ingredients, cover with lid and simmer on low for 45 minutes / Taste for seasoning, and then strain or blend / If the flavour isn’t intense enough after 45 mins, uncover and let it reduce on medium heat for as long as needed, tasting as you go / Add salt to taste. Enjoy!

Interview by Gina Fredman-Jacobson



Production: Zoya Pon

Photographer: Courtney Haas

Assistant: Nuhaa Soeker

Stylist: Tazmé Pillay featuring Meg Taljaard jumpsuit, Trotse Tert gown, Wanida Boutique dress and Sunkissed Handmade crowns

Shot on location at Tzara’s home

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