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Cycling in Franschhoek

Franschhoek’s fresh air can enliven the mind and soul like nothing else. Hop aboard a bike for this free tonic and take in some utterly spectacular scenery while you’re at it.

cycle in Franschhoek

Whether you’re simply cruising the Main Street, or flying over Franschhoek Pass—there’s a route to suit every type of cyclist.

Both Le Quartier Français and Delicious are centrally located; offering the ultimate launching pad for savvy cyclists. (Not to mention hot showers, soft beds and incredible cuisine after the trip.)

Plus, Delicious Hotels has a special package for bike lovers.

Have a look at the trails reccomeded by the Franschhoek Cycling Club for beginners and advanced bikers.

Posted by: Susan Huxter
Posted in: Delicious, Franschhoek, Le Quartier Français,
comment-notesComments: 0


  

Chef Gerald van der Walt to join The Tasting Room team

Like every other Executive Chef at the top of their game—Margot Janse has decided to appoint a Head Chef for The Tasting Room; Gerald van der Walt (formerly of The Greenhouse in Cape Town). This creative collaboration is set to take the much-awarded fine dining restaurant to new heights.
“I am most certainly not leaving,” says Margot Janse. “I’ve appointed Gerald as there’s a gap at the top: taking nothing away from my team. I have incredible chefs. Gregory Caci my sous chef is fantastic and he and my team deserve the support. I’m travelling a lot and I think that it’s only fair that there’s another person at the top. This means I’ll be able to manage my time better, and that I can spread myself further without losing anything.”
“He’s a great chef and I love the fact that Gerald knows the food scene in the Cape. And I really like his nature; he’s not a prima donna… His passion is in the right place.”
We caught up with Gerald ahead of his appointment in July to find out more about this intriguing chef.
What excited you about working in The Tasting Room?
The Tasting Room has a great reputation, it’s one of the best restaurants in the
country; and is all about progression and quality. The Tasting Room has been at the forefront for such a long time, how can I not be interested and excited about working there? It’s exactly where I want to be. There are a handful of really great chefs in the country, a lot of good ones, but a small amount of really great ones, now I have the opportunity to work alongside a second, I feel very privileged to have this chance.
Describe your philosophy and approach to cooking?
Food in a fine dining establishment needs to be thought provoking, not necessarily philosophical or sociological, it doesn’t have to change your political views either, but there has to be a few points during the meal when the diner has to query or ask questions; questions such as, I wonder how they made that? That’s an interesting combination; I wonder why they put those together? It has to make you think a little, but only if you want to, of course, a meal should also be enjoyable without having the need to make one think, but it’s nice to make it a talking point, or at least a point of interest.
Food has to be carefully prepared with the focus on quality – never compromise on quality and authenticity; it can be the most complex of dishes with a variety of flavours and textures, or something simple, as long as all care has been taken to make sure it tastes good – and simple doesn’t always mean easy.
Your favourite ingredient?
I love mushrooms. The varieties are so versatile: crumbed and fried, pickled, puréed, as soup or fresh, served with chicken, fish, beef, lamb or by itself, basically any which way with nearly anything. I also enjoy foraging for them when I do get the chance.
What don’t people know about you?
If you don’t know about it, it is probably for the best… Only kidding, I’m not too secretive, I’m quite transparent, there isn’t a great deal people don’t know; I guess the one thing is that I’m trying to write a novel, and as you  can see, I’m still slaving away in the kitchen, so it has not really been successful thus far.
Your thoughts on working with Margot Janse?
I am very excited about the opportunity. When I was a trainee chef, clumsily stumbling my way through chef school, I remember reading articles about her and what she was doing at The Tasting Room (not for a second, did I then, think that I would be where I am today). It is very humbling to have been given this chance, slightly nerve wracking, but very exciting, and I hope to learn a great deal while working next to her.
You’re moving to Franschhoek! What are you looking forward to exploring in the area?
Franschhoek is phenomenal, one of the most beautiful places in our country, Jean [Gerald’s wife] and I can’t believe we’re moving there, but I’m excited to experience the wine farms properly (quite difficult when you have to drive back to Cape Town, the wine has to be limited). Also eating at all the restaurants around the area and the surrounding walks and hikes up the mountains and forests.
Jean and I enjoy time out just wandering around, looking for mushrooms, when the season is right, or just getting lost somewhere. I also really want to try the Wine Tram, very keen on that one.
I know Margot and LQF do a lot of community work, and it will be great to get involved there too.
Other than cooking, what are your passions?
Music, food, sport, all sorts of storytelling and wine – we had a wine-themed wedding, yeah, I like wine a lot.
Describe yourself in three words?
Passionate, driven, grumpy – but funny grumpy, not too serious

