Interview of Chef Giles and Chef Guy by Bernadette Erasmus
Cape Town, Mother City, her vibrancy has a confidence, rightly so. This Lady has it all, Ocean, Table Mountain (incidentally one of the New 7 wonders of Nature), great outdoors and multi- cultural social scene.
You got to eat, right? Here’s looking at it from a different perspective. Both Chef Giles and Chef Guy have agreed to talk food to us. Let’s start with brothers Giles and James Edwards’ La Tete (French for The Head) Restaurant.
They are situated in trendy Bree Street in the City Centre. Chef Giles has brought his expertise from “10 years in London, working under Fergus Henderson at St JOHN, a famed nose-to-teal eatery”. This is the brothers’ first venture together. It will appeal to the gutsy out there. The menu changes daily and it can include anything from crispy pig’s ears to pig’s head pie. La Tete was nominated as one of the best new restaurants for 2017 by CNN
Tell us about a special “wow” moment for you since starting your new venture? It has been a rollercoaster of emotions building the restaurant, so when I see the place full with patrons it amazes me every time to think how far we have come and what it is we are trying to do.
Who is your favourite chef and why? I would have to say my mentor, Fergus Henderson. It’s about a principle and justifying everything that goes into a plate of food. Fergus does this with such ease and confidence that it is impossible not to respect.
What is your favourite foodie travel destination and why? Tricky, anywhere in Europe, but if I had to be picky I would say France or Spain. There is such a deep rooted respect and understanding for food on the continent. Food is treated with respect, and tradition plays a huge part of how it is prepared from region to region.
What are your thoughts on Banting? None, I think if it works for you then go for it! Luckily our menu is Banting friendly.
Instagram, what is your take on this phenomenal that patrons tend to first check which restaurant/food is trending, before opting to go to the restaurant? I am a strong believer in social media, and Instagram is one of my favourites. It is a great link for the patron to experience a restaurant without even setting foot in it. You can follow the journey of produce being delivered to a restaurant, be it foraged mushrooms, lamb carcass or even cherries, to seeing the final dish on Instagram. Then to walk into the restaurant and eat this, it’s a whole new relationship with your food. I do also see the danger in this as trends can come and go so fast.
On the same point what are your thoughts on for ex the popularity of Adeline Waugh’s following on @vibrantandpure especially the mermaid toast (yes really)? People look to ‘influencers’. The learning is that ‘word of mouth’ is more important than ever.
What would be your favourite Instagram picture of your work? I can’t say I have a favourite. What I do like is the story my “feed” tells. I have so many people who comment on what a great environment La Tete is, just based on our Instagram account. I really feel that our feed is honest and portrays us for what and who we are.
Do you have an item on the menu that relates to yet another trend namely black food, ex black garlic, black pasta and what is your take on it? Trends come and trends go. We like the classics; having said that our boudin noir is very popular. I think Nose-to-Tail is here to stay though.
Would you consider doing a pop-up as renowned Danish Chef Rene Redzepi has done in Australia and now in Mexico?Pop ups are great. The theme for La Tete started as a pop up in Salt River in 2015. I was trying out things like pig tails and the like on unsuspecting Capetonians.
What can we expect from you in a year or so? More of the same, I am constantly trying to find better products and better ingredients to work with, consistency is key in this game.
Now to introduce Chef Guy Clark, Master Chef South Africa, season 1 contestant and Food Network LA Winner in 2015. He has returned from his travels abroad, which include running Analkit Singh’s family kitchens in India and working as Executive Sous Chef at Seaspice in Miami. First he created a pop up venture in Franschhoek. Now he is Executive Chef at Tintswalo Atlantic, a five-star boutique lodge with a spectacular setting. He is presenting an ‘Ocean & Ash’ tasting menu, where local ingredients and foraging are important components of the process. Impressive as Guy is self-taught, he only took cooking up professionally at 30 when he competed in the first season of Master Chef South Africa. He finished in the top 11.
Tell us about a special “wow” moment for you since starting your new venture? When the Team and I made the liquid umami (starter) for the first time. It took 2 days to perfect, we left out the garlic, in the end we opted for wild garlic; it becomes dehydrated compressed ash. So when the cover was lifted, the visual was like a lit ocean with a smoky flavour.
Who is your favourite chef and why?Swedish Chef Magnus Nilsson. His restaurant is in the middle of nowhere. You have to hire a car to get there. His style is minimalistic, clean and inspiring. The rustic setting also contributes to the visual journey, unlike food you get in restaurants like in say New York
What is your favourite foodie travel destination and why? Asia – the flavour profile is incredible. Even the street food is clean and varied in flavour.
What are your thoughts on Banting? It makes sense out of ancestral DNA point of view, upping protein intake and cutting carbs. The hype can become a fad though. The bottom line is no two humans are identical where your internal structure and PH balance are concerned. Eating according to your blood group might make more sense.
Instagram, what is your take on this phenomenal that patrons tend to first check which restaurant/food is trending, before opting to go to the restaurant? Technology like Instagram and the food app portrays what dish a restaurant is famous for, not necessarily the food. So it might only be another description with #OMG
On the same point what is your thoughts on for ex the popularity of Adeline Waugh’s following on @vibrantandpure especially the mermaid toast (yes really)? She is not a chef, but a stylist. Blue is not healthy- too much sugar, would a mom make this for her child? It is geared towards a specific following.
What would be your favourite Instagram picture of your work? Tintswalo 3rd Course, Smoked Kudu Ocean Curd Egg Yolk
Do you have an item on the menu that relates to yet another trend, namely black food, e.g., black garlic, black pasta and what is your take on it? Black food, uses black colouring and reminds me of the Halloween Burger that was available in SA some time ago. It relates to my Ashes menu, beautiful substance if you know how to work with it. The first dish of the Second Course is Springbok-Snoek-Pistachio ash balls. The snoek (local fish) is smoked with a thin layer on the outside, the pistachio is not toasted, giving it a simplistic cool flavour. This ties in with Ocean and Ash, which is apt as Tintwalo burned down. (Has been restored since) It is part of life‘s evolution, appreciate what you got.
Would you consider doing a pop-up as renowned Danish Chef Rene Redzepi has done in Australia and now in Mexico? Chef Rene is dynamic. I have done this at Bellingham. I will be focusing on different menus for Tintswalo now.
What can we expect from you in a year or so? Menu changes and a Cookbook with recipes dedicated to each staff member.