A Well-awarded Feast
Last year was a stellar year for Chantel Dartnall, one of South Africa’s most famous chefs, as she and her restaurant, Restaurant Mosaic, received some of the most acclaimed awards in the culinary industry. And, with extraordinarily creative dishes – with names like The Clash of Constellations, Sea Mist, and Song of the Sea, each presented as an artwork with flavourful tales to tell – it is easy to see why so many of the top critics were eager to tuck in and taste the stories told by Mosaic cuisine.
At the helm of this culinary cruiser is Chef Chantel, who last year scooped the award for Best Female Chef in the world at The Best Chef Lady Awards in Warsaw, Poland. She was also placed at number 32 in the Best Chef Awards Top 100 list for 2017. This meant she was not only the highest positioned woman, she was also one of only three to make the top 50, as well as being the only South African to make the top 100.
Her list of achievements does not stop there. In June last year, Chef Chantel was named 2017 Chef of the Year for Africa and the Middle East by the prestigious Luxury Travel Guide Awards, and her restaurant was presented a top-tier, three-star award from the respected World of Fine Wine list of World’s Best Wine. On top of that, Restaurant Mosaic was named
Luxury Restaurant of the Year by Travel and Hospitality Awards. Completing the list, well-known dining blog Eat Out also awarded Mosaic the Service Excellence Award, the Wine Service Award – thanks to sommelier Moses Magwaza – and placed the establishment second on the list of top 10 Best Restaurants of South Africa.
With an awards cabinet packed to the very brim, Chef Chantel and her finedining creations at Restaurant Mosaic have enhanced the status of South Africa as a culinary capital.
For her dishes, Chef Chantel combines her classical French training with her love of nature – botanicals play a huge role in her creations. A traveller that enjoys savouring different flavours, she is also inspired by her travels abroad – she has visited and worked in some of the finest restaurants in London, Italy, Portugal, Madeira, Spain, and France. Chef Chantel still packs up her knives and travels regularly in order to keep up with international trends, and to ensure that Restaurant Mosaic continues to uphold its reputation as one of the finest restaurants in the world.
Restaurant Mosaic – situated at the Orient Boutique Hotel in Elandsfontein, Pretoria – has been decorated to pay tribute to Chef Chantel’s love of Parisian Belle Époque restaurants. In this romantic palace of gastronomy, diners are offered the Cosmorganic menu for the Summer Season, which was inspired by the “supposed character of the universe as a living organism whose atoms are severally endowed with sensibility, asserting that the organic in the whole of the universe, as well as in the narrow sphere of single bodies on the earth, and is the first thing from which the inorganic was separated . . .”
Chef Chantel looked to nature and the seasonal produce available – she is passionate about using organic produce – to construct the Cosmorganic menu. The names of the dishes will have you thinking that they describe storybooks, but each dish it a story in itself. The selection of “Small Preludes” features the dish Some Birds Don’t Fly – made with South Africa’s famous land bird, ostrich, as well as beetroot and plum – and the Sea Mist, with scallop, langoustine, and saffron, comes to the table shrouded in ripples of white mist.
For mains, the French influence is exemplified with Côte D’azur: ratatouille and soldier line fish decorated with a courgette flower. Tajine du Maghreb pays tribute to the Orient Boutique Hotel’s Moorish palace aesthetic, and features capretto, prunes, and argan oil.
Chef Chantel emphasises that she has embraced her femininity on her culinary journey, and feels that it is important for chefs to reveal their true personalities in the way their dishes are presented. When looking at what is carried out of Restaurant Mosaic’s kitchen, Chef Chantel’s innovation, creativity, and passion certainly shine through.
For more information about Restaurant Mosaic, visit www.restaurantmosaic.com.