What are your childhood food memories?
Each time I get a whiff of an Omelette being fried in butter it takes me back to when I was 5 years old and at my uncle’s house, where I started to learn to cook, mainly cakes and pies. He would always make the prefect cheese omelette in sizzling butter, served with a thick slice of rustic fresh white bread still warm from the baker, with the think salty butter melting in.
What would you say has inspired your cooking the most?
As a self-described adventurer, I have an absolute love for travel, both locally and aboard. I have taken time to capture and document my travel experiences and this has formed the basis from which I draw inspiration.
Describe your culinary style?
Simple yet refined, letting local and seasonal ingredients hero the dish. I love the slow movement too – cooking in my smoker or to braise flavourful cuts of meat.
What would you say is the main focus/concept for your menu at Lanzerac?
Lanzerac is one of the oldest Hotel’s in Stellenbosch, so all we do at the Hotel is to honour our deep Heritage. The concept of our menu is just that, a balance between our contemporary influences and our rich heritage, to compliment the ambience and character of our surrounds.
What do you think makes a restaurant or menu so successful?
There are so many factors but consistently good food is a must! The Lanzerac kitchen is driven by a passion for the hospitality and food industry and we use the simple principles of professional knowledge and experience to maintain the highest level of service delivery.
What are your most indispensable ingredients?
That would have to be butter. Butter is the one ingredient that will go with everything and is so versatile…. to achieve a shine to your sauce, a little creaminess to your risotto or to help set a mousse.
Also, a good quality cheese – from a young age I’ve enjoyed not only eating but working with cheese in food preparation.
What kind of experience do you aim to give guests when you cook for them at Lanzerac?
Lanzerac epitomizes the very best of an idyllic holiday setting, so we aim to relax our guests with warm, passionate and knowledgeable service, serving quality food, plated to perfection.
What would you say has been the most memorable moment in your culinary career so far?
It would have to be back when I was working in London at The Trafalgar Hilton at the start of my culinary journey. My father was against me becoming a Chef and had been pushing me to go to University instead of following the path I had chosen – mainly due to the long, tiring working hours and smaller salaries. I had invited my parents to come for a stay and meal at the Hotel. The Executive Chef let me take control of the pass that day and being an open plan kitchen my father got to see me in action, leading the team, preparing and plating the meal that was served. My father was so blown away with what I had become, and from that day on he’s been my number one fan. This stood me steadfast in following my dream of a career in food.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your younger self, starting out a career in the world of food?
I would tell myself to make good friends with a scientist and beat Heston and Ferran to the world of Molecular Gastronomy!
What’s next for you/What’s projects do you have lined up?
The Lanzerac Wine Estate was sold in 2012 and has since been operating under new management. The new ownership have embarked on a large scale capital expenditure, which will be rolled out in a series of stages over the next couple of years.We are now in the final phase of development in terms of the restaurant and layout thereof, and we will be bringing a lot to the table when it comes to the Lanzerac food movement. I can’t say too much yet, but I can admit it has me very excited!
What is your guilty pleasure?
Sneaking that last braaibroodjie in the early hour of the morning after a braai with friends, so bad but oh so good!
What restaurant is currently at the top of your list to dine at?
Definately Marble in Johannesburg! Would love to get the time to see what David is up to and catch up with him.
To find out more about Stephan and Lanzerac Wine Estate and Hotel click here |www.lanzerac.co.za