Executive chef Tronette Dippenaar has upped sticks and moved from The Marine in Hermanus to The Conservatory restaurant at The Cellars-Hohenort in Cape Town. Both hotels are in The Liz McGrath Collection.
The appointment is a continuation of her career within the collection, which started in 2008 when she first joined the group as Chef de Partie at The Marine in Hermanus. Over the past 13 years she has come up through the ranks, having worked at each of the three sister-hotels – The Plettenberg in Plettenberg Bay being the third.
Tronette says her food philosophy is that ‘fresh is ALWAYS better’. “My menu is uncomplicated and unpretentious, and my dishes are full of flavour,” says Tronette. “I stay true to South African cuisine, which I like to present with a modern twist. Growing up on a farm gave me a deep appreciation of produce and where it comes from, including the time and effort invested into growing nutritious vegetables and fruit.”
Speaking about the move from the slower-paced Hermanus stalwart, she says she would like to work with The Liz McGrath Collection for many years to come. “This was the next logical step in my career, as I have worked collective eight years at The Marine hotel and also three years at The Plettenberg hotel.
“I have always been up for a challenge and at The Cellars-Hohenort I will be tried and tested in other areas of running a kitchen that is busier that the precious ones I have worked in. Every challenge makes me grow as a Chef and as a person.”
Her favourite dish on the menu is the meaty Taste of the Overberg, comprising slow braised lamb shoulder, grilled cutlet of lamb, and pulled leg of lamb.
She brings to the table, she says, “good food… dishes that are uncomplicated, unpretentious and full of flavour”.
Ultimately, Tronette aims to make a guest’s visit to the beautiful hotel and restaurant all about the full experience. “From the moment they enter the gate to the time they leave must be most enjoyable, because I truly believe people will forget what you do, they will even forget what you say, but they will never forget the way you made them feel.”
Tronette has other tricks up her sleeve, and she is introducing a sugar-free high tea for a some guilt-free indulgence.
Enjoy her food this October as The Conservatory joins Restaurant Week, this time around celebrated over a full month. Book lunch or dinner at a special rate.
Review by Lorraine Kearney