Meet Ocean Basket’s innovation chef

Eat Out spoke to Junelle Germishuizen about her role as an innovation chef at Ocean Basket and why it’s essential to the business.

What is an “innovation chef”?

An innovation chef is a passionate individual that has spent some time in the kitchen not only as a chef but as a manufacturer of products for the market. It’s a chef who doesn’t create blindly but considers cost, seasonality, operational limitations and skills when creating a menu item.

Why should restaurants consider employing someone in this role?

The experience of such an individual creates credibility among the (in our case) franchisees, and directly impacts and elevates the customer experience.

What do your daily responsibilities entail?

I create new menu ideas, research new product solutions, work closely with the training department to align the way we upskill our crew, and work at understanding the nutritional values of our meals and the allergens involved.


How did you become an innovation chef?

A need for finding the next best flavour or recipe or teaching a new skill has always been my drive. Innovation is effortless for me.

If someone wanted to become an innovation chef, what would you recommend they study or train in? What traits should they possess?

They should gain a holistic understanding of the industry. A restaurant chef is one thing, innovation is another. It involves leadership and experience in different environments. You need time, patience and experience in several different types of food-related jobs. Once you have worked in a few areas of the industry, you will be able to understand your clients’ needs more fully.

What are your favourite parts of this job?

My favourite part is seeing people’s expressions when they taste a new dish. The exhilaration that a good flavour leaves in your mouth, a lasting memory…

What do you find the most challenging?

The most challenging part is engaging with teammates around the wild, creative part of the innovation. We tend to be a little crazy.

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