Margot is the executive chef at the award winning, Relais and Châteaux Le Quartier Français Hotel in Franschhoek. Born in The Netherlands, she moved to South Africa to embrace photography but it wasn’t long before the kitchen beckoned her. She continues to travels extensively and her menus are inspired by her latest adventures. The menu is dependent on seasonal fresh produce which she sources from Le Quartier’s own indigenous garden and small local producers.
What was your most moving culinary experience?
Without doubt this has to be a very special dinner we held many years ago. That evening, I wanted to make the impossible possible for 60 guests. It was all hands on deck, night and day. We had rented extra ovens. The electricity kept fusing… It was a huge challenge but we did it! At the end of the meal, our guests spontaneously gave us a standing ovation. I was deeply moved by this recognition – my staff had given their all.
The most amusing kitchen incident you ever witnessed?
In September 2000, I spent a three-month internship at Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry. This was quite an intimidating experience and the strong American accent didn’t help one bit, quite the opposite… One of the sous chefs asked me to bring him the ‘pastacrap’. I asked him three times to repeat that particular word but was no wiser so I thought that I would probably recognise the thing if I saw it. I had started to rummage in the appropriate cupboard when another sous chef asked me what I was looking for. The ‘pastacrap’, I mumbled. He had no idea what I was talking about. Three attempts later, I finally twigged what was wanted: ‘plastic wrap’. I still laugh when I think of it today.
Your best piece of advice for amateur chefs?
Work with your head down, but with your eyes and ears wide open. Absorb everything like a sponge.
- Relais & Châteaux Inaugural Rising Chef Trophy 2006
- First Relais & Châteaux Grand Chef in Africa 2007
- Virtuoso Best of the Best culinary experience
- 8 in the Top Ten Restaurants in the world 2008
Cnr Berg & Wilhelmina Streets
Franschhoek, Western Cape, South Africa
+27 21 876 2151
Pictures © Le Quartier Francais