le quartier français

relais & chateaux

“My door is always open”

Aphiwe Nkonyane went from being a trainee in The Tasting Room, to graduating at Hurst yesterday where he received the top marks for his practical. Now? The world! We chat to him about his journey; and also what it’s like to have Chef Margot Janse as his mentor.
What does it mean to you to be graduating from Hurst today?
I am passionate about what I am doing, and it’s also one of the top schools in SA, in terms of good quality education that they provide. It means I’m ready to take on the best with an internationally recognised diploma behind my name and continue my journey through the culinary world.
Can you tell us a bit about the journey to obtain the bursary?
When I was young I started working part time and shadowing in the local kitchen during school holidays. In Grade 8 I had to do a project for school about ‘food gourmand’ and contacted a friend of mine whom is part of the Kusasa Project, he advised that I should contact Chef Margot, which I did. We spent an hour together going through the questions for the project and she offered that I should come and spend a day in The Tasting Room’s kitchen to get the feeling and a better understanding of how things work. I did this and I was amazed how everything operated as I didn’t know the full behind the scenes operation; after that I was hooked!
When I was 19 I signed a trainee contract with The Tasting Room, after 8 months the kitchen team suggested that I visit the Hurst Campus to see if I would like to study through there, which I did, but I was stuck as to how I would get a bursary. I then went to see Doug the Co-Founder of Kusasa and he suggested a face-to-face chat (Doug always taught us that to be taken seriously – eye contact is essential) with Chef Margot because of her role in the industry and charities. I met with Chef and told her that I wanted to go study so that I have a qualification that will help me in the future and she called Rebecca, the owner of Hurst Campus, to discuss what could be done. I then went back to Hurst and submitted an essay about myself, my goals and why I had chosen Hurst Campus; having worked with Karen van Wyngaard, Chris Erasmus and Margot Janse (both Karen and Chris have studied through Hurst TCTA) it gave me the advantage and feel of the school.
After an interview process they promised to call if I had received the bursary, 3 days before the school June intake started they called me and told me I got the bursary.
I was happy! I didn’t want to take any time off school after matric; I was pushing myself to get a bursary and was so pleased and happy that things were going my way.
When I told my mom she was very happy but nervous because there were fees involved for accommodation – I told her I would make a plan, which with Margot and Susan’s assistance and determination we did.
This taught me that “In life you must turn up for your own good and if you want something you must work hard and show love and care about what you want to achieve in life”.
What’s it like to be mentored by someone like Margot Janse?
“My door is always open – anytime” is one of the first things she told me. I asked myself “do they need me? Or do I need to prove myself by doing what other people don’t think they can do at my age?”
She taught me the basics, but I was hungry to learn and wanted to do all the tricky stuff – she taught me though, that you should always master the basics.
She was always open with me in terms of how I must in turn be open and communicate as this is vital in the kitchen. This took me a long time to be more myself and have confidence because I was the only young man in the kitchen and I’m fairly quiet!
After doing research and speaking to industry friends about Margot and Le Quartier Français – I knew it was the right place.
Margot taught me to do things with love and care – with this recipe you won’t go wrong in life; and for this lesson I will forever be grateful to Margot.
Any special or funny memories from your time at Hurst you’d like to share?
A top memory is being the only one who got the consommé right on our first attempt in class – I knew at this point I had learnt from the best and was so happy I had not forgotten the basics that I had learnt at the beginning of my career.
One of my worst memories was when we had to remove the skin from a side of fish – I did mine and even went on to help my colleagues; however when I served the fish to my lecturer he found that the skin was not removed and I got marked down! I couldn’t believe it and that taught me I must check everything I do to make sure it is done perfectly. I felt like I had dropped my standards and this was not what I had learned during my time with Chef Margot.
Now what? What are your plans after graduation and how do you see them coming true?
For now I just want to learn, learn and learn. I also want to travel and explore the different types of cuisine – England and Spain are top of my list.
I want to keep learning for the next few years and when I am in my mid-twenties have a clearer idea of if I want to specialise in Fine Dining or Bistro style cuisine and then look into opening my own place.
By staying true to myself and then being willing to learn as the days go by, being loyal to myself and those who have invested in me, by doing everything I do with love and care – that is how I plan to accomplish my goals.

