Renowned South African chef, David Higgs welcomes The Insider SA into his gorgeous, eclectic home. David spends the day with us taking us through his personal collection of art, sharing his joy of cooking, and then introducing us to his two signature restaurants, Marble and Saint.

David Higgs is a chef, restaurateur and artist known just as much for his love of fine dining as he is for a good braai. David began his successful career by working his way up. What started with cooking breakfasts in a small Cape Town hotel, has turned into the launch of two of the country’s top restaurants.

David’s great passions extend beyond food – in fact, his home is filled with art. Along his walls are photographs from his book, Mile8, photographs from Walvis Bay where he grew up, and some political artwork that reminds him of South Africa and everything we’ve been through as a nation. His most prized collections are by artist and friend, Richard Scott. Just like David, Richard’s art is vibrant and full of colour – just the aesthetic David embodies in his own personal style.

No matter how exquisite, David’s home would not be complete without his beloved English bulldog, Carlos, who, no doubt, is also a huge fan of David’s cooking.

David’s home kitchen is always busy. During lockdown, David used his time to create over 200 recipes. His YouTube channel, Dave’s Kitchen now has a total of 84 fun cooking videos that are simple to make and enjoyable to follow along. You can also catch David’s online cooking shows, Cooking for a Cause, that debuted to raise funds for Covid-19 relief and support.

While The Insider SA waits for a hearty Higgs breakfast, David forages for some fresh veggies and herbs in his treasured garden. “My garden is the space where I can really channel my energies and creativity as a chef. There’s nothing more rewarding than cooking from the garden to the pan”, David shares.

The Insider SA then visits Johannesburg’s growing art and food hub, Keyes Art Mile, to check out David’s restaurant, Marble – one of the city’s most sought after dining spots. Marble honours South African’s love of cooking over fire and was founded as a collaboration between David and entrepreneur, Gary Kyriacou.  

Gary explains, “Marble’s always been a dream of mine. Through my travels to New York and London, I’ve seen a lot of inspiration. When I got back from New York one day, I realised that South Africa’s got great meat and we need to showcase that. But, there was something was missing. I needed a great partner and a great chef. That’s when I met David”.

After one conversation, David and Gary hit it off and launched Marble in 2016, a restaurant specialising in all food cooked over coals. Their menu includes fish, poultry, vegetables and breads. However, their red meat and steak is their star ingredient.

Following Marble’s great success, the duo launched another restaurant in 2018: Saint. The restaurant is based on the concept of “Pazzo Italiano” which loosely means crazy, fun Italian. Designed by Gary’s wife, Irene, the décor creates a theatrical and elegant aesthetic set to attract the trendy, up-and-coming business crowds in the area.

“We serve pastas and pizzas and we’ve got these incredible pizza ovens we’ve brought in from Naples”, David explains. When you’re at Saint, make sure to try out David’s favourite pizza: the classic Pepperoni. “The pizzas that we do here is in a Napoletana style so we don’t roll out the dough with a machine or rolling pin, it’s all done by the hand. There’s an art to this”.

While you can sit back, relax and enjoy David’s artistic food in Joburg, there are many more exciting projects always on the go for him. Make sure to keep an eye out for the launch of season two of ‘Cooking for a Cause’ where Dave shares his secrets on how to cook like a pro.