Jump to content

Chef from Clarens

participating member
  • Content count

    26
  • Joined

  • Last visited

About Chef from Clarens

  • Birthday 03/28/1958

Contact Methods

  • Website URL
    http://
  1. Culinary Classifieds

    To all you want to be chefs... I am from South Africa, own and run a successful 50 seater upmarket grill house restaurant and a 25 roomed 3* hotel. We offer mid-life training stages in our organisation. You are welcome to contact me for more information, but in a nutshell, the candidate comes and spends up to 4 weeks in various departments of the hotel or specifically the kitchen. In those 4 weeks we endevour to help acertain whether or not the candidate really wants to work in a restaurant/ kitchen or whether they have been enticed by the romantic visions from childhood / TV shows etc. More often than not candidates leave saying "THANK YOU for opening my eyes to what could have been the biggest mistake of my life. I'll stay a happy home cook!!" BUT on the other hand we've woken passions in some people that have had to be addressed. We leave that up to them. Some stay on as trainees in my kitchen, some go home and dream and others go back to school. Mail me in confidence hereEmail me
  2. A very talented cook, never sent us to school with a boring lunch box nor cooked a dull meal for her family ever. You go Mum!!
  3. I've tried several types over the years but have to confess to finding the ULTIMATE ice cream maker made by DONVIER. The tub lives in my deep freeze and from start to finish, (if its not custard ice cream) it takes less than 20 min to make a quart of DEEEEEElichious creamy ice cream.
  4. Chefs with food dislikes and prejudices

    Personally I cant stand baked or hot puddings & desserts, hence the dearth of Baked Cheese cakes compared to Fridge cheese cakes on my menus. Of late though, my wife has taken over the dessert section and guess what ??we now serve Whiskey Bread & Butter Pudding, Creme Brulee, Creme Caramel, Malva Pudding, in addition to all my old favorites, like Choc Mousse, Rhubarb Pavlovas, ....JBTW do cooked custard ice creams count as cooked puddings cause those I love...just finished putting the final touches to a Green Tea & White Chocolate Ice Cream and a Peanut Butter & Cashew nut & honey Ice Cream.
  5. I grew up in South Africa where my Mom used to make several variations on a theme for us 4 kids for breakfast. We called them OX-EYE EGGS. Ver1.0 Cut hole with scone cutter (crinckle cut circular thing), fry in a pan in oil until bread is crispy, flip and drop an egg into the hole, always served runny & soft YUM YUM Ver 2.0 Cut hole as above but soak bread in beaten egg mixture a la French Toast, cook on one side then flip & drop an egg into the hole...French Ox Eyes Ver 3.0 Using a THICK slice of bread cut a flat pocket and push a slice of cheese into this pocket so you now have a layer of bread, then cheese, then bread. Now cut the hole, fry in lots of butter till lightly browned, flip, drop the egg in and cook till egg starts to set then pop under the salamander or grill and finish there. Ver 4.0 Same as above but put a slice of ham in the pocket with a good lashing of Coleman's English Mustard. Optional finish: good dollop of Bernaise or Hollandaise Sauce on top for good measure. This one we called the The Piggy Bulls Eye. JBTW another great breakfast dish from kids days was in a greased muffin pan, line the holes with bacon and drop an egg into each one and pop into a 200 deg C oven till the eggs have set to your likening....nearly as good as skotch eggs??!!
  6. Restaurant updates in Cape Town

    I can't recall where I saw it mentioned, but am finally beginning the restaurant booking phase for my August trip and am wondering if this should make the short list. For good public reviews try using Food 24 and search the site for restaurant reviews. Generally they will point out the best. Also look at www.wapit.co.za for restaurant menus. Still a developing site but quite helpful otherwise just keep aking...we can suggest a bushell...how big is your budget!!??
  7. Opening a new restaurant..who wants to know?

