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Dead heat: The winners of the 2018 Eat Out Graham Beck Chefs’ Chef Award are…

The 2018 Eat Out Graham Beck Chefs’ Chef, voted for by the chefs at each of the 30 nominated restaurants, has two winners in a first-ever tie. Here are the two deserving recipients who are being cheered on by their fellow chefs.

Chris Erasmus of Foliage

His Franschhoek restaurant, Foliage, might be surrounded by a slew of buzzing winelands eateries, but his triumphant foraged cuisine and unbridled passion is what sets chef Chris Erasmus apart.

Chef Chris Erasmus. Photo supplied.

Fellow chefs admire Chris for his environment-driven cuisine that shows a lot of heart. “He embodies the kitchen and restaurant environment in every way,” says Darren Badenhorst of Le Coin Français, who also admires Chris’s devotion to charity work while running a restaurant kitchen. “Chris is one of those rare selfless chefs; he is the first to help and offer his time and expertise. Teamwork, sharing of knowledge and passion are all things that come to mind when I think of this foraging champion chef,” he adds. Chef Christiaan Campbell of The Werf Restaurant agrees: “He’s a passionate chef whose heart is set on food, working with nature
and the community.”

David Schneider of Chefs Warehouse at Maison praises the Foliage chef for his knowledge, care and skill that result in dishes where wild ingredients loom large. “He is also a chef who profoundly gives a damn about the world that surrounds him,” says David.

One of Chris’s desserts at Foliage. Photo supplied.

Dishes like barbecued pumpkin with sprouts and spring onion; guinea fowl with chicken liver parfait; and caramelia délice with peanut-butter mousse and cannabis-leaf marshmallow showcase the chef’s field-to-fork philosophy. It’s all about “good integration of nature, which leads to a modern style of cooking,” adds Jürgen Schneider of Springfontein Eats.

Ivor Jones of Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia

Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia burst onto the scene – and the Top 10 – in 2017. Praised for his punchy food and seamless run of the kitchen, Ivor Jones has been earmarked by his peers as a chef’s champion.

Chef Ivor Jones of Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia. Photo by Claire Gunn

“Ivor has always been a rockstar in the kitchen, and I truly feel it is time he is acknowledged for his contribution to award-winning, innovative and exciting cuisine,” says Henry Vigar of La Mouette, who dines regularly at the restaurant.

The chef, who worked under both Luke Dale-Roberts and Scot Kirton at La Colombe and more recently as head chef at The Test Kitchen, partnered with Liam Tomlin in 2016 to begin his journey as co-owner and head chef of the restaurant. Ivor’s knowledge of flavours is reflected in the exciting tapas-style set menu that has become synonymous with the Chefs Warehouse brand. Chef Peter Tempelhoff of Greenhouse praises Ivor’s hard work and no-nonsense attitude: “Great chef, super consistent, no politics.”  Wesley Randles of The Shortmarket Club agrees: “He’s a badass!”

A dish by Ivor Jones of Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia. Photo by Claire Gunn

Dining at Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia, with sunset views over the vineyards, you might be treated to an explosion of flavour in dishes like Thai sour curry with fermented lime or umami-laced risotto with oyster mushrooms. Chef Michael Cooke of Camphors at Vergelegen is also a fan, describing Ivor as “a down-to-earth chef who holds nothing back in his food. He punches bold flavour and shows confidence in his techniques.”

See all the winners of the 2018 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards.

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