Executive Chef Henrico Grobbelaar
A qualified engineer, it should come as no surprise to hear that Henrico Grobbelaar, executive chef of the Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa, applies science and ingenuity in his kitchen.
Since swapping complicated machines for a chef’s hat in 2002, Grobbelaar has never looked back. Today one of South Africa’s most creative and celebrated chefs, he has a long list of accolades under his chopping block including the San Pellegrino International Young Chef of the Year and the Sunday Times Chef of the Year, both in 2009. Henrico is currently on the South African culinary Olympic Team and spends many hours mentoring and training young chef’s.
Higgs later appointed Grobbelaar as Sous Chef of Rust en Vrede Restaurant. “He taught me how to run a professional kitchen and how to manage my brigade; to take the skills I learnt from Garth and Paul and be a true restaurateur.” Today, his kitchen at The Twelve Apostles Hotel runs like a well-oiled machine – even, occasionally literally greased by the former engineer himself, who can’t resist taking ailing machinery apart to find out what the problem is. “My toolbox is kept in my office,” he says.His dedication to his chosen career and willingness to work long hours started during his student days, when he juggled his studies and worked for chef David Higgs during his free weekends. “At the time I was studying under Garth Stroebel and Paul Hartmann at their Culinary Academy. They provided me with my foundation, introduced me to competitions and train me today still,” Grobbelaar says.
Grobbelaar describes his recently launched menu at the Azure Restaurant as “honest cuisine”. “My food is humble and I try to cook naturally but with a modern style.” Cooking with game meat is one of his specialities “because I like to recognise my roots and highlight South African cuisine”. His other favourite ingredient to create mouth-watering dishes is fresh seafood. “There is no better spot than the Twelve Apostles Hotel to enjoy grilled tuna, abalone or scallops while you are overlooking the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean.”
His list of kitchen “must-haves” includes olive oil, duck fat, Maldon salt, cracked black pepper, and lemons, while his favourite kitchen gadget is a speed peeler
“As a chef you never, ever stop learning. There are always new trends, new styles, new techniques and this is what keeps my passion alive to learn as much as I can. Passing on this knowledge to up and coming chefs is another fulfilling part of my job, and to see a young chef developing his/her skill set along the way is reward in itself.”
His current culinary goal is to establish himself and his new style of cuisine at The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa. “Then I want to build an even stronger kitchen brigade. I will be guided by feedback from our guests in building up a track record for the Azure Restaurant and establishing ourselves as a ‘contender’ on the South African food map. Together with the hotel’s new General Manager and industry stalwart Horst Frehse, the two make a formidable team who are determined to deliver only the best, in keeping with the Red Carnation Hotel Collection’s ethos of “No request too large, no detail too small.”
The Red Carnation Hotel Collection includes sister properties Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve and Wellness Retreat in the Cederberg, named one of the Best Hotels for Food in Africa, Middle East and the Indian Ocean in Condé Nast Traveller UK Gold List 2011, and The Oyster Box in Umhlanga.
Azure Restaurant at The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa
The Azure Restaurant at The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa has launched its delectable new summer menu for guests to enjoy while soaking up ocean and mountain views in Camps Bay.
Henrico Grobbelaar, Executive Chef at the award-winning family run hotel in Cape Town, part of the Red Carnation Hotel Collection, has taken cuisine to new taste sensation levels with dishes including smoked oyster and cucumber soup, lightly grilled baby squid in its own ink, confit and pan seared quail with poached langoustines and pan seared breast and braised duck leg in pancake and foie gras mousse.
“The focus of the summer menu is seasonal, fresh produce with lots of flavours but nothing overpowering. Each item works together to bring out the best elements of the other ingredients on the plate,” says Grobbelaar. “It is real, humble food but cooked textbook style and presented beautifully.”
More than 95% of the items on the menu are sourced from the Western Cape in line with the Hotel’s Responsible and Sustainable Environmental Policies and follow the Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative’s best practice guidelines.
“We are thrilled that Henrico and his kitchen team’s creations have won over local food critics, with Azure’s recent nominations in the Eat Out/DSTV Food Network Restaurant Awards Top 20 and The Fleur du Cap Top 100 Places to Eat in Cape Town 2011,” says General Manager Horst Frehse.
The new Azure summer menu has been described as “deeply flavourful and yet playful,” while other critics have said few restaurants “have the views and atmosphere that Azure has”.
Enjoy breakfast, an a la carte lunch or dinner or a Sunday lunch carvery buffet at the Twelve Apostles Hotel, where no request is too large and no detail too small, and judge for yourself.