Trained at the Beverly Hills Hotel, Umhlanga Rocks, Kwazulu-Natal. Lived and worked at some of the top restaurants in London for nine years. Returned to South Africa in 1999 and assisted in opening the restaurant at La Couronne Hotel and Winery in Franschhoek (now Mont Rochelle). Has worked in Namibia, Bangkok, Hanoi, Sydney and Oman. Author of three cookbooks (A Life Digested, Kitchen Cowboys, and Blue Restaurant).
Was a judge on MasterChef South Africa for four seasons; starred in Don’t Burn Your Sausage.
Current Judge on Ultimate Braai Master (season 6); consultant for Dukkah in Durban; purveyor of braai sauces and condiments
Restaurants he rates in 2019
For a casual meal Clarke’s in Bree Street is top of my list for somewhere simple but top-quality – best burgers in town and cheese fries to die for.
For a special occasion La Colombe is the best place in town if you’re going to propose, apologise or announce something fabulous. The food is magnificent but it’s the attention to detail and the beautiful view that put it in a category all of its own.
For a guilty pleasure The Taverna Vasco da Gama in Green Point is one of my favourite haunts; it’s always full, always noisy, the service is friendly, the beer ice cold and the food simple and well-executed. You will not find a better peri-peri chicken in all of Cape Town. It’s also the best place to watch whatever sport floats your boat.
For a Winelands experience For sheer innovation and artistic expression that is equally matched by superb cooking is The Restaurant at Waterkloof in Somerset West; and for the most solid and consistent cooking in the Western Cape, not just the Winelands, is Restaurant Jardine in Stellenbosch.
For authentic cuisine A Tavola in Claremont for the best Italian food I’ve eaten outside of Italy; and Thali in Gardens for as good an Indian cuisine as I’ve eaten anywhere.
Best new restaurant Upper Bloem in Green Point – innovative cooking in an intimate setting. It’s great to see traditional South African food being interpreted in a modern restaurant idiom.
Best “oldie but goodie” The Foodbarn in Noordhoek constantly delivers the same quality of food and service as the day it opened about 12 years ago. Franck Dangereux is still one of the most talented chefs in the Cape, and his food-and-wine pairing lunches are not to be missed.
The best restaurant overall The Test Kitchen is still the benchmark for the consummate restaurant experience. Every year it seems to get better: there is no resting on laurels just a constant drive to push the envelope of good food, wine and service.
Restaurants he rated in 2018
For a casual meal Woodcutter Arms in Hout Bay
For a special occasion Greenhouse
For a healthy meal Raw and Roxy
For a quick bite Dario’s Cafe in Hout Bay
For a Winelands experience Restaurant Jardine
For authentic cuisine Kyoto Garden Sushi
The best restaurant overall The Test Kitchen