Dutch chef Margot Janse is using her organisation Isabelo to help feed those in need.
Dutch chef Margot Janse is using her organisation Isabelo to help feed those in need.
Image: Supplied

The pandemic has meant a difficult time for all, with vulnerable communities the hardest hit. The restaurant industry, too, has been dealt a significant blow due to lockdown. Despite this, local chefs and restaurant owners have rallied together to set up initiatives to help feed those in need and assist their staff who have been without work for weeks. If you’d like to support these schemes, read on.


Celebrated Dutch chef Margot Janse, who rose to international acclaim as head chef of Franschhoek’s The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Francais, has been helping to feed the town’s disadvantaged community. Her feeding scheme Isabelo was set up in 2009 to supply school lunches to children in need, but when the crisis hit, she realised she had to do more. She, along with the recently formed Disaster Management Franschhoek Food Relief, chef Chris Erasmus of Foliage (another famed Franschhoek eatery) and the Chefs Warehouse team, spearheaded by renowned chef Liam Tomlin, have joined forces to provide food parcels to thousands of families. The initiative relies heavily on donations, with Janse saying 90% of the food prepared has been gifted by businesses and individuals.

Visit the Isabelo website or Disaster Management Franschhoek Food Relief on Facebook.


Chef David Higgs has raised an incredible R150,000 for his restaurants’ staff fund by donating the proceeds of sales of his cookbook Mile 8. In a further effort to bring in funds for his team, the avid cyclist will be taking on a 360km ultra-endurance virtual cycle tour, starting at 3pm today (Friday April 23 2020), together with his 2020 Absa Cape Epic partner Stuart Johnston. The aim is to sell one book per kilometre cycled. “We have such an incredible team at Marble and Saint – they bring the restaurants to life every day and now it’s our turn to support them,” explains Higgs. You can follow his virtual race via Instagram, @davidhiggschef.

If you’d like to support, the book is available for purchase via the Marble website.


The critically acclaimed chef behind the 2019 World Restaurant Awards Restaurant of the Year Wolfgat, in the village of Paternoster, has joined forces with the Paternoster Peoples’ Partnership to form the Paternoster Food Drive. The organisation estimates the village is home to over 750 households who will not be able to feed themselves during lockdown. The partnership delivers food packages containing nutritional essentials to those in need.

To read the pledge and find out how you can support, visit wolfgat.co.za/fooddrive.


The chef-cum-managing-director and co-owner of Sandton’s recently launched Aurum restaurant, Paulo Santo, has launched a Voucher Plan* page offering a guaranteed 20% in added value when you buy a voucher to use once the restaurant reopens. Through the sale of these vouchers, Santo hopes to be able to retain the restaurant’s team of staff and help them to support their families while Aurum is unable to conduct daily trade.

To buy a voucher and support the Aurum team visit voucherplan.co.za.


The chef and owner of trendy Cape Town eatery Janse & Co has partnered with Ladles of Love, a non-profit, volunteer-run soup kitchen to provide over 2,500 meals a day. This immense undertaking requires a huge amount of not only produce (Janse estimates that they’re going through almost a ton of vegetables a day) but also time and energy. The chef has asked for donations of food or money.

If you’d like to support the cause, donate to Ladles of Love at ladlesoflove.org.za.


This eatery has grown somewhat of a cult following amongst Joburg’s foodies. Husband and wife team Alex and Eloise Windebank, who run it, have set up a staff fund to help their small team get through these trying times and enable them to re-open Farro’s doors once lockdown lifts. “Reaching our target means that our staff members will be able to feed their families, feed themselves, keep their homes. The impact is immeasurable,” reads a message on Farro’s page.

To donate to the staff fund visit: backabuddy.co.za/farros-staff.

*VoucherPlan by DinePlan

The popular online booking platform has come to the support of the industry by launching VoucherPlan, a free-to-use platform to help restaurants generate cash flow to survive the shutdown and support their staff. The offering is free of charge and the businesses get 100% of the voucher’s value. Support your favourite eateries by visiting voucherplan.

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