Vanie Padayachee

Vanie Padayachee

Born and raised in Durban. Trained at ML Sultan Hotel School, and worked at The Halyards Hotel in Port Alfred, The Plettenberg Hotel in Plettenberg Bay, and Grande Provence in Franschhoek.

Gave cooking classes at Le Quartier Français in Franschhoek from 2013, and stayed on when Leeu Collection acquired it in 2015. Travelled to India before returning to Leeu Collection as head of Marigold Authentic Indian in 2016.

Current Executive chef at Marigold Authentic Indian in Franschhoek

Restaurants she rates in 2019

For a casual meal French Connection in Franschhoek. Chef-patron Matthew Gordon has tweaked the menu little, but for years, I’ve been going back for the slow-roasted free-range duck – cooked and served just the way it’s been done for 17 years. Staff are old friends, they know what you drink, and will suggest it before you have looked at the menu.
Tuk Tuk Microbrewery is another. Mexican is one of my favourite comfort foods, and I get this at my doorstep in Franschhoek. Generous portions of cheese nachos with all the trimmings, and chilli poppers to die for. The staff know my tastes, and I don’t need a menu; they smile and say: “The usual then?” I like this, as I don’t need to make any decisions. It’s my time out, just to enjoy and relax.

For a special occasion Le Petit Manoir. It’s a “grown-up” restaurant: everything from the glasses, to cutlery to crockery, and décor is very elegant. The food is top nosh and presented with elegance.
In Cape Town, it’s Chefs Warehouse Beau Constantia.

For a guilty pleasure Big Dog Café for coffee and coconut cake; Le Petit Paris for the delicious veggie burger, and sweet potato chips; Marigold for my takeout Indian fix.

For a Winelands experience Chefs Warehouse at Maison. I love this view of Franschhoek. We have the iconic views from Haute Cabriere and La Petite Ferme, overlooking Franschhoek from higher up in the village, but this is a different view, almost as if you are in the French countryside.

For authentic cuisine El Burro; and Tuk Tuk Microbrewery. I’m a sucker for Mexican. Love , love, love. I will drive for miles, but I have one at my doorstep and the other an hour away.
The Cousins Trattoria; my Italian fix. Love the use of simple ingredients, and homemade pasta is my weakness.

Best new restaurant Cafeteria in Table Bay Mall. Quirky, delicious. Breakfast is heaven; lunches are fun, healthy and light.
Beleef in Franschhoek. Herman is doing traditional South African food, with a twist. The vanilla soufflé is the best.
Protégé at Le Quartier Francais in Franschhoek. This is simple, fun and wholesome food, and the flavours are clean and fresh.
Upper Bloem was my best lunch dining experience in a long time. A beautifully balanced set menu. Very well priced.
The Willaston Bar at The Silo. Love their tapas and burgers.
Big Dog Café in Franschhoek. Great breakfast and lunch spot. Delicious coffee.

Best “oldie but goodie” The Grande Café. I just love this spot. The vibe is great. Staff super-cool.
Quay Four. Still my best to just sit out on the docks and enjoy fish and chips.
Le Bon Vivant in Franschhoek. Pierre [Hendriks] has been here for many years and it’s still a favourite.

The best restaurant overall In Franschhoek: Le Bon Vivant; French Connection.
In Cape Town and surrounding areas: The Willaston Bar at The Silo; Chefs Warehouse Beau Constantia.