Soon he was again living out of a suitcase as he traveled between Brussels, Geneva and Paris consulting on the restaurant’s menus, making sure it was up to Lucas Carpon standards. It was a lonely life, he says, which is why when he finally had some time off he went on holiday to South Africa and caught up with a girl who stole his heart in 1997.
“So that’s how I left Paris, with two big suitcases, and I arrived in South Africa not knowing anybody in the industry. A couple of months later I received a phone call from the owner of Waterkloof and he asked me if I was interested in the project. Eight years later, here I am.”
To this day Czarnecki has no idea how Paul Boutinot got his number or found out about him in the first place but since that day he has been working hard in Somerset West making a name for himself and refining his vision that he feels is finally coming together now. The Eat Out judges clearly agreed, earning him South Africa’s Best Chef award in November last year.
Chef Czarnecki’s newest vision debuted in Pretoria last week at a dinner he prepared in collaboration with Chantel Dartnall at Mosaic at The Orient.
Once finalised, the new dishes will make their way back down south to Restaurant on Waterkloof. One of the new dishes on the menu is a slow cooked scallop served with oven roasted persimmon, mushrooms and truffle; a dressing of cultured cream with a bit of mustard; seasoned with a langoustine oil.
“Every chef, when they are in a new restaurant, takes a bit of time to thaw and be happy with what comes out of the kitchen and I think now I am satisfied. I’m always trying to do better and do new stuff but it takes time to know yourself, to know what you are capable of doing. That doesn’t mean I intend to sleep on my laurels! You always need to work for your goals or else your goal is just a dream.”