After seven years at Grande Provence, Chef Darren Badenhorst is set to leave the wine estate to open his new restaurant Le coin Français By Darren Badenhorst on the Franschhoek main road. Stepping into his shoes from today is new Executive Chef Guy Bennett. 

Last month I interviewed Chef Darren, and he emphasized that he will make sure that there is a smooth transition and handover to Chef Guy, before he leaves Grande Provence and opens his new restaurant on 11 October. 

Le coin Français By Darren Badenhorst to coin it with French fine dining cuisine!

Chef Guy did his cooking internship at Savoy Cabbage and Buitenverwachting, before working as a chef at Reuben’s at the One & Only Cape Town, and thereafter at Reuben’s at the Robertson Small Hotel. He moved to Delaire Graff, working with its former Executive Chef Michael Deg, who has just moved to Equus at Cavalli Estate. Chef Guy had recently left Delaire Graff to join Bertus Basson @ The Ritz Revolving Restaurant in Sea Point, but it has not yet opened. 

I have not met Chef Guy, but received a media release from GC Communications, with details about the new Chef. I learnt about Chef Guy that he 

#. allows the changing seasons to guide his cooking

#. constantly seeks new ways of improving what he produces.

#   is a proud Capetonian

#.  developed a passion for cooking from his mother and Ouma, and beside the braai with his dad.

#.  He knew from an early age that he wanted to be a Chef, and chose Home Economics as one of his subjects at school

#   is influenced by classic and modern techniques, both local and international, incorporating old and new school approaches to achieving a finished dish.

#.  includes light, fresh, and rich dishes in his menu.

#   regards his appointment as his biggest and brightest venture to date. 

#   is an inspiring team player

#   has a goal to serve ‘amazing food consistently’

#   is driven to source the best seasonal ingredients, and hence to work closely with local suppliers and farmers. 

#   likes to connect with fellow chefs, bouncing ideas off others and challenging each other to create great food.

#   likes his food to do the talking, avoiding ‘smoke screens and magic‘ where he can.

#   travels to inspire his culinary expertise

#   wants his produce and the elements he incorporates into his dishes to do the talking. 

#  believes that food can ‘be an immense joy to people’s lives’. 

Chef Guy is quoted about his new appointment in the media release as follows: ‘Cooking with passion, day after day, bouncing ideas off my mentors and watching guests enjoying our food, have made me the chef I am today. I consider all the aspects that make up a good dish: sweetness, bitterness, acidity and texture.  Involving my teammates is important to me, allowing them room for input on the dishes they cook and serve. I encourage my fellow chefs to think about food, to be inspired by what they produce’.

 ‘I like to know where the produce comes from, who grows it and how they go about doing that. I need to know what I’m working with and that ethical practices were involved. By working closely with producers I know what’s on offer and what is popping up with the change of the seasons’, he added.

Chef Guy is inspired by ‘Music, meaningful relationships with friends, colleagues and family, our beautiful surrounds. Being in nature, staying active and fit, and eating out are big priorities in my life. Life is about experiences. There is so much out there to see, taste and absorb!’

Chef Guy describes his evolving menus as ‘uncomplicated, accessible, varied and tasty, and always allowing for new creations to make an appearance’.

‘I’d like to create an experience, a platform of sorts, where diners can put the rest of their lives on pause for a few hours and experience an amazing meal with good company. Great food and wine, an amazing setting and good times’, concluded Chef Guy.

I look forward to meeting Chef Guy and experiencing his culinary expertise. 

Grande Provence, R45 Franschhoek. Tel (021) 876-8600. www.grandeprovence.co.za Twitter: @Grande_Provence Instagram: @grandeprovence

Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog, Cell 082 5511 323. www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Twitter: @ulmenstein Instagram: @chris_ulmenstein