A South African chef abroad is the first to be awarded a prestigious Michelin star for his restaurant in Nice, France.
Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen is the executive chef of Restaurant JAN, which has a strong focus on seasonal, local fare, with a few references to South African cuisine thrown in for good measure, such as mosbolletijies, biltong, Cape seed loaf and even the use of Kalahari salt.
‘JAN are thrilled to receive its first Michelin star in the 2016 Michelin Guide. We are also extremely proud to be the first South African to receive a Michelin star. Thank you to our team, suppliers and most of all our clients who has made this all possible [sic],’ wrote the restaurant in a post on its Facebook page on the evening of Monday, 1 February.
After having travelled and worked abroad extensively, including doing a stint as the head chef for Champagne house Piaff, Jan Hendrik was inspired to open his own restaurant. He explains on his website that Restaurant JAN enables him to, in his own words, ‘indulge my love of the tactile and leave my mark on my surroundings, whether I merely change the position of an object or put my mind to creating something completely new where before there was nothing.’
His kitchen team includes two South Africans, Kevin Grobler and Rutger Eysvogel, respectively head chef and sous chef. Both have come from top kitchens in South Africa.
Aside from his current book entitled The French Affair, which is a collection from Jan Hendrik’s varied experiences, the chef will also be bringing out a memoir of his experiences at Restaurant JAN entitled A Breath of French Air in March of this year.
Order The French Affair from Random Struik’s website.