Chef Luke Dale-Roberts joins multi-restaurant ‘club’ with Chefs Reuben Riffel and Bertus Basson!

EatOutChefLukeChef Luke Dale-Roberts is the newest multi-restaurant owner, following in the footsteps of Chefs Reuben Riffel and Bertus Basson.

Yesterday it was confirmed that Chef Luke is opening Short Market Club on Shortmarket Street, in a pedestrian section of the street next door to House of Machines (photograph at #FirstThursday). PR company Manley Communications is imagecurrently unable to provide any further details about the restaurant. Chef Luke has owned The Test Kitchen and The Pot Luck Club, both of which are now Eat Out Top 10 Restaurants, for some years and both are located at the Old Biscuit Mill.  More recently Naturalis has been set up in the same precinct, but details about this experimental restaurant are still scant. Once a year Chef Luke travels to Europe to run a pop-up there, during our winter.

As if Chef Luke does not have enough on his plate, pardon the pun, he opens ‘Luke Dale-Roberts at The Saxon‘ on 24 January, a pop-up to operate within five hundred in The Saxon hotel until the end of March. I heard that the opening of the pop-up at The Saxon within five hundred was not communicated to Chef David Higgs, who leaves the hotel in less than two weeks. It appears a very sensitive issue for him, in not having been informed, and possibly the concern he has about the future of his kitchen staff, which is likely to be cooking for Chef Luke when he opens at The Saxon, and, even worse for Chef Candice, alongside or below the Test Kitchen chef sent to Johannesburg. Talk about brand confusion! Chef David had done everything possible to offer generous notice about his departure, and handed over to Head Chef Candice Philip on 1 November, so that she meets the Eat Out rules re operating the restaurant for 12 months.  This is before Chef David heard about the pop-up via Social Media! One wonders what The Saxon plans to do with five hundred when Chef Luke leaves, it clearly not being able to change back to its five hundred branding!

Chef Reuben Riffel has Reuben’s restaurants in Franschhoek (moving to a new building in 2016), at the One&Only Cape Town, in Robertson, and in Paternoster, as well as Racine in Franschhoek. In 2004 and 2005 Reuben’s Franschhoek was the Eat Out number one restaurant.  It has not made the Eat Out Top 20 restaurant shortlist in a number of years!

Chef Bertus Basson owns Overture in Stellenbosch and Bertus Basson at Spice Route. He is considering opening a new restaurant next door to Overture next year. I have been critical of Chef Bertus’ regular absences from his kitchen at Overture, which unfortunately reflected in his Eat Out results, in that he fell off the Top 10 list for the first time this year. He spends about a month every year filming ‘Ultimate Braai Master’, he travels overseas once a year, and appears to be cooking elsewhere at functions most weekend days.

Not to be taken seriously is Giorgio Nava’s collection of cucinas, including 95 Keerom (Eat Out Top 10 restaurant many years ago!), 95 @ Morgenster, and Carnes on Keerom Street, on Kloof Street, and in Wynberg.  His restaurants have not made Eat Out Top 20 Restaurant shortlists in years!

Eat Out has not defined rules for multi-restaurant ownership, and how many days a week/a month/a year chefs must be in their kitchens to qualify for the Top 20 Restaurant shortlist!  The issue should be defined for 2016!

One wonders how long The Test Kitchen will remain Eat Out number one restaurant, or on the Top 10 list, given the experience of his ‘colleagues’!

Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog:  Tel 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@WhaleCottage  Facebook:  click here


6 replies on “Chef Luke Dale-Roberts joins multi-restaurant ‘club’ with Chefs Reuben Riffel and Bertus Basson!”

  1. Fritz Brand says:

    I really wish you’d stop with your crusades against some chefs, keep your personal issues to yourself and do unbiased reporting for a change, but I know a leopard never changes its spots.

    I for one am pretty tired of reading the same negative comments about the same chefs over and over again, probably in part due to them not rolling out the red carpet, champagne and trumpets every time you grace their humble establishments with your presence.

    It would appear once someone is in your bad books, for whatever reason, nothing they do can ever be considered good, or even neutral for that matter. Everything they do is simply painted as utter rubbish, and the world needs to know about it. It is well known that there is no love lost between yourself and Giorgio Nava, as you have dissed his establishments a number of times, over and over again, to the point of it becoming rather boring.

    Somehow he keeps on opening more and more restaurants though. The public must have a vastly different opinion from yourself, or he would have been bankrupt by now..

    How can you say his restaurants are “not to be taken seriously”? Are we at the point where if you are not in the Eat Out Top 20 your multiple successful restaurants simply mean nothing? Up until a year or two ago you were dissing the Eat Out Awards as if there is no tomorrow, now it is suddenly the yardstick that any and every restaurant is measured against, even if they are not “fine dining” restaurants?

    Carne SA won the 2013 Eat Out Best Steakhouse Award, surely you can’t simply write it off as “not to be taken seriously”, just because you have personal issues with the owner?

    • Wow Fritz, good that you got that off your chest! I didn’t realise that you are such a loyal reader of my Blog.

      As the owner of this Blog I may of course write what I like. As a fellow Blogger you should know that. You have a cheek to tell me how to write on my Blog!

      I have no particular issues with any specific chef, but I do certainly disclose dishonest marketing claims such as perpetuated by Giorgio Nava, and exposed on our Blog a few year ago. I do hope that you do not condone him misleading patrons as to the origin and quality description of the meat served at Carne.

      I expect no special treatment from a restaurant, and I only ever book as Chris, without my surname. I pay for the majority of my meals, to give me the freedom to tell it as I experienced it. I have been thrilled to receive so much positive feedback about the Blog, and it shows in my Google Analytics.

  2. JB says:

    Is the EAT OUT awards the ultimate achievement? These chefs are all very creative people and they become bored doing the same thing year in and year out. Please do not dampen their creativity. They are all making the culinary horizon much broader.
    And more accessible to the general public.
    Madam. You also have more than one establishment in your portfolio, and that is fine But the public must not criticize you
    It does seem from the outer circle that you are very biased towards the chefs mentioned
    Leave them to do their own thing!
    We all love them and will always support them, whether they are on the Top Ten or not

    • Yes JB, (currently) Eat Out is the benchmark chefs strive for, and is well-established after 17 years.

      That certainly does not make Eat Out the best restaurant evaluation system, as we have pointed out over the years. The chefs criticise Eat Out privately but all realise the financial benefit of a Top 10 ranking. None would decline a Top 20 shortlisting or a Top 10 accolade.

      You may have read on my blog that Eat Out faces competition from a number of other awards evaluating restaurants in 2016.

      Perhaps you missed that I have sold all my guest houses? Even so, this would be like comparing apples and pears.

      My observation above is that multiple restaurant ownership correlates negatively with Eat Out awards to date!

  3. Brandon Nel says:

    Was Overture disqualified from being a contender for this year’s Eat Out awards because Adele was appointed Head Chef less than a year ago?

    • Overture made Top 20 Brandon, so hence not ‘disqualified’.

      Overture should not have made Top 20 as Adele has not been Head Chef for a full 12 months.

      By the same token Chef Ivor Jones, and not Chef Luke, should get the recognition for The Test Kitchen, in my opinion.

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