Aphiwe Nkonyane went from being a trainee in The Tasting Room, to graduating at Hurst yesterday where he received the top marks for his practical and a prize of a Kitchen Aid! Now? The world! We chat to him about his journey; and also what it’s like to have Chef Margot Janse as his mentor.

aphiwe and margot

What does it mean to you to be graduating from Hurst today?
I am passionate about what I am doing, and it’s also one of the top schools in SA, in terms of good quality education that they provide. It means I’m ready to take on the best with an internationally recognised diploma behind my name and continue my journey through the culinary world.

Can you tell us a bit about the journey to obtain the bursary?
When I was young I started working part time and shadowing in the local kitchen during school holidays. In Grade 8 I had to do a project for school about ‘food gourmand’ and contacted a friend of mine whom is part of the Kusasa Project, he advised that I should contact Chef Margot, which I did. We spent an hour together going through the questions for the project and she offered that I should come and spend a day in The Tasting Room’s kitchen to get the feeling and a better understanding of how things work. I did this and I was amazed how everything operated as I didn’t know the full behind the scenes operation; after that I was hooked!

When I was 19 I signed a trainee contract with The Tasting Room, after 8 months the kitchen team suggested that I visit the Hurst Campus to see if I would like to study through there, which I did, but I was stuck as to how I would get a bursary. I then went to see Doug the Co-Founder of Kusasa and he suggested a face-to-face chat (Doug always taught us that to be taken seriously – eye contact is essential) with Chef Margot because of her role in the industry and charities. I met with Chef and told her that I wanted to go study so that I have a qualification that will help me in the future and she called Rebecca, the owner of Hurst Campus, to discuss what could be done. I then went back to Hurst and submitted an essay about myself, my goals and why I had chosen Hurst Campus; having worked with Karen van Wyngaard, Chris Erasmus and Margot Janse (both Karen and Chris have studied through Hurst TCTA) it gave me the advantage and feel of the school.

After an interview process they promised to call if I had received the bursary, 3 days before the school June intake started they called me and told me I got the bursary.

I was happy! I didn’t want to take any time off school after matric; I was pushing myself to get a bursary and was so pleased and happy that things were going my way.

When I told my mom she was very happy but nervous because there were fees involved for accommodation – I told her I would make a plan, which with Margot and Susan’s assistance and determination we did.

This taught me that “In life you must turn up for your own good and if you want something you must work hard and show love and care about what you want to achieve in life”.

What’s it like to be mentored by someone like Margot Janse?
“My door is always open – anytime” is one of the first things she told me. I asked myself “do they need me? Or do I need to prove myself by doing what other people don’t think they can do at my age?”

She taught me the basics, but I was hungry to learn and wanted to do all the tricky stuff – she taught me though, that you should always master the basics.

She was always open with me in terms of how I must in turn be open and communicate as this is vital in the kitchen. This took me a long time to be more myself and have confidence because I was the only young man in the kitchen and I’m fairly quiet!

After doing research and speaking to industry friends about Margot and Le Quartier Français – I knew it was the right place.

Margot taught me to do things with love and care – with this recipe you won’t go wrong in life; and for this lesson I will forever be grateful to Margot.

Now what? What are your plans after graduation and how do you see them coming true?
For now I just want to learn, learn and learn. I also want to travel and explore the different types of cuisine – England and Spain are top of my list.

I want to keep learning for the next few years and when I am in my mid-twenties have a clearer idea of if I want to specialise in Fine Dining or Bistro style cuisine and then look into opening my own place.

