• Africa’s emergence as a powerhouse of unique ingredients had garnered attention. At the forefront of this movement stood Chef Johannes Richter, whose German roots intertwined with his upbringing in South Africa, providing him with a nuanced perspective on the continent’s culinary renaissance. Richter, the mastermind behind The LivingRoom at Summerhill Guest Estate, offered insights into this transformative journey.

    Bucking trends, garnering accolades, or joining fads had never been his modus operandi. Instead, the ethos driving his restaurant was firmly rooted in sustainability and conservation.

    “When ‘The LivingRoom’ unveiled its doors in 2017, the vision was clear: to create a dining experience that harmonised with conscientious practices,” Richter explained. “From prioritising local sourcing to minimising carbon footprints, sustainability formed the bedrock of the establishment.”

    The road to sustainability was fraught with challenges, Richter acknowledged. “Despite strides made in solar energy adoption, the quest for sustainable ingredients remained paramount. Yet, amidst logistical hurdles, the resurgence of interest in indigenous African crops signaled a culinary renaissance.”

    Photo: Supplied

    “Centuries of knowledge lay dormant, compounded by limited academic research. Moreover, African ingredients lingered in the shadows of imported counterparts, though perceptions were gradually shifting.”

    On the menu of “The LivingRoom,” a diverse array of indigenous ingredients found their place,. “From amadumbe to amaThungulu, teff to sorghum, each ingredient celebrated Africa’s culinary diversity. The revival of ancient grains and exploration of native fungi and herbs underscored the depth of this culinary awakening.”

    Yet, the journey remained unfinished. “Seasonal constraints and the need for sustainable sourcing posed ongoing challenges. Nevertheless, the commitment to showcasing endemic produce persisted, whether on the menu or within the estate’s gardens.”

    Challenges fueled Richter’s determination. “As exploration into Africa’s culinary heritage deepened, the potential for discovery remained boundless.”

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    Feature image: Supplied