A Well-awarded Feast

SLOW Magazine - - Contents - Text: Paula Whit­taker Im­ages © Restau­rant Mo­saic

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.

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