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Published on : Thursday, October 31, 2013
Following his recent appointment as Executive Chef at The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa in Cape Town, Christo Pretorius (27) has officially launched a fresh new summer menu, full of creative flair and bursting with flavour.
Pretorius was promoted to his new position after honing his skills as Executive Sous Chef at the five-star Twelve Apostles, where he has been working alongside former Executive Chef Henrico Grobbelaar, ready to step into the shoes of his mentor.
With his promotion to Executive Chef, he is now in charge of Azure Restaurant, as well as the hotel’s banqueting, and aims to introduce the next phase in The Twelve Apostles’ culinary journey. ‘My aim is to take Azure to the next level by presenting innovative new menus using only the very best quality local fresh and seasonal products, while keeping up a passionate, enjoyable working environment for the team.’
Recognised as one of Cape Town’s top dining experiences, Azure Restaurant made its debut onto the prestigious American Express Platinum Fine Dining Awards in 2013, and won its sixth Diamond Award in the Diners Club Winelist Awards in the same year. In 2011 it was voted one of the Eat Out Top 20 Restaurants of the Year.
Pretorius is ably assisted by new Executive Sous Chef, Chris Mare, who joins award-winning Red Carnation Hotel, The Twelve Apostles from his previous position as Executive Head Chef at Blaauwklippen Wine Estate. For Mare, this is in fact a return home – he commenced his culinary career right here at The Twelve Apostles as Junior Chef de Partie in 2003, working his way up to Sous Chef.
This was followed by positions as Head Chef at sister properties Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat in the Cederberg (2008 – 2010), and Executive Sous Chef at The Oyster Box in Durban (2010 – 2012), before moving on to Blaauwklippen.Growing up in Vryheid (Kwa-Zulu Natal) Christo Pretorius trained at the 1000 Hills Chefs School in Durban where he completed his Chef and Pastry Diplomas in 2007, passing both with distinction.
His work experience includes positions held at at the five-star Relais & Châteaux properties Kurland Hotel and Tsala Treetop Lodge, as well as the Cape Royale Hotel where he was Sous chef at Bistro1800° before joining The Twelve Apostles team last year.The talented young Pretorius has competed in several high profile cooking competitions.
He placed second in the prestigious Sunday Times ‘Young Chef of the Year’ competition in 2012; and was a regional finalist in the Unilever Food Solutions ‘Senior Chef of the Year’ competition in both 2011 and 2012. In 2010 he won ‘Junior Chef of the Year’ at the Unilever Food Solutions, and was also placed second at the Goldcrest Young Chef of the Year Competition.
Pretorius’ new summer menu features fresh, seasonal produce, with a focus on top quality local ingredients. Starters include two of his signature dishes: Quail Risotto – confit leg, spiced breast, butternut and cinnamon puree, sage butter and macadamia crumble is ‘a simple dish with incredible flavours’, according to the Chef; and Franschhoek Salmon Trout – gravadlax, tartare, asparagus, lemon grass vinaigrette and vanilla mayo.
‘Green asparagus is in its prime right now – this dish is light, seasonal and fresh’, explains Pretorius. As a current season special he also serves White Asparagus with parmesan fried egg, parma ham and hollandaise sauce.For mains guests are able to tuck into mouth-watering dishes such as Springbok – loin, shank and potato pave, cabbage and prune puree, baby beetroot, caramelised pearl onion and juniper jus; whilst vegetarian options include Aubergine Medallions with harissa spiced grilled aubergine, babaganoush, warm chick pea & baby marrow salad and chakalaka pie.
With its idyllic location on the Atlantic Ocean, incredible views and the most stunning, romantic sunsets, The Twelve Apostles is famous for serving delectable seafood dishes, and Chef Pretorius looks forward to continuing this tradition and showcasing his flair in the preparation of a tasty Fish du Jour dish, fresh from the sea every day and served with white asparagus, smoked potato, succotash, pea puree, citrus gel and lime crumble.
Lime Cremeux – lime cured, lime sponge, plum sorbet and plum salad is one of several dessert options, with Chocolate Torte with salted caramel mousse, pear dainties, pouched pears and hazelnut buttercream offering another delicious sweet indulgence.Christo Pretorius says that he likes to focus on the ingredients, flavours and seasoning of a dish, and respects good, honest food in its purest form. He is serious about seasonality and local produce, as he knows that traceability is of huge importance to discerning diners.
His contemporary approach to cooking also transfers to his plating style: ‘If every element on the plate works together, the dish will speak for itself.’The Twelve Apostles Hotel, a Leading Hotels of the World member, is renowned for its weekly culinary events – the Saturday Jazz Lunch combines an indulgent à la carte lunch with breathtaking Atlantic Ocean views and soulful jazz favourites with Jeremy Olivier (every Saturday between 12h30 – 15h00); while the ‘Serendipity Sundays’ traditional Sunday lunch features à la carte delicacies and an enticing buffet selection (R245 per person), with Jenie Oliver on keyboard and vocals.
In addition Azure Restaurant hosts its popular Food & Wine pairing series on the last Friday of every month. Guests may join Christo Pretorius for an exclusive evening, co-hosted by some of South Africa’s top winemakers and wineries: Bouchard Finlayson will see out the series this year on 29 November 2013, with Neethlingshof seeing in the new year on 24 January 2014, followed by Creation Wines on 21 February 2014 and Mullineux Wines on 28 March 2014.
Source:- Red Carnation Hotel