Meet the chef behind the Cape Town restaurant CNN named one of the world's best
La Tête, a new restaurant on Cape Town's trendy Bree Street, recently made the list of CNN's best new restaurants in the world for 2017.
Restaurateur Giles Edwards reveals the secret sauce of his success:
Earliest food memory?
Vichyssoise made by my mother. It's amazing what temperatures can do to food. A hot leek and potato soup is completely different to a delicate Vichyssoise.
When did you decide to be a chef?
I was on a break from university and my brother James took me to St John in London for dinner. That's when the seed was planted that I wanted to be in a kitchen.
Why did you decide on pursuing the Certificate in Professional Cookery at Capsicum Cookery School?
A year was long enough to teach me the basic principles without getting bogged down perfecting aspic making and wedding cake decorating. I just wanted to get into the kitchen.
The head chef used to drill us in the ways of the kitchen. A lot has changed since then but kitchen hierarchy is still crucial. I was at the bottom of the chef chain but I revelled in it. There's amazing team camaraderie in a kitchen. It's such a close-knit group of people working under stress most of the time but somehow everyone does what they need to do to get through it.
People would be amazed at how incredibly hard chefs work for little reward, although this is starting to change.
What's most challenging about being a chef?
Making people happy. When you see people appreciating what you've created - food, wine, and service - that's huge.
What skills are necessary for someone in your line of work?
You need to know what's going on at every table, every chopping board, and every frying pan. I call it the "all seeing, all knowing".
Your favourite restaurant?
I love The Table at De Meye in Stellenbosch for Sunday lunch. It's relaxing and Jess and Luke put on an amazing spread. Also the set menu takes the agony of choice out of the equation.
Favourite dish to cook?
I'm a huge curry fan (nothing beats a dhal!) so if I'm at home it's usually a curry of some shape. Or else it's a braai, although I think it's the preamble to the actual meal that I love.
If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Egg fried rice.
What's in your fridge right now?
A few bottles of wine we're trying out for the restaurant and a big slab of cheese and pickles for when I get home at night.
• La Tête is at 17 Bree Street, Cape Town. Call 021-418-1299 or visit latete.co.za.
• This article was originally published in The Times.