La Colombe sous chef to open her own fine-dining restaurant in Franschhoek

Scot Kirton, the Executive Chef of the La Colombe group of restaurants, visited the Eat Out offices earlier this week and spoke to us exclusively about their newest venture in the heart of Franschhoek the Western Cape.

Charné Sampson. Image supplied, by Claire Gunn.

The new restaurant called Epice (pronounced eh-peace) under the leadership of Scot and James Gaag, La Colombe’s executive chef, will join the group of multi-award-winning restaurants  – La Colombe, Foxcroft, La Petite Colombe and Protégé. 

“The menu will revolve around spices, but that doesn’t necessarily mean spicy hot – think of vanilla and saffron or cinnamon and nutmeg, too,” says Scot. 

Taking the lead in the kitchen is Charné Sampson – until recently, sous chef at La Colombe, the Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Number 3 restaurant in South Africa for 2018. Charné trained at Silwood School of Cookery, and throughout her career has gained experience in some of South Africa’s top kitchens such as The Restaurant at Waterkloof, Myoga and The Test Kitchen. 

We asked Charné about this new chapter in her career, “I am so excited about this incredible opportunity to grow under the guidance of Scot and James… it is a dream come true for me, and I look forward to working in the beautiful Franschhoek valley.” 

The menu is still under development, but we got a few hints from Scot. Some of the internationally-inspired items on the menu come from a recent trip Scot and James took to India with Charné. The menu also evokes memories of their travels through Spain, Japan, Mexico, Denmark and the US. 

Charné Sampson. Image supplied, by Claire Gunn.

We were very excited to hear about the table-side palate cleanser course, to be served from a trolley decked out in a selection of sorbets. Diners can select their own sorbet but how will we be able to choose only one? 

Epice opens at the end of November. Keep an eye on Eat Out as we bring you all the latest restaurant news and reviews. 

Follow Charné and Epice’s progress online and on Facebook and Instagram.


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