RENOWNED CHEF BERTUS BASSON EMBRACES SA’S CULINARY HERITAGE
Acclaimed chef Bertus Basson – through his string of restaurants – embraces South Africa’s culinary heritage and diversity with tasteful twists on age-old recipes.
Bertus Basson needs little introduction among South African culinary culture – as a talented chef, restaurateur, entrepreneur, and TV personality, Basson kicked off his career at the tender age of 17. In 2005, Bertus began his first catering business, All Things Culinary.
South Africans might recognise Bertus from his appearances as a judge on Season 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the national cooking show Ultimate Braai Master, and from his regular appearances on Top Billing and Expresso.
With a food philosophy rooted in South African food culture, Bertus is acclaimed for operating several well-known restaurants – including Overture and The Deck in Hidden Valley Wine Estate, and Spek & Bone, Die Vrije Burger, and Eike in Stellenbosch in the Western Cape.
Bertus resides with his family in his Stellenbosch home, where with his wife, son, and soon-to-be-born daughter he prepares culinary delights; and in this family, even his pet dog and pig have contributed their names to one of Bertus’ restaurants; Spek and Bone.
“We spend most of our time in the kitchen”, explains Bertus. “We cook here, we have our friends here- this is really the heart of our home.”
Bertus collects ingredients from his own home, thanks to both a vegetable garden and an adjunct plot of land where chefs from his restaurant chains can collect freshly grown fruit and herbs.
“We’re very lucky”, says Bertus. “We managed to get a piece of land behind our house. We only planted vegetables and fruit trees – The chefs pop in in the morning and come and pick leaves and flowers for the restaurant.”
Bertus’ own chickens provide freshly laid eggs that adorn many a meal, which Bertus himself prefers to construct out of curiosity and reverence for South Africa’s colourful food heritage.
We have eleven official languages in South Africa – but we’ve got more cultures than that”, says Bertus. “The cool thing about being South Africa is that a lot of those cultures retained a big part of their food heritage.”
With fresh ingredients from the garden in hand, Bertus heads to work in his restaurant, Eike – house in a historic building in Dorp Street in Stellenbosch. Together with head chef Kyle Du Plooy, Bertus’ aim is to create dishes that celebrate South Africa’s food heritage.
“Here at Eike, we’re trying to give people the feeling of home – the feeling of South African cooking, and the feeling of what flavours they would have thought of growing up. We try to play on those memories”, says Kyle.
For Bertus and his talented team, tasting culture – and creating exciting twists on beloved South African recipes – is an excellent way to learn more about our nation’s vibrant and diverse heritage. By combining unorthodox ingredients and delivering interesting flavour combinations, Bertus’ work continues to delight palettes in South Africa and beyond.