A former Noma chef brings travelling pop-up to South Africa


James learnt the ropes at Tom Aitkins, before departing for Noma, where he cooked with the world’s best. Pictured here: an onion dish from the Vietnam pop-up. Photo supplied.

Setting up one restaurant is enough for most chefs, but chef James Sharman and his crew set their sights on a bigger goal: they’re hosting 20 pop-up restaurants in 20 months, each in a different country around the world. And, for their eighth stop, they’re coming to Cape Town.

Called One Star House Party, the restaurant will be open for dinner in a private residence in Woodstock from 26 April until 11 May, with one seating available per evening. Seating 50 diners, the Air BnB apartment will set the scene for a seven-course tasting menu which will exalt local ingredients. As for the menu, it’ll remain a secret until opening night, but will likely feature twists on local dishes.

James and his team have some stellar credentials to their names: Noma (the former number one in the world) and top London restaurants, The Ledbury and Tom Aitkens. They’ve already visited China, Vietnam, Thailand, Oman, Kenya – and, most unusually, set up a restaurant at the Everest Base Camp in Nepal to cook for the sherpas. Next month they’re off to Florence.

How is it all funded? According to the New York Times, the chefs themselves are unpaid – and often haggle for ingredients at local markets – but planning periodic events on a grander scale help to bankroll the other events.

Tickets are $85 US each (around R1 100, at the time of writing) and available online. Guests are asked to BYOB. The team is also on the lookout for young chefs who would like to apply to intern for a pop-up in a different country. In Cape Town, young chefs from Scotland and Australia will assist. Apply here.

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