Acclaimed Franschhoek restaurant announces transformation towards conscious dining, headed up by new, young-gun Executive Chef.
In the heart of Franschhoek - lauded internationally as South Africa’s “culinary capital” - the acclaimed Monneaux Restaurant, adjacent to the luxurious five-star Franschhoek Country House & Villas boutique hotel, is evolving. The restaurant is reconceptualising its dining offering from pass to plate, as well as introducing self-sustainable initiatives and a hyper-local focus at every stage of the culinary chain. The intellect behind these inspired changes is the visionary young chef Calvin Metior, who was appointed as Executive Chef in September and officially launches his new concept as of 1 November 2019.
It was an all-encompassing love of food that first drove Calvin to pursue a career in the culinary world, one which began in his home city of Durban. After graduating from the International Hotel School, he completed a three year internship at the Quarter’s Hotel on Florida Road’s famous restaurant strip. He then set his sights on London, where his portfolio flourished, including working at the British-produce-and-cuisine focused Hix restaurants and fine dining D&D London collection, as well as gaining premium exposure under Alan Pickett at Plateau and Tony Fleming at the Michelin-starred Angler.
While in London, Calvin and his wife welcomed their first born child and decided to return home to raise their family. After joining renowned chef Eric Bulpitt at La Motte, his most recent position, Calvin says his mind and perspective were opened to a new world of cooking.
“Calvin brings along impressive skill, passion and limitless creativity, and - importantly - shares our vision of elevating Monneaux to an exciting new level. He is young, imaginative and energetic but also ‘calm and collected’, which is exactly the type of chef we wanted to inspire and lead this new direction,” says Franschhoek Country House & Villas owner Jean-Pierre Snyman.
With his appointment as Executive Chef, Calvin is not only tasked with running the Monneaux Restaurant and developing new menus, but also reinventing the dining experience. It’s a challenge he readily accepts. “Having the freedom to dream, to make my concepts a reality and to produce my own food is incredible. To be able to do so at Monneaux Restaurant, in this beautiful country-style setting and surrounded by so much natural inspiration and superb produce in the Cape Winelands, is a dream come true.”
He follows a philosophy of “natural minimalism”, sourcing the very best produce at their peak and showcasing their natural character without an overwhelm of too many ingredients on the plate. Seasonality, comfort and value are priorities when it comes to menu design. To clarify comfort, Calvin says “Food should be enjoyable throughout - from the way it looks, to the way in which it is eaten and how it tastes.”
He’s also fiercely passionate about supporting local producers and artisans, thus keeping the restaurant’s carbon footprint to a minimum, and improving self-sustainability at the restaurant. Micro gardens have been established throughout our property, which will produce a rotating supply of fresh herbs and vegetables. In the kitchen, Calvin has a number of projects already underway - including making our own miso, hot sauces and fish sauce, smoking and curing our own meat and fish, making charcuterie from scratch, and dry and wet ageing of fish and meat.
“I believe that small change is good change. By sourcing produce responsibly and locally, reducing waste and reliance on outside suppliers, recycling, turning food trimmings into compost and trying to produce as much ourselves as possible, we’ll be making a difference.”
This approach also allows Monneaux Restaurant to establish its own true identity, giving guests an authentic experience that runs from breakfast through to dinner. “What’s better than knowing where the eggs on your plates are from, or that your breakfast sausages are made in-house? ‘Just another hotel restaurant’ this most certainly is not!” Calvin exclaims.
With flavour, enjoyment and value at the top of his list, the new dishes offer freshness, creativity, and generosity, but without compromising on technique or elegance. The menu is designed to invite diners to customise their Monneaux Restaurant experience with a wide selection of starters and mains, as well as lighter “snack style” dishes. Guests can opt to share a few snacks and starters over casual drinks, select just a starter or main course for a quick meal, or choose a more traditional flow of starters and mains for an unhasty, exceptional lunch or dinner. View the new menu here!
Citing some of his biggest inspirations as René Redzepi’s gastronomic mecca Noma and Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park, who constantly test culinary boundaries and setting world-leading food trends, it’s no wonder that Calvin is progressive and experimental when it comes to his own cooking style. Guests can expect the Monneaux Restaurant menus to change regularly with the seasons, offering both intrigue and a new experience with every visit.
Monneaux Restaurant’s variety of beautiful seating areas lend themselves seamlessly to suit all preferences. The outdoor fountain terrace, beneath the dappled shade of a spreading pepper tree, is ideal for lazy summer lunches and sundowners, and al fresco dinners beneath twinkling fairy lights on balmy evenings. The restaurant’s stylish interior is discretely divided into three individual dining rooms, creating an intimate atmosphere.
For those choosing to linger longer and immerse themselves in the Franschhoek valley, the five star Franschhoek Country House & Villas offers luxuriously appointed rooms and suites set within the property’s exquisite country-style gardens. Complimentary offerings for hotel guests include daily breakfast, afternoon drinks, exclusive use of the hotel’s two swimming pools, air-conditioned shuttle transfers around the village and use of the Franschhoek Health Club’s facilities.
“This is a very exciting chapter and we anticipate a long and successful future with Calvin,” says Jean-Pierre. “In the culinary hub of Franschhoek, it’s important to differentiate and develop, whilst continuing to offer quality and authenticity. We believe that our new offering truly sets the Monneaux Restaurant apart as a must-visit dining destination and we look forward to welcoming guests to enjoy the transformation with us as of November!”