This article was first featured on The Inside Guide
Spent 10 years living and working in London. Worked with Fergus Henderson at St John in Smithfield. Returned to Cape Town and opened Salt Cellar pop-up in Woodstock. Opened La Tête on Bree Street in 2016.
Current Owner-chef at La Tête.
RESTAURANTS HE RATES IN 2018
For a casual meal: A Tavola
For a special occasion: The Table Restaurant at De Meye Wine Estate
For a healthy meal: The General Store
For a quick bite: Max Bagels
For a Winelands experience: The Table Restaurant at De Meye Wine Estate
For authentic cuisine: Hesheng Chinese Restaurant
The best restaurant overall: Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia
The Chef-patron and staunch nose-to-tail advocate, 34, on hangover cures and the best rotis in Cape Town.
I was born in Johannesburg; raised in Cape Town.
La Tête is all about sustainability.
The food is European with a heavy French influence, depending on how I feel on the day. My style is honest, homely cooking, with a major focus on ingredients.
The thing I love most about living in Cape Town is the ocean. Every day in the kitchen is a hot and stressful one. The only way I can cleanse is in the cold water. I tend to go as often as I can, just to purge my bones in the icy water off the coast of Cape Town.
My favourite under-the-radar spot is He Sheng on Sea Point Main Road. It’s fantastic; I just love popping in when I have a chance. Depending on the weather I quite often go for a refuelling broth, or else the fried pancakes and pig-ear salad. They have a great array of offal and it’s right up my street, with plenty of chilli and soy.
Another one of my favourites is Sunrise Chip ’n’ Ranch in Woodstock. It’s a take-away roti shop that sells Gatsbys and footlong rotis. I always go for the veggie options, with extra chilli. I just wish I had known about this place in my student days.
My best bar is Dust and Dynamite that opened just before we did [in November 2016]. It’s a late-night joint in Harrington Street and is just the perfect place to sip a cold beer and relax after a long week in the kitchen. Wayne, the owner, is a real-life cowboy – he’s from another era. The place has been meticulously put together by him. The music is great, too. Be sure not to walk straight past, because you could easily miss it. It’s brave and different, and I feel we have a lot in common in this regard. Go in with an open mind.
I’m planning on checking out Chinchilla in Camps Bay.
The best thing for a or a hangover is a Clarke’s burger, coupled with one of their Bloody Marys.
I always go to The Table at De Meye for Sunday lunch. With two small kids, it’s perfect for me to sit outside on the lawn. Jess’s food is exactly the thing I like to eat, and Luke is always such a great host.
Llandudno is definitely my favourite beach, especially when there is some swell. However, most weekends me and the family love Bakoven.
I live under Newlands Forest so I am always in there. I love the contour between Newlands Forest and the Blockhouse, and then on to Kloof Nek Corner. If there has been some rain, the waterfalls are fantastic.
My best weekend getaway is Churchhaven; I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to find this spot. It’s close enough that it doesn’t take a whole day to get there, yet it is so off the grid you don’t even get a mobile signal, which is perfect.
If I had the power to annihilate all recordings of one song, it would be The Black Eyed Peas: “I Gotta Feeling”.
My dream lunch date would be my entire family. We all live in different places, so it is very hard to get everyone around the same table.
I would sing a duet with Janis Joplin.
My favourite dish changes everyday. Last year, I think the Deep-Fried Fish Sandwich was a win. At the moment, though, I am obsessed with our homemade crème fraîche, and I am extremely proud of our sourdough, which took us a long time to culture and perfect. It’s the small things that make me extremely happy.
I believe we need to be more conscious about what we eat, and where it comes from: the conditions in which the animals are raised to how they are slaughtered.
My inspiration comes from my surroundings. Obviously seasons, and what is around, but the great thing about an ever-changing menu is that I can change with the climate.
To get a sense of what customers want I spend a lot of time at the tables, getting feedback and hearing what my diners have to say. Criticism is a hard pill to swallow, and everyone has an opinion. I think the trick is to listen, and filter what is being said. I am confident in what I do, which I think helps a lot.
Food trends are changing rapidly – there is a move towards more healthier options: broths, ramens, even raw food. But I must say I try keep things as classic and simple as possible. It is very easy to become confused in what you are as a restaurant. There are definitely more conscious diners around nowadays, who are looking for more information about their food.
If I could live anywhere in the world, it would be somewhere in the south of France. I joke with people that I wish I was French. I just love the European lifestyle, and I think the French are the masters . The focus on food and eating is massive to your everyday life, and the connection with your food is something I love. Having said this, Cape Town is fairly similar, so for the moment I am very happy here.
My favourite annual event is The Argus [ed: It’s now called The Cape Town Cycle Tour.]. I first did it when I was 14 and have loved it ever since. Every year I take my oldest son, and we watch the leaders come flying past Newlands Avenue.