Wanted, Pam Golding International, American Dream and chef Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen’s night to remember.
Wanted, Pam Golding International, American Dream and chef Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen’s night to remember.
Image: Jurgen Hansmann

Who held the first ever dinner at superstar SA chef Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen’s Innovation Studio in Cape Town?

Wanted, obviously.

Teaming up with the fantastic folks of Pam Golding International and American Dream, it seemed like the obvious thing to do – leading the lux culinary pack, as usual. A meeting of the best global and local minds, we like to think.

The mere mention of the dinner struck envy into the hearts of local foodies and A-listers – how could they get on the invite list? After all, we were going to be privy to a feast conjured up by South Africa’s Michelin-starred golden boy, who would be taking inspiration from our country’s own produce and food culture.  

The incredible - and delicious - harvest table.
The incredible - and delicious - harvest table.
Image: Jurgen Hansmann
The beautiful table setting awaiting the guests.
The beautiful table setting awaiting the guests.
Image: Jurgen Hansmann

Were we and our small gathering of special guests excited? That’s an understatement. Had we overhyped the experience? Banish the thought!

A plate of marrow bone, pap and snails - heavenly! An artful bowl of cannelloni, langoustine, naartjie and caviar – we swooned. And then, the most perfectly cooked duck with saffron pampoen fritters and Kalahari salted caramel sauce, accompanied by a glass of rooibos broth to sip – it was next level. (Ed’s note: possibly the best duck I’ve had in my life.)

LOOK | A glimpse into the wonderful evening that was:

By this point, fuelled on flavours and the most spectacular wines from Quoin Rock (have you tasted their 2017 white blend? It’s exceptional), we were led to a baroque-inspired table, overflowing with tumbling fruit and candelabra, cheeses and preserves. It was something out of a bacchanalian dream. Conversations were in full swing, Van der Westhuizen flittered around us, laughter was pretty much constant – in between the eating and drinking, obviously - and then, suddenly, the singing started.  

Acclaimed soprano Lynelle Kenned serenades the guests.
Acclaimed soprano Lynelle Kenned serenades the guests.
Image: Jurgen Hansmann
Acclaimed soprano Lynelle Kenned.
Acclaimed soprano Lynelle Kenned.
Image: Jurgen Hansmann

A visit from acclaimed soprano Lynelle Kenned stopped us in our tracks. We were mesmerised by her charm, her voice, her style. It was a once-in-a-lifetime moment.

So how do you top that? With goodie bags overflowing with gifts from American Dream, Bulgari, Quoin Rock, Jan and Wanted. We positively floated out of the Innovation Studio. It was a staggeringly special night. 

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