JAN Restaurant in Nice first SA-owned Michelin star restaurant, creates SA culinary history!


JANMichelinawardLast June, whilst on holiday in Europe, I made the spontaneous decision to fly from Munich via Dusseldorf to Nice, for a lunch.  The lunch at JAN Restaurant was the highlight of my eating career to date. Today JAN Restaurant,
and its owner Jan-Hendrik van der Westhuizen, made culinary history in our country, in receiving its first Michelin star, the first such honour to go to a South African chef-owned restaurant.

The Michelin inspectors had eaten at JAN Restaurant just a week prior to my visit, and Chef Jan-Hendrik must have had an inkling of what was to come, as the feedback to him after their lunch had been ‘impeccable‘, he told me.

JAN Restaurant opened with 28 seats in 2013 near the port of Nice, in a renovated motorcycle outlet, with a stylish interior decor, including chandeliers from the Metro in Paris, and chairs made especially in Paris. Just eight months after opening, they were awarded two knives and two forks in the 2015 Michelin Guide. The accolades followed quickly, including a Condé Nast Traveler World’s 15 Best Restaurant, and inclusion in the Gault et Millau guide.

JAN Restaurant serves a fusion of Jan-Hendrik’s South African food roots going back to Middleburg (e.g. mosbolletjies, biltong dust, Malva pudding) with the freshest herbs, vegetables, and fruit available to him from around the corner in Nice, a shop Jan-Hendrik introduced me to after the lunch.  Front of house staff are JAN TeamFrench, while the chefs in the kitchen with him are both from Delaire Graff in Stellenbosch, namely Kevin Grobler (whom I met at JAN last year) and Rutger Eysvogel, a more recent addition.

Chef Jan-Hendrik published his first cook book ‘The French Affair’ in the year of his restaurant opening, and from it is clear that his beautiful grandmother was an important influence on his culinary career. I was lucky to meet his mother Hester too, who was visiting Jan-Hendrik last June, and who must be beaming with pride today.

Chef Jan-Hendrik’s second book ‘A Breath of French Air‘ will be published in March. In addition to being a busy chef and book writer, Chef Jan-Hendrik organizes Food Tours in Italy and in France. I was extremely fortunate to accompany him and his mother to his favorite escape, a little village called Apricale, just across the border from France into Italy.

Forbes reports that the 2016 France Michelin Guide contains 600 Michelin-star restaurants, and JAN Restaurant is one of 42 new one-star Michelin restaurants featured.  JAN Restaurant rubs shoulders with Chef Gordon Ramsay’s Le Pressoir d’Argent restaurant in Bordeaux, receiving its first star too.

Chef Jan-Hendrik wrote on Facebook, making the announcement: ‘Today a dream has become a reality. JAN has received a ONE MICHELIN STAR. Accepted the ultimate culinary award this morning in Paris. First South African in Michelin history to receive a Michelin star. Here is to my team and everyone that believed in me and my dreams. To hard work and dedication. I am speechless.‪#‎michelinstar‬ ‪#‎firstforSA‬ ‪#‎fortheloveofsouthafrica‬ ‪#‎JAN

Jan Restaurant, 22 Rue Lascaris, Nice. Tel +33 04 97 19 32 23 www.restaurantjan.com  Twitter : @JanHendrikvdWes Tuesday – Saturday Dinner, Friday Lunch.

Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.whalecottage.com/blog  Tel 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@WhaleCottage  Facebook:  click here



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