It was in a recent review of FYN restaurant that I read a subtle message that its owner Chef Peter Tempelhoff has left The Liz McGrath Collection. This morning this was confirmed to me by the hotel group staff, Tempelhoff having left on 28 February 2019, and with it, his Executive Chef position of its flagship restaurant Greenhouse, as well as of the restaurants at The Plettenberg and The Marine Hotel.
Surprisingly, no media statement appears to have been issued, and one wonders why Tempelhoff and The Liz McGrath Collection have been so silent about this.
What is really a shockingly surprise, is that Tempelhoff is still mentioned on the website of The Liz McGrath Collection, as being the Executive Chef of Greenhouse, and is featured in a photograph with his Head Chef Ashley Moss. However, Chef Ashley left the restaurant last year, to head up the FYN kitchen when it opened in late November 2018. One wonders why the Collection has not updated its website, it being five weeks since the departure of Tempelhoff, and a good six months since Chef Ashley’s departure.
When one opens the Greenhouse website, it is clearly communicated that Chef Farrel Hirsch is the Head Chef of the restaurant, having joined when Chef Ashley left for FYN, with no mention of Tempelhoff. In a statement issued after Tempelhoff’s departure, which I had not received then but was sent this morning by Scout PR and Social Media, on behalf of The Liz McGrath Collection, the focus is on Head Chef Farrel Hirsch, but does acknowledge the ten-year relationship between the Collection and Tempelhoff: ‘The Liz McGrath Collection is happy to confirm that talented and dynamic new Head Chef of Greenhouse, Farrel Hirsch will continue at the helm of the restaurant following the resignation of former Executive Chef, Peter Tempelhoff, who has chosen to focus on his own restaurant in central Cape Town. Tempelhoff remains a valued colleague and The Liz McGrath Collection acknowledges his decade-long contribution to the hotel collection’.
When I called, and spoke to The Liz McGrath Collection staff this morning, they could not tell me who has stepped into Tempelhoff’s shoes in his Execurive Chef role, not only for Greenhouse, but also for Seafood at The Plettenberg, Origins at The Marine, and The Conservatory at The Cellars-Hohenhort.
When my Parisian friend and I ate at Seafood at The Plettenberg in January this year, we experienced a further slide in the service level of the restaurant as well as a poor offering from the Bar as well as the restaurant kitchen. We were told then that Tempelhoff had not been seen in Plettenberg Bay for three months prior to our visit, and it showed. I speculated in my review that setting up FYN was interfering with Tempelhoff’s duties and responsibilities as the hotel group Ececutive Chef. A month later he left the Collection!
Tempelhoff and I landed up in the High Court in December, the matter brought to the court by him, about a Blogpost I wrote about him banning me from eating at FYN, before it had opened its doors, and without me having eaten there! On the court steps our advocates negotiated, resulting in an unbanning from FYN, and an amendment to my Blogpost.
One wonders who, if anyone, will step into Tempelhoff’s shoes as Executive Chef of The Liz McGrath Collection restaurants.
Just before publishing this article, The Lz McGrath Collection sent me this statement via its PR company Scout: “The Liz McGrath Collection is absolutely delighted with its four head chefs across the collection and move forward with confidence in their skill and flair.”
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein