SA chef on top of the world

Not ex­pect­ing to win, Chantel went to Poland for the awards just to meet her cook­ing idols

Saturday Star - - NEWS -

have taken South Africa too se­ri­ously at an awards func­tion of this cal­i­bre, will sit up and no­tice and be­come aware of the tal­ent that we have in South Africa.

“Ever since win­ning the award, I have re­ceived a num­ber of calls from in­ter na­tional chefs whose restau­rants I’ve eaten in, as well as for­eign guests plan­ning a visit to South Africa.”

Dart­nall ad­mits her culi­nary jour­ney hasn’t been an easy one. “It is a tough, male-ori­en­tated in­dus­try and with­out los­ing your fem­i­nin­ity, you have to be tough as well,” says Dart­nall.

“Up­front, you must un­der­stand that the hours are long and you have to give up a lot. For me, though, it is in my blood. I can’t imag­ine do­ing any­thing else. The kitchen is my happy place. “

Af­ter she g rad­u­ated from the Prue Leith Chefs Academy, ac­claimed UK chef Nico Lade­nis of­fered Dart­nall a po­si­tion in the kitchen of his three-star Miche­lin res­tau­rant, Chez Nico, in Lon­don, a huge break for the young chef.

She also worked with Michael Caines at Gi­dleigh Park in Devon, a two Miche­lin star es­tab­lish­ment, while chefs such as Lade­nis, Alain Du­casse and Marco Pierre White set the stan­dards by which Dart­nall mea­sured her­self on her re­turn to South Africa, where she opened up Res­tau­rant Mo­saic and has been there for the last 11 years.

“When I ar­rived in Lon­don as a young, in­ex­pe­ri­enced com­mis chef in the busy Chez Nico kitchen, I was chucked in the deep end.

“It didn’t take long to learn that the quicker and the more per­fectly you per­formed the tasks you were given, the greater the rest of the team’s re­spect be­came for you and even­tu­ally I was one of the team.

“This taught me that no mat­ter how hard any task may seem, if you prac­tice and per­se­vere it all be­comes eas­ier in the end.”

Dart­nall be­gan cook­ing at a very young age and cred­its her mom as her in­spi­ra­tion. “My mother was one of my big­gest in­flu­ences grow­ing up. Even now the smell of a roast chicken brings back won­der­ful child­hood mem­o­ries. I can still smell it roast­ing.

“My fam­ily has al­ways sup­ported me and en­cour­aged me to do what I en­joy and they have ex­posed me and pro­vided me with the op­por­tu­ni­ties to ex­plore the culi­nary world.”

Spring menu 2017, left, and soup of the day, two of Chantel Dart­nall’s scrump­tious dishes

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