Jan-Hendrik van der Westhuizen grew up on a farm in Middelburg, South Africa. He is the first South African to receive a coveted Michelin Star for his restaurant in Nice, France. Dave and I missed an opportunity to spend an evening with Jan-Hendrik at a friend’s house a few years ago. Hopefully one day we do get to meet him.
Jan-Hendrik van der Westhuizen
Who has been the most influential person in your life?
My two grandmothers hugely influenced my life, they really sparked my passion for food.
What started you on the path of cooking?
Curiosity and the fact that I lived on a farm where food was everything.
Which three ingredients could you not live without?
Butter, salt and cloves….. chocolate……last one doesn’t count because it’s no 4
Which of your kitchen tools would you take with you anywhere and everywhere?
My Knives and my notebook.
Do you have any pet peeves in the kitchen?
Aggressive chefs or a team that show no respect to food waste.
Which meal is your all time favourite?
Vetkoek and mince.
Which restaurant would you visit over and over again?
Spur. I always go back when I’m in SA for a Cheddamelt burger with a milkshake. I know….. it’s in my veins I guess.
If you could only have one recipe book, which one would it be?
My grandmothers hand written recipe book. I treasure those recipes and use them daily at my restaurant JAN.
If you could work alongside one chef for a day who would that be?
The baker from the boulangerie on the corner of the street where JAN is. I am working my way in there to spend a day with him… I HAVE TO GET HIS BAGUETTE RECIPE!
Which ingredient will you not eat or cook with?
I’m not fussy. Always keen to try something new.
What is on top of your bucket list?
To fly a plane.
What is your food philosophy?
To treat all your ingredients with respect and to buy the best possible ingredients you can. I also believe in making every effort to not waste food but rather use leftovers. Sometimes, food waste can get very high in this industry, so making every effort to lessen the amount of food waste is very important to me. That is why I started the Love Leftovers Campaign. For some ideas on how to use leftovers, like us on Facebook
Any parting words for the readers?
Do what do know best. Dream big. Surround yourself with positive and like minded people.
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Disclosure: This interview with Jan-Hendrik was facilitated by Lisa Pellatt from Marvello & Mill. This post is in line with my blogging policy.