Renowned Irish-born and previously Australian-based chef Liam Tomlin has moved to Cape Town, and is to open a Chefs’ Warehouse and Cookery School in April on New Church Street, Gardens.

Tomlin has been in the country for a few months now, busy overseeing the renovation of the building that will become both a chefs’ school, as well as a warehouse, which will sell every ingredient and the equipment used in the preparation of the dishes when one attends a course or an event at the chefs’ school.   He is a consultant to British Airways, and also to local restaurants, La Motte’s new restaurant being one of his projects.  He is also opening a guest house in Tamboerskloof, so that he can accommodate Chefs’ School students.   I met Tomlin at Portofino at the end of January, when he first started revealing details of his new project.

Tomlin grew up in Dublin, and worked at the London Hilton, The Hotel Central in Zurich, the Regent Hotel in Melbourne, and in Sydney at the Park Lane hotel, Level 41 and Brasserie Cassis before starting Banc, named as Sydney’s top restaurant.   His staff and colleagues describe him as a tough and exacting chef, who demands perfection from all, yet lends a hand in peeling potatoes, to assist his staff.

When meeting Tomlin, he expressed his fear of writing – even though he has published two cookery books already.  I challenged him to blog about his craft, but he says he will leave this to his efficient wife Jan, who is very much his right hand in the new venture.

Tomlin’s “Basic Techniques and Methods of Cookery” courses will commence on Saturday 24 April, and will be held every second Saturday morning, from 9h30 – 13h30.  Twenty courses run through until 5 February 2011, and cover such topics such as sauces, plated desserts, eggs, shellfish, salads, stocks, potatoes and more.  The course costs R 10 500.

Local celebrity chefs will be invited as guest speakers, and the list includes Laurent Deslandes from Bizerca, Neil Jewell from Bread & Wine, Chef Bruce Robertson, Reuben Riffel of Reubens, Margot Janse of Le Quartier Francais, Topsi Venter, Pete Goffe-Wood of Wild Woods, and Malika van Reenen of Signal at the Cape Grace Hotel.  Richard Corrigan of Corrigan’s in London, and also the owner of Bentley’s in London and Dublin, will be invited to run classes, as will Brett Graham of London-based Ledbury, and The Harwood Arms, the first Michelin-starred pub.

The pay-off line for the new Chefs’ Warehouse is: “where retail and culinary education blend in perfect harmony…”.  The building will be used not only as a Cookery School and Warehouse, but also as a venue for shoots, product launches, book signings, food and wine events, and media events. 

Chefs’ Warehouse and Cookery School: 50 New Church Street, Gardens, tel 021 422 0128, www.chefswarehouse.co.za, info@chefswarehouse.co.za

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com