By staying true to myself and then being willing to learn as the days go by, being loyal to myself and those who have invested in me, by doing everything I do with love and care – that is how I plan to accomplish my goals.

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


  

Margot Janse’s FOUR Magazine #ChefTakeover on Instagram

We just got something exciting in the mail… This Friday, Margot Janse takes the reins of FOUR Magazine’s Instagram for her #ChefTakeover!

margot

“Satisfy your foodie needs on FOUR Magazine’s Instagram all day this Friday and go behind the scenes as Margot Janse posts photos from Chef Alyn Williams’s annual culinary event, CHEFstock and her time in London.”

While you’re at it – follow us on Instagram too for updates from the heart of LQF.

Posted by: Susan Huxter
Posted in: Margot Janse, Travel, magazine,
comment-notesComments: 0


  

The night that was: CHEFstock 2014

Last Tuesday night, Chef Margot Janse teamed up with Chef Alyn Williams for CHEFstock 2014 hosted at in his eponymous Michelin-starred restaurant at The Westbury ‘to create an extraordinary one-night-only dining experience’.
Margot Janse said prior to the event:  “We’re cooking with sour figs, baobab, marula nuts and fynbos. We’re introducing Africa to London! I haven’t cooked with Chef Alyn Williams before—and I’m very excited to do so.”
Here is Margot and Alyn’s menu from the night as well as a couple of snapshots from the gourmet affair.

Last Tuesday night, Chef Margot Janse teamed up with Chef Alyn Williams for CHEFstock 2014 hosted at in his eponymous Michelin-starred restaurant at The Westbury ‘to create an extraordinary one-night-only dining experience’.

Margot Janse said prior to the event:  “We’re cooking with sour figs, baobab, marula nuts and fynbos. We’re introducing Africa to London! I haven’t cooked with Chef Alyn Williams before—and I’m very excited to do so.”

Here is Margot and Alyn’s menu from the night as well as a couple of snapshots from the gourmet affair.

margot-janse

margot and alyn

dish 2

dish 3

Posted by: Susan Huxter
Posted in: London, Margot Janse, Travel,
comment-notesComments: 1


  

Getting to know the LQF family: Margot Janse

Over the next couple of months we’ll be interviewing members of our team, to not only show them off, but to gain insight into all the special details that make up Le Quartier Français.
First up, is our Executive Chef, the one-and-only, Margot Janse.
What’s your nickname?
You’d have to ask the team… Not sure I want to know [winks].
What’s your favourite thing about working at LQF?
The fact that it is a constant evolution.
Your favourite piece of décor?
I love the hanging fish light in The Tasting Room
Describe yourself in three words?
Determined,  compassionate and a tad sarcastic
Tell us a Franschhoek secret?
One of my favourite things to do is to enjoy sunset on the pass with a glass of bubbly in-hand. To remind ourselves how fortunate we are.
What is a must-have dish from The Living Room?
My Mama’s Meatballs
What is a must-have cocktail?
The sour fig caipirinha

Over the next couple of months we’ll be interviewing members of our team, to not only show them off, but also to gain insight into all the special details that make up Le Quartier Français.

First up, is our Executive Chef, the one-and-only, Margot Janse.

margot 1

What’s your nickname?
You’d have to ask the team… Not sure I want to know [winks].

What’s your favourite thing about working at LQF?
The fact that it is a constant evolution.

Your favourite piece of décor?
I love the hanging fish light in The Tasting Room.

Describe yourself in three words?
Determined,  compassionate and a tad sarcastic

Tell us a Franschhoek secret?
One of my favourite things to do is to enjoy sunset on the pass with a glass of bubbly in-hand. To remind ourselves how fortunate we are.

