Chef Matthew Foxon has been announced as the new executive chef of the famed Johannesburg hotel, The Saxon.
After an extended closure through the lockdown, Joburg’s most prestigious hotel reopens its doors on Saturday, May 1 and with it comes the announcement of a new executive chef and a renewed culinary journey for the property.
Leading the new direction is Foxon, previously of 54 on Bath, who will be overseeing the hotel’s complete culinary programme from restaurants to high tea and everything in between. A change from the past few years that saw the restaurants operate under different chefs.
Speaking of the appointment, MD George Cohen notes: “Chef Matthew joins us as we embark on a new journey at the Saxon. He is a multi-talented chef with experience in hotels and restaurants, both locally and internationally. The team and I are looking forward to the greater heights the Saxon culinary journey will achieve under his guidance.”
During the lockdown, Cohen and the team used the time to refurbish and renovate the hotel restaurant, Qunu, creating a space that sees modern elements interwoven with African touches, and the old school elegance for which the hotel has long been known.
The new design includes changing up the skylights, which now flood the space with natural light, reflecting off the pearlescent, screeded floor, while a hand-painted mural of a landscape (captured at sister property Shambala) acts as backdrop. Charcoal leather chairs, white table clothes and hanging, woven, pendant lights complete the space complemented by tones of greys and natural woods.
Qunu will once again take its place as the jewel in the hotel’s culinary crown — serving up modern contemporary fare with an SA twist, paired with the hotel’s signature service and hospitality.
Looking at the menu, the offering will remain à la carte and regular guests will be pleased to know that many a signature dish — including the iconic Steak Diane — will be available alongside new additions created by the chef in collaboration with the hotel’s restaurant team.
Foxon has been a firm fixture on Joburg’s restaurant scene having previously worked at the likes of Cube Tasting Kitchen and 54 on Bath, in addition to having a host of experience in the UK under his belt too.
A long-time proponent of nose-to-tail cooking, local and ethical sourcing of produce, and seasonally led cooking, his ethos of sustainability and provenance is a natural fit for a hotel known for its dedication to showcasing SA in everything they do.
“I am excited to bring my ethos of sustainability and respect for produce to the Saxon Hotel, working with the kitchen brigade to ensure the renowned Saxon dining journey continues to offer guests the dining experience they have come to expect,” says Foxon.
In addition to Qunu’s regular menu, Foxon will continue with the vegetarian/vegan offerings for which the restaurant has garnered acclaim, drawing on his years of experience with vegetarian and vegan cooking while working abroad. The terrace menu, brunch, high tea and in-room dining will all be overseen by Foxon, with his plans for Grei Restaurant to be announced in due course.
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