Like every other Executive Chef at the top of their game—Margot Janse has decided to appoint a Head Chef for The Tasting Room; Gerald van der Walt (formerly of The Greenhouse in Cape Town). This creative collaboration is set to take the much-awarded fine dining restaurant to new heights.

“I am most certainly not leaving,” says Margot Janse. “I’ve appointed Gerald as there’s a gap at the top: taking nothing away from my team. I have incredible chefs. Gregory Caci my sous chef is fantastic and he and my team deserve the support. I’m travelling a lot and I think that it’s only fair that there’s another person at the top. This means I’ll be able to manage my time better, and that I can spread myself further without losing anything.”

“Gerald’s a great chef and I love the fact that he knows the food scene in the Cape. And I really like his nature; he’s not a prima donna… His passion is in the right place.”

gerald

We caught up with Gerald ahead of his appointment in July to find out more about this intriguing chef.

What excited you about working in The Tasting Room?
The Tasting Room has a great reputation, it’s one of the best restaurants in the country; and is all about progression and quality. The Tasting Room has been at the forefront for such a long time, how can I not be interested and excited about working there? It’s exactly where I want to be. There are a handful of really great chefs in the country, a lot of good ones, but a small amount of really great ones, now I have the opportunity to work alongside a second, I feel very privileged to have this chance.

Describe your philosophy and approach to cooking?
Food in a fine dining establishment needs to be thought provoking, not necessarily philosophical or sociological, it doesn’t have to change your political views either, but there has to be a few points during the meal when the diner has to query or ask questions. Questions such as, I wonder how they made that? That’s an interesting combination; I wonder why they put those together? It has to make you think a little, but only if you want to, of course, a meal should also be enjoyable without having the need to make one think, but it’s nice to make it a talking point, or at least a point of interest.

Food has to be carefully prepared with the focus on quality – never compromise on quality and authenticity; it can be the most complex of dishes with a variety of flavours and textures, or something simple, as long as all care has been taken to make sure it tastes good – and simple doesn’t always mean easy.

Your favourite ingredient?
I love mushrooms. The varieties are so versatile: crumbed and fried, pickled, puréed, as soup or fresh, served with chicken, fish, beef, lamb or by itself, basically any which way with nearly anything. I also enjoy foraging for them when I do get the chance.

What don’t people know about you?
If you don’t know about it, it is probably for the best… Only kidding, I’m not too secretive, I’m quite transparent, there isn’t a great deal people don’t know. I guess the one thing is that I’m trying to write a novel, and as you  can see, I’m still slaving away in the kitchen, so it has not really been successful thus far.

Your thoughts on working with Margot Janse?
I am very excited about the opportunity. When I was a trainee chef, clumsily stumbling my way through chef school, I remember reading articles about her and what she was doing at The Tasting Room (not for a second, did I then, think that I would be where I am today). It is very humbling to have been given this chance, slightly nerve wracking, but very exciting, and I hope to learn a great deal while working next to her.

You’re moving to Franschhoek! What are you looking forward to exploring in the area?
Franschhoek is phenomenal, one of the most beautiful places in our country, Jean [Gerald’s wife] and I can’t believe we’re moving there, but I’m excited to experience the wine farms properly (quite difficult when you have to drive back to Cape Town, the wine has to be limited). Also eating at all the restaurants around the area and the surrounding walks and hikes up the mountains and forests.

