A farmer’s son from Gweru, Zimbabwe (a tiny little place in the middle of the country) Jack Coetzee has grown up with not only a deep love of food, but a profound respect and understanding of it too — a result of having witnessed first-hand the effort that goes into growing, rearing, and preparing produce. It is this lived experience that has shaped both his food philosophy as a chef, and now what he brings to Gåte Restaurant — the fine-dining restaurant on Stellenbosch’s majestic Quoin Rock estate.
A self-described resourceful minimalist, Coetzee’s food is an homage to the produce he works with, often incorporating the ingredients from nose-to-tail or root-to-top. In his eyes, a carrot top is as important as caviar and should be used to equal effect — a mindset that continues to push him to discover ancient techniques, forgotten ingredients and alternative cooking methods, all of which he brings with him as he embarks on this new project.
Speaking about Gåte, Coetzee is excited about the new location and all the points of inspiration it brings with it — whether it be people, produce or perspective. He’s done away with the molecular gastronomy, wiped the slate clean and is heading in a refreshing, new direction. It’s one that puts emphasis on Southern African ingredients, cooking techniques and, when possible, farm-to-table cooking — drawing from the bountiful array of ingredients available on his doorstep.