Meet Chef Nicolene Barrow of Orangerie at Le Lude: 2021 Top 10 Woman Chef!


Chef Nicolene Barrow is a quiet and unassuming restaurant owner and chef at the family sparkling wine estate Le Lude in Franschhoek. Her French-inspired with a contemporary twist restaurant is the best in the village, in my opinion. She is one of our 2021 Top 10 Women Chefs, and has received her prize of a bottle of Adhara Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Chef Nicolene is the best qualified Chef in our province, having worked at 2 Michelin-star Le Gavroche in London for two years. She opened Orangerie five years ago.



Cape’s Top 10 Women Chefs of 2021 announced on Women’s Day!


I asked Chef Nicolene the following questions:


           What has been the best thing about Lockdown for your restaurant and your cooking ? 

Getting involved with the local community food distributing project, working with the likes of Chef Margot Janse and numerous other helpful chefs
What has been the worst thing about Lockdown for your restaurant and for your cooking? 
There has been so many but realising just how many of my long standing suppliers had sadly closed down 
 Are you planning to change anything in your restaurant/cooking in the year ahead?
Going even more back to the basics, with an emphasis on using more sustainable unknown cuts and overall produce.  
Is there anything else you wish to add?
          Wishing everyone in this industry the best of luck, we are resilient and will come out stronger
          in the end


My friend Gary Peterson and I had lunch at Chef Nicolene’s Orangerie at Le Lude, one that never disappoints. The minute we arrived, we received an overwhelming welcome while we went through the Covid procedure. We preferred to sit outside, and a plan was made. We keep to water, despite the restaurant being on the Le Lude wine estate, the best bubbly in my opinion, as I was the driver.

The delicious warm bread rolls and beautifully presented butter is a promise of what is to come.

My main course choice was Duck with pear and butternut, while Gary chose a most delicious Karoo lamb, a very generous portion. We shared beautifully presented chips and baby marrow fritters.

We could not resist a dessert, each of us choosing homemade ice creams, my flavour choice being vanilla, chocolate, and kumquat, the latter being an ice cream flavour which I experienced in Mendoza in Argentina two years ago for the first time.

The very busy Chef Nicolene came to our table at this time, to greet us and for me to hand over her prize as a 2021 Top 10 Woman Chef. She was excited about a five-day Break, which was starting after the lunch service.


I was most surprised when Chef Nicolene gifted me two bottles of Le Lude Brut Rosé.

A sweet touch was a Madeleine, a shell-shaped sponge cake,  which came with our bill for each of us. The service was perfect. Orangerie is highly recommended.


Orangerie Restaurant at Le Lude Cap Classique Cellar sparkling addition to Franschhoek!

Orangerie, Le Lude, Lambrechts Road, Franschhoek. Tel (021) 876-2961,   Instagram @leludecapclassique @nicolenebarrow


Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein, My Cape Town Guide/Mein Kapstadt Guide Instagram: @Chrissy_Ulmenstein @MyCapeTownGuide

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