• Innovative Izulu Hotel chef Guy Gorrie takes on the Big Five of gastronomy – taste, aroma, texture, succulence and presentation.

    By Ingrid Casson

    fha201261895436After studying at the Christina Martin Culinary School in Durban, Guy Gorrie moved to England, where he was offered a string of internships at famous restaurants like River Café, Le Trompet and The Ivy. “Working at Michelin-starred restaurants taught me the fundamental basics, which is so important when building a fine dining menu,” he says.

    Having honed his skills overseas, Guy is now the executive chef at Hotel Izulu in the lush, tropical setting of Ballito in KwaZulu-Natal. “It was the first hotel that caught my eye when I returned from London,” he says. “It’s such a gorgeous hotel and Ballito is great – it’s small, away from the city and on the beach – all the thingsI love. Fortunately for me they were looking for a chef, and I got the job!”

    The merging of Tuscan, African and Balinese decor makes Hotel Izulu a haven away from the city buzz. Surrounded by cooling gardens, the open lounge and outdoor spaces create a comfortable feet-up feel for guests. Suites offer Indian Ocean views, including the Villa Ingelosi with its own bar, dining area, personal deck and Jacuzzi. The Impilo beauty spa soothes away stress using Clarins and TheraVine products.

    Guy spearheads the kitchen at the hotel’s elegant Gigi’s Brasserie. Here he uses his classical training to create dishes like truffled cauliflower soup, mushroom and Parma ham ravioli and “best of oxtail”, with seasonal specials scribbled on the restaurant mirror. The result is a bustling and often fully booked restaurant. Guests can also dine in their own suite, in the underground wine cellar or at Guy’s chef’s table in the kitchen while watching the chefs in action.

    Guy is adamant about operating in a greener, eco-friendly environment and is passionate about seasonal produce. He uses local ingredients wherever possible and plucks organic herbs and veggies from his garden, including watercress, artichokes and unusual herbs. “It’s great to have access to ingredients that people can’t usually source,” he says, “it makes the dish all the more special.”

    For reservations and more information, visit www.hotelizulu.com.

    By Christopher Laurenz