Q&A with prestigious Steenberg chefs
Scottish-born Archie Maclean moved to South Africa a decade ago, his local experience including The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Francais and Singita Lebombo before moving to Catharina’s last year as the executive chef. The eatery, named after Catharina Ras – who founded the estate in the 17th century – serves an adventurous menu including game, smoked crocodile and lamb.
I love being able to create dishes, to mix flavours and textures to produce something that tastes excellent. I also like the pressured working environment of the kitchen. Getting through every day successfully feels like an accomplishment.
I always wanted to travel and one thing all of us has have in common is that we have to eat. Being a chef has helped me further my career while expanding my cultural and culinary knowledge.
Catharina’s is a great restaurant. It’s situated on one of the most beautiful estates in the Cape and it’s in a big food area where cuisine is appreciated. I didn’t have to think twice before taking the job here.
My inspiration for the menu is fresh, interesting local produce and above all, flavour. If food doesn’t taste good, there’s no point eating it.
I really enjoy making a simple pasta at home: linguini with sautéed mushroom, truffle oil, parmesan and fresh parsley. I can eat it all day.
Salt and butter are my essential ingredients.
“I believe flavour and texture make a dish stand out. Giving people something they don’t expect is key”
Executive chef Archie Maclean
I believe flavour and texture make a dish stand out. Giving people something they don’t expect is key.
I live in Gordons Bay so I feel I could be on holiday on my days off. It’s a beautiful place.
I have been at Catharina’s for a year so I have no plans to move just yet. My wife and I have considered opening a restaurant but it is just talk at the moment.
Haggis gets a yes from me – battered and deep fried with chips and lots of salt and vinegar. [Ed’s tip: don’t Google the ingredients for this popular but delicious Scottish dish.]
Executive chef Kerry Kilpin developed her love of cooking while growing up on a farm in Grahamstown. She soon realised that this was what she wanted to do as a career and decided to study at the prestigious Silwood School of Cookery. After more than a decade working with chef Franck Dangereux at The Foodbarn Restaurant in Noodhoek, she felt it was time to head up her own kitchen at Bistro Sixteen82.
Bistro Sixteen82 was always my favourite restaurant to go to for a spoil. My secret desire was that, if I ever stopped working with Franck, it would be to join this Steenberg restaurant. After 12 years under Franck’s wing, it was time for a change and a new challenge.
I cook what I love to eat so the menu is influenced by places I have travelled to or experienced. I only include things on the menu that I would want to eat.
Tapas have been served in the evenings since the restaurant opened. Guests prefer to eat small meals early than a three-course dinner. [Ed’s tip: tapas are served between 5pm and 8pm, Monday to Sunday.]
I am a sucker for a good roast chicken or leg of lamb with all the trimmings. It must include cauliflower cheese sauce, roast potatoes and gravy.
Every ingredient on the plate must taste delicious on its own. Salt is essential.
I love the outdoors, especially spending time on the mountain.
Favourite restaurants include El Burro for Mexican, Borrusos for pizza and Hamachi for sushi.
Credits: Photos: Claire Gunn, Text: Kirsty Wilkins