Paris, London, New York, Chicago, and Tokyo—these culinary destinations get all the hype, but if you ask me, Cape Town might be the world's most underrated foodie hub. The city’s fresh produce, world-class wines, and diversity of cultural influences all come together to make magic on the plate, and the weak state of our currency these days means it might have the best value for money anywhere on the planet. Leading the charge to make Cape Town a gourmet hot spot are a host of inventive, über-creative chefs who dabble in dishes featuring local ingredients with unique twists. Some, like Franck Dangereux, have foreign pedigrees, while others are homegrown superstars; together, they create one of the most exciting food scenes anywhere on the planet. Watch out for these five Cape Town chefs and memorize their names now—they're poised to break through to the global stage any day now.
When Dale-Robert's Test Kitchen made its way onto Restaurant magazine's coveted World's 50 Best Restaurants list this year, no one in Cape Town was particularly surprised. Test Kitchen and its sister restaurant, the Pot Luck Club, have been crowning the country's best-of polls for a while now, and it's about time the rest of the world caught on.
Tempelhoff has been working his magic at the Greenhouse at Constantia's Cellars-Hohenort hotel, where he's earned the recognition of Relais & Châteaux grand chef. In December 2013, he brought his talents to Cape Town's V&A Waterfront with the opening of his latest venture, Mondiall. There, diners can sample an eclectic global menu in a sleek dining room with expansive views of Table Mountain.
One of the country's best-loved toques, Riffel is perhaps South Africa's best-known celebrity chef: he runs four branches of his Reuben's restaurant around the region (Cape Town, Franschhoek, Paternoster, and Robertson), and is a judge on Masterchef SA. In the city, you can catch him in action at his restaurant at the One&Only.
Part chef, part showman: Robertson is a rare act. Don't let his wacky personality fool you, this man has serious culinary chops, with his specialty being the West Coast's impossibly fresh seafood. These days, he's busy at work on his latest venture, the Flagship, a guesthouse with an intimate chef's table experience. Robertson has journeyed extensively throughout the continent, and translates his travels into his flavors. Case in point: his snoek pâté made with smoked pike and Cape Malay-style seafood curry.
Cannes-born Dangereux has an impressive pedigree: stints at two Michelin three-star restaurants in Paris and a run as head chef at La Colombe, one of Cape Town's most celebrated fine-dining restaurants. He then branched out to open the Foodbarn in the village of Noordhoek, a rustic-chic restaurant set in, yes, a barn. Dangereux brings his distinct French flair to his fare, seen in dishes like steak tartare and grilled sirloin.