2 hours ago
|February 18th 2019|
A tiny beach restaurant in an isolated South African fishing village was named the best in the world on Monday.
Chef Kobus Vander Merwe, who did not begin to cook seriously until he was 30, forages every day for ingredients on the #wildAtlantic shore of the #WesternCape near his Wolfgat restaurant, where he also makes his own bread and butter.
#TheWolfgat -- whose six mostly female staff have no formal training -- opened just two years ago in a 130-year-old cottage and cave on the beach at #Paternoster.
Its seven-course tasting menu costs the equivalent of 53 euros ($60), a fraction of what you would pay at a top #Paris table.
But its humble setting, and #VanderMerwe's belief in sustainable, back-to-basics #cooking won over the judges of the inaugural World #RestaurantAwards in the #French capital.
The 38-year-old, who can feed only 20 people at a sitting, told AFP, "I don't feel worthy. It's a big title. My staff who go out every day gathering herbs, succulents and dune spinach, should be here... It's their baby.
"I can't wait to celebrate with them with a big glass of #SouthAfrican sparkling wine."
With dishes such as twice-cooked laver (seaweed), #angelfish with bokkom sambal and wild garlic #masala, #limpets, #mussels and #seavegetables harvested within sight of its " #stoep" (porch), Wolfgat also won the prize for best " #OffMapDestination".
The bearded Van der Merwe -- a former journalist -- said that apart from the influence of the subtle spices of local #CapeMalay cooking, his philosophy was to "interfere as little as possible with the products, and to keep them pure, raw and untreated.
"It's hyper local cuisine but we try to come up with new flavours, like dune celery spice."