A few months ago I wrote an open letter to a chef. I didn’t know who I was writing it to. I just knew that I was writing it to someone. That someone needed to be fearless, passionate, more than a little bit crazy and ready for one of the hardest jobs in the world – launching a successful restaurant in Cape Town.
I wasn’t ready for the response. It was humbling to see the caliber of people who seemed interested in what we wanted to do. (Simple food, cooked perfectly.)
We were considering our options when I received a reply from a chef based in London. Trained in South Africa, I had already been following her progress with interest. Having worked at some of San P’s top 50 restaurants, she ticked all of the boxes, plus a few more that we didn’t even know existed. Anyway, fast forward a bit. A flight over from London. A four hour meeting. About 25 coffees. We had ourselves a deal.
Needless to say, we are pumped about our plans. We have punched way, way above our weight in getting her on board. But now she needs your help. Maybe. She is recruiting staff who want to be part of the journey, and wrote the below letter as an invitation.
Have a read.
Young Chefs of South Africa,
A few months ago I read a letter written by Andy Fenner. I read it, then I read it again. It was like the letter was written directly to me, I couldn’t believe it. Within the next couple of hours we had changed the course of our lives and had decided to open a restaurant. A rather quick turnaround time, but for those of you who know Andy and myself, you’ll know that we are both passionate people. That being said, when you know, you know.
So here we are. Now I’m writing a letter to you, the young chef looking for their start, that career first, or career maker even. Are you ambitious? Do you want to cook? Do you know where your ingredients come from? Do you want to? Do you want to smoke, pickle and ferment anything your heart desires? You don’t know how to ferment? I can show you. Smoking? Done. Ever wondered what it would be like to break down an entire carcass of an animal? You can.
Now, I’ve been around the block and seen a thing or two. I’m ready for change, a paradigm shift. A step away from pretense and “fine dining”. You won’t find any white table cloths here. Sorry. In fact, we won’t even set the table. There won’t be a waiter dressed as a penguin eyeing out your table, waiting for you to place your napkin down so that he can fold it into a swan or something equally as old school before you return to the table.
We’re going to be about food. And wine. Lots and lots of wine. Twenty items on a plate? No. A foam made from the milk of a virgin goat from the Andes? Doubtful. I’m talking food with balls. Food with heart. Literally, we’ll have heart on the menu.
You’ll be part of a family. A family where the talent is limitless and the opportunity to grow is everywhere. This is your chance to become part of something that may change the way we dine in Cape Town. We, along with Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants and Publik Wine Bar, are going to do something big. A game changer.
It’s not going to be easy. In fact, it may be the hardest thing you’ll ever do. But it will be worth it, trust me.
Have you got what it takes?
What do you reckon? Want to be part of something? Drop us a line.