Chef Ash Heeger on Cape Town

Chef Ash Heeger on Cape Town

The owner of Ash Restaurant, 27, on "Despacito", duets, and her dream date.

I was born in the Transkei and raised in Cape Town.

I love pretty much everything about living in Cape Town: the people, the scenery, the produce, the food, and my family is here, too.

The most memorable restaurant meal I’ve eaten recently was at La Colombe – it blew my socks off a couple of months ago. The Pot Luck Club is killing it, too. Also, The Sunnyside Inn.

The best pizza in Cape Town is from Hail Pizza, down the road from us on Bree Street. I’m there at least twice a week. Best Pizzas in South Africa. Hands down. If I’m not at the restaurant, that’s a good place to look for me. I’m probably knee-deep in pizza crusts.

[After Ash], the best burger in Cape Town is from Stacked Diner. I’ll tell you what, I have an absolute addiction to them. Good Lord. They’re something else. I’m a big fan, maybe even the biggest fan. Shout out to Stacked Diner!

[After Publik], the best bar in Cape Town is The House of Machines.

I’m embarrassed to say, I don’t think I’ve ever been to a rooftop bar in Cape Town.

My favourite beach in Cape Town is Oudekraal.

The best hike in Cape Town is Kloof Corner. A quick little hike with a rad trail to run at the top. I do it about twice a week. The views are just incredible and it’s quick.

My favourite weekend getaway is Greyton. My folks have a place there that I shamelessly use whenever I can. It’s so beautiful and quiet out there. Betty’s Bay is another pearler. So is Paternoster.

I try not to take myself too seriously and I hope this shows in our food. My style is quite laid back, a little whimsical sometimes (most times).

Running Ash is literally a balancing act that takes some time to master. What I’m trying to achieve is a balance between being creative, being successful, and being ethical. As long as your produce is well sourced and the provenance is sustainable, half of your work is already done. Supporting other local small businesses is extremely important.

I’m inspired by travel mostly. Having time to decompress and think about direction and changes on a long plane ride normally goes down well. Eating new cuisines and gathering thoughts on new flavour profiles and meeting other chefs. Seeing how they think differently about food and their philosophies. I mean even eating a taco on the side of the road at 4am can be inspiring, can’t it?

Guests, I think, are more interested in a delicious plate of food than a dish that comes with garnishes, foams, unicorn horns, quagga tails and a single micro herb flown in from the Swiss Alps.

Being conscious about where your food comes from is most definitely a step in the right direction. I definitely think diners and chefs are thinking more about the provenance of their food.

If I could live anywhere in the world, I’d choose Cape Town. I don’t think I could ever leave this place again. It’s just too good here. I’ve travelled to most of the countries on my bucket list but I think if I had to pick, it would be somewhere like Copenhagen. It’s got it all. Wonderful people, amazing culture and a good mix of low- and high-brow food.

If I had the power to annihilate all recordings of one song, it would be “Despacito”. Absolutely awful.

My dream lunch date? That’s a tough one! Barack and Michelle Obama.

I’d sing a duet with my girlfriend. I’m literally the worst singer in the world, but she’s magic. Unfortunately she never sings for anyone. So it’s highly unlikely that it would actually happen. Took a few months for her to sing for me even!

My favourite dish that I’ve created? That’s also a tricky one! Probably my parsnip parfait. A vegetable dessert is a strange one but it works so well.

My favourite annual event is the Whiskey Festival. I feel inclined to say something food-based, but I have to go with that…

Ash launches her brand-new summer menu on Monday, 16 October. To book, or for more info, check out her Facebook page.

Opening hours Tuesday – Friday, 6pm – 10pm
Saturday 10.30am – 1pm; 6pm – 10pm
Bar: Tuesday – Saturday, 5pm – 10pm
Contact 021 424 7204,
Location Ash Restaurant, 81 Church Street, Cape Town


The Inside Guide has made every effort to ensure that the information in this post was correct at the time of publication. However, we do not assume any liability caused by errors, such as price, cost, time, and location.

Time of publication: 10 October 2017

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2 Responses to “Chef Ash Heeger on Cape Town”

  1. Patrick Desjardins

    Hi Ash. I’m a chef in Beamsville, Ontario, Canada. What is the most difficult ingredient you’ve ever worked with? And have you integrated it into any of your recipes in your restaurants? Hope you get a chance to visit Canada.

  2. Zand Heim

    I love you girl, seen you come through the ranks and your style of cuisine is epic, this is a girl that defies what is happening around her and goes with her own gut feeling which is very rare and should be welcomed with open arms especially as there are SO many foodies in CT 😉, coming from a person that has done this for a long time, watch this beaut of a human, cause she’s gonna do special things!!!!!! Love u girl