Onderstok: how Stellenbosch chefs are shaking up its flourishing food scene

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The Stellenbosch winelands, long lauded for its wines, is welcoming a new kind of collaboration onto the scene. Onderstok, a pioneering alliance of Stellenbosch chefs, has been established with the purpose of fostering creativity and pushing the boundaries of culinary innovation.


Onderstok Instagram

Spearheaded by chefs Shaun Scrooby of VUUR Restaurant and Bertus Basson, Onderstok brings together a formidable group of chefs, including seven Eat Out award winners. The organization’s name, which translates to ‘rootstock’ in Afrikaans, reflects its commitment to building a strong foundation for culinary excellence in the region.


Chefs Shaun Scrooby and Bertus Basson.

“Onderstok is Afrikaans for rootstock, the mostly subterranean part of a vine onto which grape varieties are grafted,” explains Bertus. “As with food, a good result requires a good foundation and Onderstok will be our seedbed. Onderstok will foster creativity, knowledge sharing, and excellence among culinary professionals.”

The alliance offers a unique platform for both established and aspiring chefs. Onderstok will host regular member meetings featuring presentations on new techniques, philosophies, and innovative approaches to food. Additionally, high-profile culinary conferences and workshops with international representation are planned.

“Stellenbosch is bursting with creative chef talent,” says Shaun, a world traveller who has brought his fire-cooking expertise to Remhoogte Estate and has recently launched his second dining experience – VUUR Goose Island. “The region has some of the most innovative chefs not only in the country, but Africa as a whole. The richness of our local produce and the dynamism of our community position us perfectly to lead Africa’s culinary conversation.”


Onderstok goes beyond simply sharing knowledge. With its focus on mentorship, the alliance aims to inspire and cultivate the next generation of South African culinary talents. Chefs de partie and sous chefs will have opportunities to learn from the established figures within Onderstok. The initiative promises to add a new dimension to Stellenbosch’s food offering. The chefs say to expect to see a continued focus on innovation and a celebration of local produce as these chefs exchange ideas and push each other to even greater heights.

“With Onderstok, we set the stage for Stellenbosch to be synonymous with not only exquisite wines but also unparalleled gastronomic excellence,” concludes Shaun. Onderstok’s dedication to collaboration and its focus on nurturing talent positions Stellenbosch as a hotbed of culinary excellence and creativity. This promises a delicious future for South African food.

In addition to Shaun and Bertus, chefs attending the inaugural meeting were:

  • Fabio Daniel from Rust en Vrede (Eat Out two stars)
  • PJ Vadas from Vadas Smokehouse & Bakery
  • Lucas Carstens from Cavalli Restaurant (Eat Out one star)
  • Marthinus Ferreira from Jordan Restaurant with Marthinus Ferreira (Eat Out two stars)
  • Drikus Brink from Clara’s Barn and Geuwels
  • Mike Fuller from Spek & Bone (Eat Out two stars)
  • Daniël Oosthuizen from Eike and Kantien Restaurants (Eat Out one star)
  • Marcus Gericke from Chorus Restaurant (Eat Out one star)
  • Jess van Dyk from Post & Pepper (Eat Out one star)
  • Callan Austin from Dusk Restaurant and Nocturne (Eat Out three stars)
  • Paul Prinsloo from Gåte Restaurant at Quoin Rock
  • Matt van den Berg from MERTIA Restaurant
  • Garth Bedford from Joostenberg Bistro and De Kraal
  • Cornelle Minie from Weltevreden and B-Collection
  • Carolize Caarstens née Coetzee from Tokara Restaurant
  • Marco Cardoso from Die Eetkamer

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