    Well well well, isn't life just sooo cool sometimes. I have always coveted a site right at the entrance to our village, it's about 800 m away from my hotel front door and even less from my house, right on the entrance / exit intersection with great road frontage, great access and even better parking, overlooking the golf course and our big resident mountain on the North East (Sunny Side) and overlooking a bubbling little stream and willow trees on the South West ( Shady Side). Well, on the way to talk to the agent about a piece of land I was interested in not this one, a good friend called me up this morning to come and view the site and was I gobsmacked to hear that not only had he bought the site, but wanted to build a restaurant to lease out on the site. We're busy drinking beer and drawing plans this afternoon and the architect arrives tomorrow!!I am so excited: a restaurant custom built to my specs and I don't even have to worry about the builders or the plumbers. Now this has happened it has sped up my plans by about 2000%. The original piece of land is still on the market, but I don't need it anymore! Bruce & I signed a memorandum of understanding on the new restaurant this afternoon and already I can feel my cooking genes roaring again. I think I'll cook something special tonight to celebrate!!
  8. Opening a new restaurant..who wants to know?

    Why don't you use your existing hotel and open a restaurant there, I hear you say. Well that's easy to answer, the village is set around a quaint town square, all grassed and pretty. All the "action" happens or traditionally has happened around here. Tourists like to park and walk about our village, browsing from gallery to craft shop, pavement cafe to bistro as they spend their day & their bucks in our little tourist haven. Our hotel is situated about a mile off the square, overlooking our lovely mountain scenery, the new golf course (yes we have one of those developments busy being finished off here too) and looking onto the village. BUT we are just too far off the beaten track for tourists to wander in for food, especially when they have 14 or 15 pubs and restaurants on, or just off, the square and especially if they have to get into their cars to drive here. Yes we did try when we first opened but soon realised that we should concentrate on our core business which is accommodation (B&B on weekends) and Mon - Fri Conference Groups and, yes, we make a good living out of it. but still. there is that empty place in my cooking soul. I have spent the last few years idly looking at sites and daydreaming the perfect restaurant for our village as we have watched it grow, and grow it has over the last few years. Property prices have risen in leaps and bounds (a 900 sqm stand in 2000 going for R35 000 was recently sold for the 4th time for R1 300 000!!!) The demographics have changed dramatically with the building of over 750 very upmarket holiday homes for the wealthy yuppie class from Johannesburg. Three new golf courses are in the process of being built (including 2 Gary Player signature courses!! as well as one built by the Pinnacle Group who currently are the only golf course owners of a World Top Ten Course out of the USA {Pinnacle Point on the Garden Route here in South Africa [see http://www.pinnaclepoint.co.za/ ]} What with all this expansion our village has still maintained its quaintness and village feel. But, and I say this with greatest of respect to my colleagues in the food industry, bar 1 or 2 restaurants in our village, the food standard is very poor, acceptable but hardly recommendable. Great service when the owner is around but when they're not (most of the time it seems) staff are left to their own devices. http://www.clarens.co.za/Restaurants.htm Now one thing you have to understand about Africa is staff and the lack of skills..yes I know we are all partly to blame and a large problem is the lack of education afforded some of our people under the old apartheid system. This has come back to haunt us all because most black people 25 and up had a pretty shitty education and it is from this Previously Disadvantaged group that we draw the larger part of our labour. Training is an ongoing and fundamental part of running any business in South Africa. The good news is that we have had a couple of really great schools in our village run by some incredibly passionate teachers and the fruit of their labours is starting to show with the first classes who have gone from start to finish under the new education system set to graduate this year!! We live in high hopes!! So apart from finding the right spot for my new shop, the training of staff is going to be almost as big a challenge, because dear Gulleteer, unfortunately for all, I am a perfectionist. It is this single trait, that that in my eyes, makes my life pain-full. I would rather not do something than not do it properly. I am not saying I need silver service waiters and French sounding Maitre-d's, but I do need thinking, creative, responsible, caring, service-orientated hospitable staff, more than just warm bodies that attend between the hours of opening and closing! Most of our prospective staff have never eaten anything but home cooked food and so the concept of going "out" to eat is the first hurdle in getting the mindset right in explaining why people would waste money on restaurant food. Fortunately, because our village is small, most everyone knows someone who works in the food & service industry and so half our battle is over BUT it's top class service I need to instill in all my staff. The fact that nothing is too much trouble, we can go the extra yard, to steal from Avis Rent A Car...WE TRY HARDER. That;s all I ask of my staff.. well on a bad day, on a good day we are going to soar with the eagles. I'm off to see a piece of property that I thought was spoken for but appears to be available at a price I can afford so....I'm outta here fast...keep you posted and sincerely from the bottom of my heart..thanks for reading!!
  9. Opening a new restaurant..who wants to know?

