Twenty Years of Culinary Magic
Margot Janse, Executive Chef at the award winning restaurant, The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français in Franschhoek, is celebrating 20 years of exquisite fine dining cuisine.
Born and educated in The Netherlands, her creative talents were evident right from the start, but it was at the age of 23 when the magic of the kitchen beckoned and she started with what has become a food journey exploring beyond the traditional food boundaries.
Margot joined the culinary team at Le Quartier Français, recently acquired by the Leeu Collection portfolio, in 1995 and had to establish a reputation of excellence in the restaurant which was already considered one of South Africa’s best. Margot triumphed with many national and international awards, and a true belief that food is constantly evolving, and that unforgettable dishes always have an element of surprise and nostalgia about them.
This approach ensures that Margot’s kitchen consistently overflows with creativity and innovation. In this space Margot prides herself on developing exceptional and engaging food. Every dish is truly refined and, at the same time, unexpectedly exciting. It is this contradiction that results in her menu’s outstanding balance and ensures that her cuisine is theatre.
Margot has received numerous accolades including being the first female chef to be honoured with a Relais & Châteaux Grande Chef award in Africa in 2007, and The Tasting Room has featured on the coveted San Pellegrino Top 100 Best Restaurants Awards list for ten years. She has also made various international appearances in acclaimed restaurants and festivals worldwide and in numerous countries, from Amsterdam to Singapore.
Well-known for her African-inspired cuisine, her food also moved into the captivating realm of stories and magic which captivates the hearts and minds of diners.
“I find it difficult to put my style in a box,” she explains. “It is constantly evolving, because I allow myself the room to be creative and experiment with new things. I love textures and balance, because each dish has to say something.
That’s why I’m extremely excited to start experimenting with new culinary projects for the Leeu Collection.
“I don’t like bland food. I don’t like safe food. And this more than anything else sums up my food and life philosophies. Also, I have no signature dish, South Africa is my signature.”