What is a must-have dish from The Living Room?
My Mama’s Meatballs

What is a must-have cocktail?
The sour fig caipirinha

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


  

Margot Janse explores tasty Tanzania

Recently our executive chef, Margot Janse went on a culinary field trip to Tanzania with two small farm cooperatives supported by a Dutch bank. Margot explored Tanzania’s cooking culture with visits to a dairy farm, picking coffee with the local experts, bike rides through endless fields and she even joined in on a rural Tanzanian cooking class followed by lunch – all this and so much more. Here are some snapshots from the trip.

margot 1

margot 4

margot 3

margot 5

margot 2

Posted by: Susan Huxter
Posted in: Margot Janse, Travel,
comment-notesComments: 0


  

Margot Janse heads to CHEFstock 2014 in London this September

“Four star chefs, three unique dinners, one stylish setting – Alyn Williams presents CHEFstock 2014”

chef stock

“We’re cooking with sour figs, baobab, marula nuts and fynbos,” says Chef Margot Janse of The Tasting Room. “We’re introducing Africa to London! I haven’t cooked with Chef Alyn Williams before—and I’m very excited to do so.”

How does CHEFstock work? For three Tuesdays in September, Chef Alyn Williams will pair up with an internationally renowned chef (or chef duo) in his eponymous Michelin-starred restaurant at The Westbury ‘to create an extraordinary one-night-only dining experience’.

Margot will be joining Alyn in his kitchen on 9 September 2014 and has been billed as ‘The Queen of South African Cuisine’.

Also on the culinary line-up are: Chef Paul Ainsworth hailing from the U.K as well as brothers , Chefs Peter and Jonray Sanchez-Iglesias from Bristol.

Guests will arrive to a champagne reception paired with canapés crafted by both chefs on the night, and then be seated in the rosewood-accented dining room for eight courses from the one-off collaborative tasting menu – four courses from each chef, with ‘a few surprises along the way!’

Alyn Williams said: “I’m very proud to once again be hosting such a spectacular line-up of chefs this September. I admire every one of these chefs and it’s very humbling that they are coming to cook with me in my kitchen. When it comes to the menus there are no rules, the guest chefs are in charge and each tasting menu will take its own shape with our different yet harmonious dishes.”

CHEFstock 2014 tickets cost £200 per person and includes all food, wine and Champagne. Book early to avoid disappointment, contact reservations on 020 7183 6426 or email  alynwilliams@westburymayfair.com

Posted by: Susan Huxter
Posted in: Margot Janse, The Tasting Room, Travel,
comment-notesComments: 1


  

Things that go on in the kitchen #1

What’s this?
“It’s fermented butternut for the wild herb soup,” says Margot Janse, referring to a dish from The Tasting Room. “It also has butternut toffees.”
Hanging with the butternut is a bag of grated Jerusalem artichokes, also fermenting.
And this?
“Oh, that’s an experiment.”
How does it work? The chefs simply add a small percentage of salt, and the vegetables do the rest.

What’s this?

“It’s fermented butternut for the wild herb soup,” says Chef Margot Janse, referring to a dish from The Tasting Room. “It also has butternut toffees.”

Hanging with the butternut is a bag of grated Jerusalem artichokes, also fermenting.

And this?

“Oh, that’s an experiment.”

How does it work? The chefs simply add a small percentage of salt, and the vegetables do the rest.

butternut

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


  

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


  

The World’s Most Creative Chefs

Margot Janse has been named one of the ‘World’s Most Creative Chefs’ by for Air Private Jet magazine. We happen to agree! In this article our talented Executive Chef is in the company of greats, such as Massimo Bottura and Alex Atala. See the full article below.

Air Private Jet Magazine

Air Private Jet Magazine

78-83_AIR Gastronomy_ Feb-3

Posted by: Sue Huxter
Posted in: Margot Janse, Press, The Tasting Room, magazine,
comment-notesComments: 0


   Older Posts »




If I can't stay at Le Quartier, I want to go home

Bookings at LQF

Le Quartier Francais

Arrival Date:

Departure Date:

Number of People:

Relais Chatteaux