Line fish sashimi, uni chawanmushi, foraged herbs, accompanied by a mirin and fish-broth tea.
Line fish sashimi, uni chawanmushi, foraged herbs, accompanied by a mirin and fish-broth tea.
Image: Supplied

Chef Darren Badenhorst, of award-winning Franschhoek restaurant Le Coin Français, and talented young chef Callan Austin — winner of the S.Pellegrino social responsibility award at the 2019/2021 international S.Pellegrino Young Chef competition have announced the plans for their new restaurant, Dusk.

The dynamic duo of mentor and protégé — who have worked together for the better part of a decade — are set to shake up the country’s dining scene when they open their new Stellenbosch restaurant later in 2022.

Chef Darren Badenhorst and chef Callan Austin.
Chef Darren Badenhorst and chef Callan Austin.

The fine-dining space — is to be yet another (and perhaps even the most) exciting addition to the town’s post-Covid booming foodie scene — and will be situated at 43 Plein Street, across the way from the historic town hall.

Dusk promises an immersive, experiential and boundary-pushing new concept that begins the moment you enter and continues until the moment you leave. Every aspect of the experience is carefully and mindfully created — from the speakeasy-esque entrance that leads you into the magnificent marble clad space to the brightness of the downlights that illuminate the tabletops and, of course, the menu and service.

The food unbridled by one specific cuisine will draw from myriad techniques, processes and methodologies. A hyper-focus on seasonality, locality and indigenous ingredients, will result in the available produce and the chef’s ingenuity dictate the style and direction for each dish instead. Constantly evolving, the idea is that dishes will be introduced and removed throughout the year and according to the eight micro-seasons.

Expect tableside theatrics, interactive elements and, ultimately, the unexpected, as the two chefs take diners on a multi-course, sensorial and thrilling dining experience — which will pay homage to local ingredients and the places they grow — be it mountain, forest, ocean or farmland.

Laying-hen ballotine with foraged mushroom garrum and roasted celeriac purée.
Laying-hen ballotine with foraged mushroom garrum and roasted celeriac purée.

In line with the ultrafine cuisine, expect service to complement the menu along with a premium wine offering.

Sustainability and consciousness are important to every aspect of Dusk, so considerable attention has been given to the welfare of all members of staff. The two chefs, determined to create a space where everyone is happy and excited to come to work, encourage and assist their staff in maintaining a good work-life balance — going so far as employing a counsellor for the restaurant group.

This is an area Badenhorst is particularly passionate about, the chef is working on a research paper focusing on staff health, retention and mental health in the workplace.

Chef Darren Badenhorst and chef Callan Austin.
Chef Darren Badenhorst and chef Callan Austin.
Image: Supplied

This ethos extends to everyone being included and informed of all there is to know — the whole team (from scullery to front-of-house) regularly going out together, be it to forage or visiting the farmers and producers who supply the restaurant. Thereby ensuring every staff member not only understands but buys into what they’re aiming to achieve and are passionate about what they will be offering.

Dusk, pushing boundaries at every step, is set to be an exhilarating addition to SA’s dining scene. Badenhorst and Austin’s passion and excitement are evident in every element they’re working on, as they strive to bring it to life.

Dusk will open its doors in spring 2022 and will be open for dinner service only.

For more updates and to follow along with the creation of Dusk follow them on Instagram

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