What inspired the look and feel? The style is similar to that of JAN, in that it showcases an appreciation for older, classic pieces with hints of modernity. In JAN, we used darker tones to facilitate an intimate and romantic atmosphere; in MARIA, we used lighter tones to create a creative, cosy space where groups would feel free to chatter, laugh and enjoy themselves. Raw wood and blonde tone were used throughout to create a comfortable, familiar backdrop, which was then punctuated by a feature wall with vintage portraits of women and a 4-meter-long solid oak table, accompanied by a selection of vintage chairs that I sourced from markets and renovated myself. A gorgeous vintage Baccarat chandelier over the long table completes the picture. Every time we host an event at MARIA we also have a crate filled with seasonal fruit outside, with a small note saying ‘if you are hungry, take a fruit. In essence, MARIA is a blank canvas that I intend to colour with things that make me happy.
What's on the menu at Maria? There are two types of menus at MARIA. Firstly, we have the same fine dining menu that is available at JAN – a 6-course, seasonal selection of South African-inspired dishes, paired with wine and served on crisp, white linen. Secondly, we’ll have the MARIA FEAST, which is exactly what it sounds like. We intend to fill bare wooden table with so much delicious food that guests will immediately feel as though they happened upon a celebration in a Renaissance castle keep. Think whole roasted meat dishes, elaborate bowls filled with koeksisters, milk tart croquembouche and dishes like roasted guinea fowl, set jelly salads and childhood cakes that will remind the diner of a sit-down dinner at a royal palace.
How has life at JAN changed post-Michelin? There is the pressure to keep it, to work harder and push the boundaries but to remain authentic and, most importantly, to enjoy what we do… We constantly maintain and better our standards. It is still an immense honour and I am very proud of my team. We just welcomed our fifth South African staff member this week!