TOKARA Chef wins Haute Performance Award in 2020 JHP Gourmet Guide

TOKARA Restaurant Executive Chef, Carolize Coetzee, has won a Haute Performance Award as the most promising chef in the 2020 JHP Gourmet Guide.

Chef Carolize won the Haute Promise award barely a year after taking over the kitchen brigade at TOKARA Restaurant outside Stellenbosch. The Haute Awards are given to chefs creating footprints in the restaurant industry.

“This young, determined and dedicated chef is talented and creative. Her thirst for knowledge and insatiable appetite for learning are admirable. She shows enormous potential for becoming a legendary chef. Watch this space,” is how Chef Carolize is described in the newly released 2020 Gourmet Guide.

Chef Carolize’s springbok loin recipe stands proud alongside those of other leading South African chefs in the annual guide, which awards one, two or three plate ratings to deserving restaurants as well as recognising individual chefs. The guide is a collector’s keepsake of inspiring behind-the-scenes stories of the plated restaurants and awarded chefs that have elevated South Africa into a prime culinary destination.

Family recipes, heirloom ingredients and memories conjured up by food, are the heart of Chef Carolize’s cooking. Through the lens of food memory, she takes diners on a memorable journey. For her current ingredient-driven spring menu, she has turned her appetite for relaxed, playful dining up a notch, reinterpreting traditional South African cookery. The menu is interspersed with ingredients unique to the Simonsberg area of Stellenbosch, fresh produce growing in the Tokara Wine and Olive Estate’s organic vegetable garden, and playful flavour combinations.

“My aim is for my food to have a real sense of place and that our guests should leave with an indelible impression of our restaurant at the foot of the Simonsberg Mountain. That impression should not only concern the food, wine, views and architecture, but the joy and enthusiasm of all the people cooking, serving and cleaning behind the scenes,” shares Chef Carolize.

Earlier this year, she spent a three-week stage at Cosme in New York, ranked 23rd in the world by the World’s 50 Best Restaurants, where she worked alongside Chef Daniela Soto-Innes, the 2019 World’s Best Female Chef.

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 on the magnificent Tokara Wine and Olive Estate.

Tokara Restaurant is open for lunch from Monday to Sunday and for dinner from Tuesday to Saturday.

For reservations call Tel: 021 885 2550, e-mail or visit

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