    Well here goes... I have been a chef since 1975, trained in-house at the Beverley Hills Hotel, Umhlanga Rocks, just north of Durban, South Africa, and worked for all the big hotel chains in South Africa. Left the corporate world in 1989 to start my own little country hotel with a restaurant which worked a charm for 10 years, sold that and moved to our present shop, in a little village called Clarens ( see http://www.clarenstourism.co.za/ ). We started a hotel here some seven years ago and it has grown to 24 rooms with a busy conference centre as well as a fair bit of function and wedding catering but I don't cook, not in the real sense of the word if you know what I mean. I prepare brilliant breakfasts, all buffet style for 40 - 60 coverts, I do conference group lunches and dinners and wedding buffets and without blowing my own horn there is no one that touches our quality, attention to detail, our ingredients , our service or whatever BUT ITS JUST NOT COOKING!! I was trained in a 40 seater fine dining restaurant and for most of my cooking life I've cooked good a la carte and not with BIG POTS even if its very nice food, prepared with love and passion. So, dear fellow gulleteers, this is the impasse at which I find myself...watching BBC Food Channel and ranting at myself for not doing something more interesting with the leg of lamb other than just roasting it...(why not debone it, stuff it with baby spinach and fresh wild apricots and roast it, then serve it on a demi glaze flavoured with reduced balsamic on a bed of butternut and sweet potato mash....well you get my meaning.) Most of my conference groups would't know the difference between a blade of grass and a plump duck liver if you know what I mean. The question is, do I go meekly into the kitchen and carry on cooking what my conference delegates want or do I throw my self into a new venture, and, forsaking all else, go and cook some real grub??? I know I can leave the present set up in the capable hands of Norah , my right hand-maiden, my wife Megan will be more than capable of the day-to-day running of the hotel with the rest of our staff and while we all like to think we are indispensable, I am sure I might not even be missed! SO I HAVE DECIDED... I am going to look for a new shop. It must be close by, it must be made to measure, ( I am too old to try and fit a kitchen into a store room or whatever) it must have POSITION POSITION and POSITION and well yes I guess that's all I really need to start me off on my mission.. so until I find the spot ...keep happy and busy!!
  10. I live in a little village high up in the mountains on the border between Lesotho and South Africa. Our village is a tourist destination and has a population of less than 2500 but 18 art galleries, 14 pub & restaurants, 2 hotels ( of which I own 1) and about 40 B&B's located around our village square. I have been thinking about opening a new stand alone restaurant and was wondering if anyone would be interested in following a thread on the planning, building, outfitting, menu design etc etc of this restaurant. I am keeping a journal of sorts for my kids as I hope one of them will take it over from me when I decide to drink wine on a full time basis instead of a semi-regular basis!! Also the input and advice not to mention the ideas would also be very welcome from fellow gulleteers. It's lonely starting a new venture!! I look forward to hearing from y'all!!
  11. Cape Town - Foodie heaven?

    Glad you had a good time!! Open invitation to any other E gulleters: Please contact the South African members of this forum. I cant speak for all of us but I am sure there are lots of us who would love to show you round our wonderful country and point you in the right directions to find great food while you are here. My mail is simon@cranford.co.za and I am only too happy to tell you more!!
  12. The Six Degrees of Separation Game.

    Well I guess we cant all be perfect can we? Andrew Mehrtens and castle beer Andrew Mehrtens ( The Traitor) the singularly brilliant Fly half of the AB's was born in Durban South Africa and received his formative education & rugby grounding in SA Rugby ( along with cricket, soccer {roll on 2010} braaivleis { barbeque}, and drinking beer) are our national sports in South Africa. The team sponsors of our national rugby team, The Springboks, are SAB Millar PLC, one of the top 3 brewers in the world whose flagship beer is...Castle Lager Beer!!! Nice one!!
  13. The Six Degrees of Separation Game.

    Was the boy who founded Pulp named Durian? ←
  14. The Six Degrees of Separation Game.

    I R outta here Beer & steak calling!!
×