For a while, Grégory Czarnecki thought his calling was in economics and politics, but just three months at university squelched that dream.
His passion for food and what he calls "the art of the table" was nurtured at his French grandmother’s house and he knew it was his calling after he spent a week working at a restaurant "for free, just to clear my mind".
Last week Czarnecki was named Eat Out Chef of the Year, making his Waterkloof Wine Estate "restaurant in the sky" just outside Somerset West a go-to destination for foodies.
In 2015, the restaurant — famous for its 10m high glass promontory looking out to the Schapenberg and with views over False Bay — placed sixth on Eat Out’s top 10 restaurant list.
The menu at Waterkloof remains loyal to Czarnecki’s French roots and training, and offers some of the best food and wine pairings in SA.
Czarnecki’s summer menu will be a culinary delight for regulars and visitors to the Cape this Christmas.
For starters, look out for Egg 63, a dish with egg yolk cooked at 63°C, duck skin crumble, Tête de Moine cheese and an onion cream.
For mains there’s the Joostenberg Vlakte duck breast with saffron apple and glazed turnip, and a Mauritius seabass with Saldanha mussels. And Czarnecki’s famous Carmay quail with cabbage gateau is still on the restaurant menu.