The concept of dinner at a chef’s home – popularised by the British cook, Rachel Khoo, who shot to fame featuring dinner for two in her tiny Paris apartment – is an attractive option for food lovers who crave an experience that is contemporary and economical – without compromising on authenticity.
Paarl-based food stylist, former restaurateur and experiential culinarian cook, Chef Mynhardt Joubert, has embraced this trend by hosting top-end, yet affordable, dining experiences at his home-based restaurant in Paarl. These experiences are often inspired by seasonal flavours, and there’s room for only 10 to 30 people per sitting to enjoy these unique, delicious and generous dinners, lunches, or private events – all expertly paired to wines from some of South Africa’s top estates.
Chef Mynhardt has hosted milestone-parties, corporate dinners, year-end events, intimate get-togethers and even a wedding at his home. “I really can offer a variety of food-focused experiences in this space, my approach is to really listen to guests’ needs, which allows me to create a vision board that is often very colourful and dramatic – with food taking centre stage,” says Chef.
Joubert, a former professional dancer, is a firm believer in the power of a beautiful performance. For his menus he draws inspiration from cultures where dining really represents a festive occasion: hearty Mediterranean cooking, South African celebratory meals, French cuisine – and always features the best local ingredients at hand, whether it’s seasonal berries or waterblommetjies; mushrooms or cheese from the local artisanal producers, or free range Karoo lamb.
His ‘stage’ is his cosy loft-styled home, which was previously an open gallery, owned by his downstairs neighbours, and is an inspiring space that reflects the artistry served from the kitchen. Guests are immediately made to feel at home in this intimate open-plan space that allows for a constant flow between Chef Mynhardt in the kitchen, and the dining party at his table.
“This is not just simply serving or enjoying a meal,” says Chef Mynhardt, “I really aim to create a memorable experience where people feel that they got so much more than what they paid for – food for me is about generosity and I will never compromise on that believe.”
A seat at Chef Mynhardt’s table can be booked and tailormade according to guests’ particular needs. Costs are R450 to R650 per head.