We recently had the honour of meeting Jan at the French Ambassador’s house while celebrating Good France. He is a lovely man with a great sense of humour and a gorgeous cookbook to boot. Let’s not forget his fantastic achievement of the recent Michelin Star accolade!
We asked Jan a few questions and here is what he had to say:
T&T: What do you think the SA food scene is lacking? How would you improve it?
Actually on the contrary I think the SA food scene is one of the best in the world. There are so many chefs pushing boundaries and serving amazing plates. We tend to keep looking to find better somewhere else but to me and every time I visit SA I am blown away with what the guys come up with back home. I wouldn’t improve this but I would like to make South Africans more aware of seasonal produce. To know what is imported, local and to trace what you put in your mouth.
T&T: What do you miss about the SA food scene?
A braai on our farm in Middelburg.
T&T: If you hadn’t have become a chef, what career do you think you would be pursuing?
I am very lucky to be part of the slash “/ “ generation. We can be more than just one thing. I am a passionate photographer, author and stylist. I see myself as professional in all these fields. If I had more time in a day I probably would have become a painter as well. I love to paint. Just no time…
T&T: What were you doing when you heard you had won a Michelin star? (A huge congratulations on this achievement!)
I sat in my car for 30 minutes after calling almost everyone I know. Then went to buy a small bottle of Vodka at the corner late night shop. It was me. The star and the bottle of vodka.
T&T: When not cooking a proper meal for yourself, what is your guilty food pleasure?
I have a very soft spot for chocolate, wine and peppermint crisp tart
T&T: What is the one ingredient you could not live without?
T&T: What’s the strangest thing you have ever eaten?
Rooster testicles. Marinated. A French delicacy. Didn’t do much for me… need I say more…
T&T: What advice do you have for aspiring chefs?
Start with what you know, work hard, forget about hours and make notes. Always keep a notebook.
DINNER WITH JAN – NEW TO SOUTH AFRICA
JAN HENDRIK chooses the location, the ingredients and the wine. You just need to be there. Join this series of intimate dinners. Places that mean something to him, people and produce that inspire him and the privilege to share the beauty of aesthetics, flavours and hospitality in exciting locations.
AT HOME WITH JAN HENDRIK
During May and June for 3 nights only JAN HENDRIK will be cooking exclusively for 8 guests at his home based in Cape Town.
Experience the hands on preparation and award winning dishes from South-Africa’s first Michelin star chef Jan Hendrik whilst enjoying the relaxed yet signature hospitality that has put his restaurant JAN in France on the international culinary map. For bookings and enquiries visit our website www.janhendrik.com (Bookings open 10 May)