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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: 0


  

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

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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


  

Chef Philip Howard joins Chef Margot Janse in The Tasting Room

Last night we welcomed Michelin-star Chef Philip Howard, chef and co-owner of The Square in London, to The Tasting Room kitchen.

Our first ever guest Chef joined Chef Margot Janse to cook an incredible tasting menu for special guests of Exclusive Books, a culinary highlight of The Franschhoek Literary Festival.

And what a night it was!

From the entire Le Quartier Français family, thank you Chef, it was an honour to have you!

*We took a few instagram snaps of the night below

Philip Howard Menu

Philip Howard prepping

Margot, Shelwyn & Neil

Service!

Beetroot and biltong jelly

canapes

Locals wines

monkfish

BntW33AIcAE84i4

Posted by: Susan Huxter
Posted in: Franschhoek Literary Festival, The Tasting Room,
comment-notesComments: 1


  

Companion Fare at The Tasting Room

We have some exciting news. Our culinary team have decided to offer our fabulous Companion Fare at The Tasting Room for a few nights before our approaching annual closure.

the tasting room

What is the Companion Fare?
Join us for dinner in the award-winning Tasting Room have your partner’s dinner on us. Indulge in the 8-course African inspired surprise menu and your partner’s dinner will be complimentary, excluding drinks. Pay R 850 for your dinner and your companion’s exact same dinner is on us* Gratis!’ (Gratuity not included)

To enquire about reservations and what dates are available please call +27 21 876 2151 or email: restaurant@lqf.co.za

room 16

Why drive when you can sleep over? Browse our rooms and suites here. Or for those looking for affordable, fun and no frills accommodation, take a look at Delicious Hotels.

Posted by: Susan Huxter
Posted in: The Tasting Room,
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


  

The Elite 100 Restaurants 2014

We are extremely proud and honoured to be in the Elite 100 Restaurants 2014. The annual awards are sponsored by Laurent-Perrier and are announced in high-end glossy, Elite Traveler.

It’s wonderful that our South African restaurants are receiving such great recognition on the world stage, and we extend our heartfelt congratulations to Rust en Vrede and The Test Kitchen who are also on the list! We are in great company!

See the announcement below, or if you would like you can read the latest edition of Elite Traveler online.

Elite 100 Restaurants 2014

Posted by: Susan Huxter
Posted in: Awards, The Tasting Room,
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


  

Inside The Tasting Room kitchen

The Tasting Room: the place where executive chef, Margot Janse, works her special kind of magic with her team of dedicated chefs. The domain of surprise.  of local flavour. of adventure. Have you ever wondered what it’s like inside the kitchen? Wonder no more.

We can’t show you the dishes in detail – because, well, they’re a surprise – but we can show you the beautiful kitchen, The Tasting Room’s culinary playground. To see what went into creating the kitchen, jump on over to this post.

Margot Janse plating

Margot Janse plating

Ain't it pretty?

Ain't she pretty?

Precision and imagination make for exciting plating

Precision and imagination make for exciting plating

Expediting

Expediting

IMG_2360-2

IMG_2150-3

kitchen

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


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