Jean and I enjoy time out just wandering around, looking for mushrooms, when the season is right, or just getting lost somewhere. I also really want to try the Wine Tram, very keen on that one.

I know Margot and LQF do a lot of community work, and it will be great to get involved there too.

Other than cooking, what are your passions?
Music, food, sport, all sorts of storytelling and wine – we had a wine-themed wedding, yeah, I like wine a lot.

Describe yourself in three words?
Passionate, driven, grumpy – but funny grumpy, not too serious

Posted by: Susan Huxter
Posted in: Chefs, Le Quartier Français, The Tasting Room,
comment-notesComments: 1


  

Scenes from The Tasting Room

In world-renowned restaurant, The Tasting Room diners are treated to utter food theatre. It comes as no surprise that behind the swinging doors of the kitchen a creative team of chefs, led by Margot Janse, are constantly experimenting with new dishes, techniques and ingredients.

We took a quick look; and this is some of what we saw…

the tasting room

tasting room 5

tasting room 3

tasting room 2

tasting room 4

Posted by: Susan Huxter
Posted in: Le Quartier Français, The Tasting Room,
comment-notesComments: 0


  

It’s always tea time

“It’s always tea time.” said the Mad Hatter to Alice when she stumbled upon his tea-party in Wonderland. Well, dear friends at Le Quartier Français it’s always tea time too.

Lady Bonin Tea

Pull a chair up by the fire in our Lounge Bar and try one of our many Lady Bonin blends – indeed the ‘Purveyor of Magical Infusions’ has created a tea especially for us, ask for the LQF blend.

pastries

What’s tea-time without some treats? We have pastries galore, ready for the eating. And if you haven’t tried them yet, we highly recommend our famous sticky buns.

The Long Tea Table

In the mood for a more languid soirée? Then book our Long Tea Table for an incredible menu of canapés, pastries and savoury bites. Mad hats not included, but you’re welcome to bring your own.

Make tea, not war. ~Monty Python

comment-notesComments: 0


  

Franschhoek Bastille Festival 2014

Our annual festival of all things French is all grown up! Franschhoek Bastille Festival turns 21 this year!

Bastille Day Festival

Don your red, white and blue for the weekend of 12 and 13 of July. This is going to be one for the books: in celebration of the 21-year milestone, festival-goers will be treated to a performance by a troupe of 10 Seychelles dancers and musicians who will take part in the street parade as well as perform in the Food and Wine Marquee over the duration.

Keen for an island holiday? Then you had better start practising your dance moves. The dance troupe will be judging the Best Seychelles Dance by participating revellers.

The prize for the best performance is two return tickets to Seychelles, courtesy of Air Seychelles. The prize also includes six nights’ accommodation in the Seychelles, courtesy of Eden Island Development Company (Seychelles) Limited!

Amazing right? Not to mention all the great food, wine and activities on offer too.  Hop on over here for more info on the festival.

One of our many private and intimate suites

One of our many private and intimate suites

And why drive when you can sleep over? We have two fabulous accommodation offerings.

The Auberge offers nine en-suite Auberge Rooms, three Grande Rooms, three Petite Garden Suites and two deluxe Auberge Suites (with private pools), which open onto a rose-filled central courtyard and swimming pool. For the ultimate in luxury, there are four state-of-the-art suites, The Four Quarters, overlooking a private pool and sun-splashed deck. For those looking for a great location and an affordable, fun, no frills room try our delicious hotel next door . www.delicioushotels.com

Henry Rifle Martini

Tip: Make some time to visit our incredible destination offering. Enjoy breakfast or tapas in The Garden Room followed by a treatment in our beautiful day spa B.gorgeous. Then head to our exquisite Lounge Bar for fabulous craft cocktails and bar bites. Plus, indulge in a bit of culinary shopping at our Le Creuset pop-up shop!



