Richard Carstens trained under his mentor Ralph van Pletzen at his eponymous restaurant Ralph’s in Stellenbosch from 1992 – 93. Richard’s first appointment as executive chef was under the guidance of Ralph at Guinea Fowl Restaurant on Saxenburg Wine Estate in 1993.
He subsequently made a name for himself as a dynamic new chef at Franschhoek favourites such as Chamonix and Monneaux.
He broadened his horizons during 1997 and 1998 by working at some of Melbourne’s most esteemed restaurants such Le Japon and Stella’s.
He returned to South Africa to take up the position of executive chef at Le Provencal Restaurant in Franschhoek where he stayed until 2001.
Shortly after moving to Bijoux Restaurant in 2001 it was included in EatOut Magazine’s SA Top 10 list.
Richard is best know for his five year stint as executive chef at Lynton Hall Hotel and Restaurant from 2002, which was included in Eat Out Magazine’s SA Top 10 list four consecutive years.
It was here where he had the freedom to express his own style of “Avant-garde” cuisine, inspired by elBulli’s Ferran Adria.
His unique approach and playful creations resulted in him being named EatOut Magazine’s SA Chef of the Year for 2005.
Richard returned to Cape Town and was appointed as executive chef at Nova Restaurant in 2009. He was also involved as a consultant chef at various leading restaurants such as Ginga, Roots and Reubens.
Richard joined the launch team of the “new” Tokara Restaurant as executive chef in October 2010, which has since been included in EatOut Magazine’s SA Top 20 list for 2012 and announced as the best restaurant in South Africa by The Great Wine Capitals Network.