Waiting for a cherished ingredient to be back in season, is the heart of executive chef Carolize Coetzee’s cooking and the crux of her new autumn menu at TOKARA Restaurant.
Chef Carolize, who has been leading the kitchen brigade at TOKARA Restaurant since late last year, describes her culinary personality as feminine and playful, using classic techniques as a springboard for her creativity, while exploring the ever-shifting world of food memory.
Motivated by the nostalgia of her mother’s lovingly prepared food and heirloom recipes passed down from one generation to another, she approaches food with the expectation of reliving a fond memory.
“The memories and generosity of other chefs – whether professional or a passionate lay cook such as my grandmother – have been my lodestar as a chef and I enjoy diving into my library of food memories as inspiration for new TOKARA dishes,” says chef Carolize, who will be creating new food memories to add to her repertoire on an exciting culinary adventure to New York and Spain during the quieter winter months this year.
Through the lens of food memory, she takes TOKARA diners on a memorable journey. Her new menu teems with seasonal heirloom ingredients such as winter melon, persimmons, parsnips, butternut, celeriac and gooseberries, interwoven with a dash of authentic Cape flavours.
There is plenty of choice among the starters from kudu tataki, and slow cooked parsnip, bacon and brioche, to a hearty soup of the day. Vegans and vegetarians will feel right at home with a pea mousse and salt baked beetroot, or semi dehydrated tomato, consommé and tempura tofu.
Carnivores will love the braised lamb shoulder, springbok loin with bobotie spiced carrot, or the beef ribeye with heerenboontjie and roasted garlic tapioca for mains. The line fish of the day is served with fire roasted celeriac, fennel celery and pancetta.
Vegans and vegetarians can satisfy their hunger with potato gnocchi and butternut enriched with a coconut curry sauce, or the roasted cauliflower, chickpeas, kale and macadamia nuts.
TOKARA’s award winning olive oil is a kitchen essential and even stars in the dessert line-up as the key ingredient in chef Carolize’s short bread served with coconut sorbet, coriander and pineapple. Other sweet treats include carrot cake with decadent white chocolate and spiced carrot ice cream, gooseberry clafoutis with basil ice cream, and dark chocolate, granadilla with cacao nib ice cream.
Chef Carolize, one of six sisters hailing from the small Eastern Cape town of Humansdorp, joined TOKARA Restaurant from Dornier Wine Estate where she held the position of head chef. Prior posts include cheffing positions in various forms at Delaire Graff Restaurant, Makaron Restaurant at Majeka House, Haute Cabrière, Equus at Cavalli and Cuvée at Simonsig.
TOKARA Restaurant is a landmark culinary destination in the Stellenbosch Winelands framed by spectacular views and contemporary art. It enjoys pride of place on the crest of the Helshoogte Pass.at the magnificent TOKARA Wine and Olive Estate.
TOKARA Restaurant is open for lunch from Tuesdays to Sundays and for dinner from Tuesdays to Saturdays.