Pierneef à La Motte has a new executive chef, although she is already well-acquainted with the award-winning restaurant. The restaurant at the impressive La Motte wine estate has undergone a reshuffle, with Michelle Theron taking over the kitchen from Chris Erasmus, who resigned in order to start his own restaurant.
Theron has been part of the restaurant workings since the opening of Pierneef à La Motte’s doors in 2010, but it wasn’t until 1 May 2014 when she took over the reins and became leader of the kitchen pack.
Both Michelle’s personal and professional experience is very Cape Town and Winelands-centric. She grew up in a typical South African home where life was planned around meal times, meals which were often supplemented by ingredients from the garden. With a love of cooking fuelled by culinary literature, Theron kept her eye on chefs like Margot Janse, Clare Smythe and Elena Arzak. Her love of cooking and food led her to study culinary arts, which in turn found her working in restaurants in the Winelands and Cape Town.
Her experience in Cape cooking makes her the perfect fit for Pierneef à La Motte, with her ability to produce traditional flavours, made with local ingredients, in a manner that is inspiring and on-trend. Her skill and experience level promises that there are exciting times ahead for the Franschhoek restaurant.
“Together with La Motte’s Culinary Team, Michelle has been an integral part of the initial research and recipe development for Pierneef à La Motte as well as our Cape Winelands Cuisine cookbook and we are delighted and excited to now have her heading the kitchen”, says La Motte CEO, Hein Koegelenberg.
Chef Theron’s reign is kicking off with the restaurant’s autumn menu, and patrons of Pierneef à La Motte can expect delicious modern interpretations of traditional Cape Winelands flavours. A highlight on the seasonal menu is the deconstruction of a true-Cape Winelands chicken pie, presenting the traditional flavours and textures as a Free-range Cape Winelands chicken with preserved lemon, fig saucisson sec, quail egg, white wine and preserved lemon sauce.
Dishes such as Textures of beetroot – fresh, pickled and roasted with double-baked goat’s cheese soufflé and Smoked snoek tortellini with grapefruit, red pepper, braised greens and smoked sweet potato are further examples of Michelle’s creative interpretation of traditional and seasonal ingredients.
Regular guests to La Motte will be familiar with Michelle’s beautiful confectionery in the Farm Shop and now her flair for pastry is also evident from a dessert selection that includes an innovative take on a South African favourite; Milk-tart with cinnamon gel, honey ice-cream and puff crumble and a pretty-as-a-picture Lemon and thyme marshmallows with poppy seed tuilles.
An excited Michelle says: “This is the opportunity of a lifetime and I can’t wait to use the amazing ingredients we have on our doorstep to tell the story of Cape Winelands Cuisine. I hope our guests will find it as irresistible as I do.”
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