Modern South African cuisine thrives at Grande Provence
A passion for local produce, engaging with fellow chefs and the energy of the South African food scene are the crux of the new style of food created at The Restaurant at Grande Provence by Executive Chef Guy Bennett.
“Modern South African” is how Chef Guy, who has been leading the Grande Provence kitchen brigade at this Franschhoek Heritage Wine Estate since late last year, describes his cooking style.
Born and raised in Cape Town, his food is undeniably influenced by local produce and his surroundings, resulting in beautifully presented yet uncomplicated delicious creations covering a wide taste spectrum. From light, delicately gin cured Franschhoek trout and fresh Saldanha oysters to deliciously rich cauliflower & mushroom risotto or Karoo lamb neck with sweetbreads, the artistry of this creative chef takes a bow on every plate.
Influences from chefs abroad are also evident with smatterings of internationally inspired textures and flavours such as kromeski, miso, labneh, dukkah and wasabi all melding seamlessly as understudies to the local ingredients.
Unfettered by the notion of a fixed restaurant menu, Chef Guy champions an ever evolving and dynamic menu allowing for new creations to make their appearance.
“I dislike menus that stay fixed for more than one season and encourage my chefs to bring forward their ideas. We change our dishes constantly incorporating new ingredients and produce that become available as the seasons change,” says Chef Guy, who likes to tweak things up menu wise to keep himself and his team energised and creatively stimulated.
Sourcing the best seasonal ingredients and working closely with local suppliers and farmers is another important aspect of Chef Guy’s food philosophy: “I like to know where the produce comes from, who grows it and how they go about doing that. I need to know what I’m working with and that ethical practices were involved.”
Engaging with artisanal suppliers and fellow chefs also fuels his creativity: “We are always bumping information and ideas off each other which inspires me. I am excited about the South African food scene and proud to be part of it,” he adds.
The Restaurant at Grande Provence is open daily for lunch and dinner. The à la carte menu includes a 3-course lunch at R450 per person and a 4-course dinner at R725. The menu offers pairing suggestions for every dish from the wide range of elegant Grande Provence wines. To book your table, call Tel: (021) 876 8600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
More about Chef Guy Bennett
This seasoned chef has worked his way up the ranks alongside some of Cape Town’s most celebrated culinary masters the likes of Michael Deg, Bertus Basson, Reuben Riffel and top pastry chef, André Steyn.
Working with these leading chefs from tiny boutique kitchens to busy international hotels has equipped Chef Guy to understand the diverse needs of his guests. He allows the changing seasons to guide his cooking and constantly seeks new ways of improving what he produces.
“Cooking with passion, day after day, bouncing ideas off my mentors and watching guests enjoying our food, have made me the chef I am today,” says Chef Guy who considers his appointment as Executive Chef at Grande Provence his “biggest and brightest venture to date.”
Chef Guy is a proud Capetonian whose passion for cooking began at his mother’s and Ouma’s knee, and beside the braai with his dad. With his sights firmly set on becoming a chef at an early age and to the surprise of many a classmate, he chose home economics as one of his subjects at school. After completing apprenticeships at Savoy Cabbage and Buitenverwachting in his early twenties, he joined Reuben Riffel at the One and Only and later moved to The Robertson Small Hotel. He was soon snatched up by Delaire Graff Restaurant where he worked as Michael Deg’s right hand man. His last stint before joining Grande Provence was head chef for Bertus Basson.
Connecting with fellow chefs has been a life force on his culinary journey: “Unity breeds a passion to keep pushing, and to strengthen South Africa’s food scene on the global map. We bounce ideas off each other, and push each other to create great food.”
When it comes to his own style, Chef Guy is influenced by classic and modern techniques, both local and international, incorporating old and new school approaches to achieving a finished dish. Creating food for all tastes, he includes light, fresh and rich dishes in his menu.
“I consider all the aspects that make up a good dish: sweetness, bitterness, acidity and texture,” he adds.
Chef Guy is a creative chef who lets the produce used and elements incorporated into his dishes do the talking: “I am not a huge fan of smoke screens and magic.”
“I’d like to create an experience, a platform of sorts, where diners can put the rest of their lives on pause for a few hours and experience an amazing meal with good company. Great food and wine, an amazing setting and good times.”
More about Grande Provence Heritage Wine Estate
Located in Franschhoek, the heartland of South African wine country, Grande Provence Heritage Wine Estate embraces true South African wine heritage, excellent food at The Restaurant and luxury accommodation at The Owner’s Cottage and La Provençale. Part of the internationally acclaimed Huka Retreats, other facilities Grande Provence offers guests are The Winery, The Jonkershuis, The Gallery, The Sculpture Garden and The Shop. For more information visit www.grandeprovence.co.za, Facebook.com or Twitter @grande_provence.
Issued by: GC Communications
Contact: Gudrun Clark
Tel: +27 +21-462 0520
On behalf of: Grande Provence Heritage Wine Estate
Contact: Marna Viljoen