FOURty Seconds with Malika van Reenen

27 Dec 2016
2 min read
With creative cuisine that’s fresh and inventive, Executive Chef Malika van Reenen of Signal Restaurant at the award-winning Cape Grace luxury hotel, draws on influences from the many nationalities and customs that have shaped this region such as Dutch, British, French, Asian and African cultures.

What are your earliest memories of being interested in food?

Watching my grandmother bake. I can still clearly see her hands lovingly interacting with various ingredients. I always had a little set up of my own to replicate what she was doing. The smell of cinnamon baking still evokes the fondest nostalgia to this day.

What, or who, would you say has inspired your cooking the most?

The beauty of nature and the aroma of each changing season, together with people and a passion for perfection.

Describe your culinary style…

Local, current, fresh and flavourful.

What would you say is the main focus/concept for your menu at Cape Grace?

The best quality of ingredients, considering current trends and applying classic cooking methods with modern presentations.

What do you think makes a restaurant or menu sosuccessful?

It should sound enticing, be aesthetically pleasing and taste incredible with complimentary texture for an all-round sensual experience. Whilst that specifically refers to the food, the entire experience should be mirrored from start to finish. This includes the preparation, service and surroundings.

What are your most indispensable ingredients?

Tomatoes, onions and eggs-each in their own right have endless possibilities.

What kind of experience do you aim to give guests when you cook for them?

A meal memorable of flavor combinations that are made to perfection.

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your younger self, starting out a career in the world of food?

Travel more for culinary experience. I think I’ve learnt and experienced a lot more whilst exploring cities and experiencing cooking cultures in shorter periods, as opposed to travelling abroad and working full time. At a younger age, the former is of course less accessible with regard to finance. Yet, I suppose that may be easily remedied by our resourcefulness and naivety at that age, coupled with an insatiable readiness to conquer the world.

What’s next for you/What projects do you have lined up?

Cape Grace’s 21stbirthday celebration in 2017. I will be embarking on an overall transformation of Cape Grace’s culinary offering, which is exceptionally exciting!

What is your guilty pleasure?

Ice cream-at any time of the day!

Restaurant Signal

Cape Grace Hotel

West Quay Road

Victoria & Alfred Waterfront

Cape Town

South Africa

+27 21 410 7100