The Covid-19 crisis is taking its toll on businesses, and one of them is Elaine Meyer’s pizza and pasta restaurant, Upper Crust, which has made a name for itself in Muizenberg over the past 14 years.
Elaine has been cooking since she was a 7-year-old latch-key kid. Her mom would give her a recipe and some money for ingredients and, self-taught, she would have to cook the family meal.
“I love the traditional Cape Flats recipes I honed from my mother and have fed multitudes over the years with wholesome foods,” she says.
Elaine’s dad worked as a head waiter at the Mount Nelson, and as a child she ate often from the tables of the “Mount Nelly”.
But her early world also involved queuing for food parcels after her dad had an accident and could no longer work.
“I was 12 when he lost his job, and I was 27 when he passed away,” Elaine says.
“I know what it’s like to stand in that line for a food parcel. I will always make an opportunity for those in need.”
She says she is proud of all the people she has trained over the years and adds that the news about the closure of her restaurant at the Nautilus Centre has had more impact than she ever imagined.
“People are saying it’s the end of an era. What an accolade.”
Her career started in Century City in a large business park, but she says moving closer to home in Marina da Gama was the right thing to do. Her grandson, James, has been raised in this environment where she hosted birthday parties, weddings, themed parties for the special-needs community, fund-raisers, baby showers, kitchen teas, neighbourhood bring-and-braais and music events. PJ Powers even did a gig there one evening.
“I am overwhelmed with both sadness and joy,” Elaine says.
“The sadness is hearing from so many that I will leave a void in their lives, the joy is knowing I left love as well. The peace is knowing I will never impact families by spreading or carrying the virus here. It may come, but for now, we are keeping as safe and secluded as we can be.”
Muizenberg resident Eckardt Winks thanked Elaine on Facebook for being the glue in the community. He said she left a gap that would be felt forever.
Celia Musikanth wrote that Elaine had been a key part of so many community events.
Cathy Watts Durrbaum described Elaine as a pillar of the community, saying she deserves a well-earned rest, and Mary Myson Bassett said Elaine had served the community well and had left her mark.
Leigh Naude, Elaine’s daughter, also publicly thanked her mom for her tireless service to the community, but celebrated having her mom back.
“Family time can now be had – dinner time with family will happen again after 14 years. I love you and salute you and all the Upper Crust staff and thank you to all the customers for your support.”