CRUSH CHATS TO Charl Coetzee
Chef at Spier's Eight Restaurant
Tell us a bit about yourself and why a career in the kitchen was for you?
I’m 36 years old, from Cape Town. I left school at 15 and started in the kitchen at 16. I love all kinds of food and especially that we feel like eating certain foods for different moods. The constant change in food and availability keeps cooking interesting.
Eight restaurant is unique in its approach to food; tell us a little bit about this and the ethos behind it…
Responsible, sustainable and ethical farming are what we focus on in the selection of ingredients that we use. When it comes to cooking we want the natural flavour to shine through, so simplicity is key.
Are you able to request specific produce or is it a case of using what is ready from the gardens?
With two restaurants onsite, we use up what comes out of the garden fairly quickly. We then source what we need from local producers with the same ethics and standards that we believe in.
Eight is very specific about the kind of food produced – i.e. sustainable, local, seasonal. Are your patrons savvy when it comes to this?
To be honest many of our patrons are not that aware of it, but we are educating people as we go forward.
Are there specific challenges when it comes to snout-to-tail cooking?
The biggest challenge is that often only small amounts of certain parts of the animal are available, and when it’s done, it’s done. So there needs to be room to be flexible in the menu.
Food trends are always changing, do you think this move towards more responsible eating is here to stay?
Ethically you would be hard-pressed to find people from any spectrum that are not concerned for animal welfare, sustainable farming, water conservation and supporting small local producers. In restaurants it’s definitely here to stay, but there is a way to go before these food products are affordable for everyday shoppers to prepare at home.
Eight is open for lunch and dinner, are the menus different for each sitting?
Yes, lunch is a more hearty fare with generous portions of fresh food full of great flavour. For the dinner sitting we serve food to share – tapas style – offering loads of variety. People are encouraged to try many different things.
Is there an Eight signature dish?
No, there really isn’t a signature dish because the availability of ingredients changes. Our signature is tasty, ethically sourced food!
What is the future for Eight?
To push forward with new ideas and concepts for sustainability and to share our passion for delicious food with everyone who visits us.
Spier has a new restaurant opening at the hotel; can you give us a sneak preview into this?
Head Chef for Spier Hotel Lorianne Heyns is unbelievably passionate and creative in her cooking; it’s definitely going to be beautiful. With the Diva of Delicious at the helm you know the flavours will be incredible!