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 currently 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: www.whalecottage.com/blog Tel 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@WhaleCottage Facebook: click here