Animated chef cooks your dinner: 3D experience comes to Joburg

It’s likely you’ve come across a video or two of Dinner Time Story, an interactive projection mapping installation during which your table top comes to life with the story of Le Petit Chef. The immersive dining experience is the brainchild of two Belgian artists, Filip Sterckx and Antoon Verbeeck, and has gained worldwide success, opening pop-ups everywhere from China to Italy.

The first South African iteration is currently available for bookings at the Faircity Quartermain Hotel, with the hotel’s resident chef, Tristan Latouf, in charge of the six-course culinary offering. Eat Out reviewer Steve Steinfeld went to experience the tiny chef’s 3D culinary adventure.


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LE PETIT CHEF POPS-UP IN SA A 3D projection mapping extravaganza, Dinner Time Stories brings the tale of “Le Petit Chef” to life as he explores the silk route in the footsteps of Marco Polo. The six course dinner – there’s a course served at the end of each ‘chapter’ matched to the cuisine of the country explored – is a wonderful combination of sight, sound, flavour and dinner theatre. Adding a nice local twist the pairing option has each course paired with @oldroadwineco Wines from Franschhoek. The pop-up runs Thursday through Sunday at the Faircity Quartermain Hotel and tickets can be purchased via @computicketsouthafrica. Bookings open till 1 May! For more information check out @dinnertimestoriessa! #dinnertimestoriessa @faircity_hotels

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A storybook is placed before you and, once opened, the journey of the ‘smallest chef in the world’ comes to life on the page and across table tops with stunning animation, beautiful music and a twist on a classic story. As the globe-trotting character is lost at sea and battling swirling currents with rolling waves crashing across the table, an amuse bouche is served.

A storybook from Le Petit Chef. Photo by Steve Steinfeld.

The two-hour show takes diners on a trip across a rough ocean and through many countries as the projected chef explores the world, discovering new flavours and cuisines – which are then incorporated into the dishes served.When sand replaces water, you watch as the chef explores the deserts of Arabia and so on, the story progressing with each course. Multiple props also appear with each dish.

A storybook taking diners through the chef’s exploration. Photo by Steve Steinfeld.

The experience takes priority over the food, with the dishes serving as elements of the show rather than its main attraction. Menu highlights include the fragrant curry and korma (which arrives as intricate Indian prints and colourful spices dance across the table) and a palate cleanser of citrus sorbet, which wafts in on a cloud of dry ice smoke as the little chef explores the Himalayas. Dessert sees the pint-sized gastronome return to his French hometown and presenting a dessert that includes elements from all the places he visited, with a classic crème brûlée as the base. There’s also an option for a wine pairing, with wines from Franschhoek’s Old Road Wine Co.

The dessert with a crème brûlée base. Photo by Steve Steinfeld.

Bookings are currently open until 1 May and the dinner experience runs Thursdays to Saturdays. (There are also afternoon shows that take place on the weekend.) Tickets can be booked via Computicket, with adult entry costing R1225 (R1450 with wine) and R975 for children aged between eight and 12. Vegetarian, halaal-friendly and kosher-friendly options with or without seafood are also available on request.

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