With an organic, raw approach and ever-evolving culinary style, Chef Alex Webber of Workshop 55 in Parktown North is dedicated to the creation of unique dishes that contribute to exceptionally memorable dining experiences.
A recent event at the restaurant had Chef Alex hosting a group of foodies, serving dishes inspired by the selection of products in the PEPPADEW® range. “Just like many South Africans, I was familiar with the bright red, sweet and crunchy peppers we all know and love, that are commonly, but mistakenly, referred to as ‘peppadews’. In the process, I discovered that there is, in fact, no such a thing as ‘a peppadew’, and that the ingredient I’ve worked with for so many years is, in fact, a piquanté pepper” says Alex. “I was also surprised by the variety of products in the PEPPADEW® range, which inspired the menu for the evening, including the jalapenos and variety of delicious atchars.”
Chef Alex’s menu featured a spring garden salad and a white fish goujon dish based on the flavour profile of PEPPADEW® Hot Mango Atchar. “Aside from the piquanté peppers, I was most excited to work with the atchars. I found that these products elevated the flavours of the other ingredients and paired well with every element of each dish. These premium quality products are of an exceptional quality and need very little preparation before being added to a dish,” comments Alex.
Soon after its inception in September 2015, Alex filled the position of Executive Chef at Workshop 55, a Parktown North hotspot that does things a little differently. Combining the very best of finely crafted drinks and locally and internationally influenced food, served in a laid-back setting, the artfully decorated venue offers a selection of exclusive dishes, paired with deliciously infused craft gins. In alignment with its distinctive vibe and carefully curated menu, there’s also a unique take on ordering at this establishment. For a flat fee of R245, diners can choose three tapas-style dishes from the menu, or order individually at R90 per dish.
“Fine dining is about presenting multiple taste experiences, elegant and skilfully constructed, to a guest within a formal environment. At Workshop 55, we’ve stripped this concept down to the basics, and what’s left behind is a down-to-earth experience that focusses on top-quality ingredients above all else. Our offering allows guests to savour multiple flavours during a sitting, enjoyed in the comfort of a more casual, social environment,” Alex concludes.
Commenting on his experience of cooking with PEPPADEW® products, Chef Alex says he was pleasantly surprised at the versatility of the products. “A favourite dish at this event turned out to be the Chocolate Tart: A set chocolate ganache, infused with PEPPADEW® Sweet Piquanté Peppers and served with pistachio ice cream, rosemary and berry coulis. The Workshop 55 team and I had been brainstorming ways of evolving our current chocolate tart dish, and the addition of piquanté peppers was the idea that stuck! I found that the natural, sweet flavours of the pepper matched perfectly with the ganache.”
Workshop 55 has an impressive collection of gins. According to Chef Alex, gin has some wonderful aromatics that can be paired well with flavours in food and he has found that pairing the palette of a gin works best: A sweeter gin may better suit sweet flavours. Similarly, spicy gin can work well with a smoked dish, or even something like chocolate.
To find out more about Workshop 55’s unique offering, visit www.workshop55.co.za