  

Mother’s Day at Le Quartier Français

“No language can express the power, and beauty, and heroism, and majesty of a mother’s love. It shrinks not where man cowers, and grows stronger where man faints, and over wastes of worldly fortunes sends the radiance of its quenchless fidelity like a star.” — Edwin Hubbell Chapin

the garden room

Bring your star to Le Quartier Français on Mother’s Day, 12 May 2014, and treat her like the queen she is.

b.gorgeous exterior

Enjoy breakfast or tapas in The Garden Room followed by a treatment in our beautiful day spa B.gorgeous [enquire about our Long Tea Table for an inventively delicious high tea]. Then head to our exquisite Lounge Bar for fabulous craft cocktails and bar bites. Plus, take mom on a spur of the moment shopping spree in our Le Creuset pop-up shop!

Henry Rifle Martini and prawn popcorn

Fun, fabulous and all under one roof – bring mom to LQF for an amazing Mother’s Day experience!

Posted by: Susan Huxter
Posted in: Le Quartier Français, b.gorgeous,
comment-notesComments: 0


  

The Tasting Room ranks on S.Pellegrino World’s 100 Best Restaurants!

The World’s 50/100 Best Restaurants were announced last night in London’s Guildhall in a dazzling ceremony fit for the culinary elite.

The Tasting Room was honoured with position 72.

team

“We’re delighted to be featured once again on this prestigious list,” said Susan Huxter, owner of Le Quartier Français. “It’s wonderful recognition and it reflects the dedication of Chef Margot and her entire team.”

Executive Chef Margot Janse has consistently shown she can compete with the very best in the gourmet gauntlet. Chef Margot has maintained a spot on this celebrated list since 2002; in 2010 she was notably the only female chef to achieve a place in the World Top 50.

margot-2013-cauli-1.jpg.1024x0

The Tasting Room has been a recurrent competitor on the world-renowned list. In 2011, The Tasting Room took the 36th spot as well as the title of Best Restaurant in Africa and the Middle East. In 2012, the trend continued with 56th position and in 2013, 53rd .

By now the knowledge that The Tasting Room is one of the world’s best restaurants comes as no surprise, yet the innovative cuisine doesn’t play by the same rules.

Surprise and nostalgia take centre stage at the fine dining restaurant in Franschhoek. Diners embark on a journey of taste, guided by culinary story-tellers in the most beautiful and whimsical of settings.

Surprise: an emotion that occurs when something breaks our habitual pattern.

Posted by: Susan Huxter
Posted in: Awards, Le Quartier Français, Margot Janse, The Tasting Room,
comment-notesComments: 0


  

Up, up and up! Our new management team

We announced earlier this month that Linda Coltart our extraordinary general manager of 16 years will be saying goodbye to us in the middle of June.

Linda is leaving big shoes to fill. We have decided to transform roles and promote within—and together as a family we’ll step forward in these new shoes and into the future of hospitality management.

New Management LQF

We caught up with three of our team to talk about their new roles.

Roger Boonzaaier, Hotel Manager
Roger describes himself as ‘dependable, impulsive, and pragmatic’. He knows the hotel like the back of his hand. After all, he’s spent18 years working in all of the departments, ‘except the kitchen’. Contact him on: roger@lqf.co.za

In your opinion what experiences in Franschhoek are not-to-be-missed?
Neil’s Charcuterie & Wine Tasting; the Franschhoek Motor Museum; a fynbos walk with Rob Armstrong and Mandela’s home at Victor Verster Prison.

What is the strangest request you have had from a guest?
There was once a young boy, who kept snails he found in the garden as pets in small boxes—which we had to supply.

Eleanor Kerwan, Culinary Manager
Eleanor loves food: from when she was a little girl, eating ‘plumes, acon & bacon’ as she used to call her breakfast, to working in the restaurant and hospitality trade since qualifying. She has been a part of the team for 13 years. Contact her on: eleanor@lqf.co.za

What do you love about working at LQF?
Mutual respect, team work and it’s loads of fun!

