Chef on tour: Tjaart Walraven

Tjaart Walraven

A private chef, an entertainer, a consultant and an educator, Cape-based Chef Tjaart Walraven is also more recently known as a judge on The Great South African Bake Off . An intrepid traveller,  he tells us about his recent Swiss adventure…

I made a trip to Switzerland last year in April (spring) for pure pleasure – it is definitely one of the countries closest to my heart. The extreme seasons within a year are incredible: lush summers in pristine green; white winters with a dash of skiing – utter happiness!  

Tjaart Walraven Swiss adventure

Culture shock –

Being a traveler in places like Switzerland, you soon realise our appetite for meat is somewhat extreme, which makes us fortunate to have so much more for less. If we endured meat costs like they do in Switzerland, we would be broke more often than not or we’d just not eat meat. The price of beef is nearly 15 times more expensive; topped with our ZA rand, you won’t be eating much beef here.

Favourite local holiday destination in SA –

I do enjoy going up to Plett for a sneaky weekend away. However, the charm lies in the beautiful lodge I stay at: Lairds Lodge Country Estate has the most sumptuous rooms, public spaces with roaring fires, food to yearn for along with a great selection of wine and gin. Then the service, well – it’s all about a phenomenal experience.

Favourite food spot in SA –

Mmm, I am too moody of an eater really to have a singular spot I always visit. There is some great local spots on my door step but I let my tummy tell me what I want and go in search of that type of food or cuisine. The Cape Winelands is always a good excuse to find it all. Actually, somewhere serving a Sunday roast – I’ll be there, at that place!

Weirdest food ever eaten –

To some it’s not really adventurous but frogs legs and horsemeat is my off the wall food items. Oh, I have done quite a few insects, if that counts!

Travel tips –

Research where you are going, have 70% planned and figure out the rest when you get there. Always pack what you need and not what you think you may need. Never be shy to try talk in the local tongue, you’ll end up going so much further in experiencing the culture and finding the hidden local treasures.

Read more about Chef Tjaart Walraven’s adventure in the February 2017 issue of Food & Home.

Compiled by Anzelle Hattingh. Images supplied. 

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