Luke Dale-Roberts cooks up a plan to beat the drought
Chef Luke Dale-Roberts is trying something new at South Africa’s top restaurant: The Drought Kitchen.
Dale-Roberts will open the pop-up venue on April 1 at The Test Kitchen in Cape Town‚ voted the country’s top restaurant for six successive years.
It will operate for three months with two main objectives: saving water and saving jobs.
The chef recently closed his in-house laundry and has retrained the staff who worked there in vegetable preparation and other kitchen work.
The pop-up Drought Kitchen in Woodstock will feature a six-course‚ lower-cost menu that uses minimal water in food preparation‚ as well as paper napkins and biodegradable canvas plates.
“We have covered all the standard ways of saving water‚ like recycling grey water for floor cleaning‚ installing diffusers on taps etc‚ but we wanted to take it a step further‚” Dale-Roberts told theworlds50best.com.
“Restaurants are reliant on water for not only their laundry but also they consume a great deal of water on dishwashing.
“With this in mind we have designed a disposable plate in the form of interchangeable cards that fit into a picture frame. As odd as this may sound it has actually come out pretty cool and we can almost eliminate the use of our dishwasher as a result of this.”
Dishes served in the paper plates will contain less sauce and liquid but still promise exotic flavours. They include 12-hour hot-smoked trout served with watercress and yoghurt snow‚ sweetbreads with asparagus‚ and springbok with beetroot‚ bone marrow and hazelnut.
Dale-Roberts is also reconfiguring menus at his other Cape Town restaurants‚ The Shortmarket Club and The Pot Luck Club‚ to reduce the use of water.
“The thing I fear is that the country will fall into a depression if the taps are turned off‚” he told theworlds50best.com.
“People may stop eating out‚ jobs would be lost and people’s livelihoods will be affected.”