Your favourite dish in…
The Tasting Room – the Paradyskloof quail with amasi, sweetcorn and granola; The Garden Room – Margot’s famous sticky buns; The Lounge Bar – the prawn popcorn with lime salt.

What cocktail would you recommended in the Lounge Bar?
I love the Franschhoek Fruit Cup, it’s refreshingly delicious!

Louise du Valle, Reservations Manager
Louise describes herself as ‘friendly, considerate and determined’. She has over a decade of hospitality experience (both local and international) and has worked at LQF for three and a half years. Contact her on: louise@lqf.co.za

Can you share your favourite guest memory?
I once took a honeymoon couple on an extraordinary experience to the Mandela House at Victor Verster. The couple didn’t know what to expect and were truly moved by the experience.

Which is your favourite room and why?
I feel a lot of warmth from Room 4. I love the secret garden, where you can escape and just be…

Posted by: Susan Huxter
Posted in: Franschhoek, Le Quartier Français,
comment-notesComments:


  

Margot Janse & Red Balloon Revolution

Margot Janse & Red Balloon Revolution celebrate 1500 lives of underprivileged children in Franschhoek. Celebration Day: 22nd of April 2014, Franschhoek South Africa.

Red Balloon

“Every life is worth celebrating,” says the Red Balloon Revolution.

Through the great work of Dutch-born top chef Margot Janse—The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français in Franschhoek is rated as one of the best restaurants in the world—Red Balloon Revolution was introduced to the wonderful work of The Kusasa Project.

The Franschhoek non-profit organisation encourages a brighter future for underprivileged children by facilitating academic, sporting and life skills development. And, with the help of Margot Janse and her foundation Isabelo, the children of Kusasa now receive a healthy meal as well as an egg a day. (The egg had been especially added for its protein content, which is necessary for brain development.)

Red Balloon Revolution and Kusasa want to let 1500 children of three Franschhoek schools know that their lives are worth celebrating.

On 22nd of April every child will receive a Red Balloon gift bag teeming with products to celebrate life. Among the many items, there will also be a journal to inspire the children to have a positive outlook for their future, a wish card with tomato seeds to plant, a toothbrush, soap and so on.

To finance this project, The Red Balloon Revolution has developed a wide range of products: from a children’s clothing line and ceramics to iPad sleeves and key chains.

These high quality products have been handmade in Africa by empowerment projects, which help create employment for women in townships.

On the products, look for a Red Balloon—a symbol for freedom and happiness, which are the two core values of the Red Balloon Revolution.

For more information on the programme and products of Red Balloon Revolution go to www.redballoonrevolution.com or contact
Jitra Janssonius Sinselmeijer Cell:+27 (0) 72 9835231 Email: jitra@redballoonrevolution.com
Sophie Vos Kooistra Cell: +27 (0)72 2836307 Email: sophie@redballoonrevolution.com
Le Quartier Français: Margot Janse Tel: +27 21 876 8441 Email: margot@lqf.co.za

For more information on the programme and products of Red Balloon Revolution go to www.redballoonrevolution.com or contact Jitra Janssonius Sinselmeijer Cell:+27 (0) 72 9835231 Email: jitra@redballoonrevolution.com Sophie Vos Kooistra Cell: +27 (0)72 2836307 Email: sophie@redballoonrevolution.com Le Quartier Français: Margot Janse Tel: +27 21 876 8441 Email: margot@lqf.co.za

Posted by: Susan Huxter
Posted in: Isabelo, Kusasa Project, Le Quartier Français, Margot Janse,
comment-notesComments: 1


  

Easter at Le Quartier Français

We’re egg-cited to announce that this Easter our guests will be treated to an in-room Easter Egg Hunt!

Gold Bunny Milk 100g

Our resident Easter Bunny will be hiding Gold Lindt Bunnies (as well as baby Lindt Bunnies for the kids) in their rooms; along with vouchers for: treatments at B.gorgeous, cocktails at our Lounge Bar or complimentary wine tastings at Môreson!

Happy hunting!

Posted by: Susan Huxter
Posted in: Le Quartier Français,
comment-notesComments: 0


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