Stephanie de Wet was fortunate to grow up on a farm just outside of Swellendam where her father has a small dairy, raises sheep and grows some grains. This is where she came to appreciate nature and the role that farmers play.
“I will never give up my time growing up on a farm for anything. I think that it is so special, especially being a chef, knowing where produce comes from.” She is in awe of all the time, effort and care that goes into every single phase of the cycle that ultimately produces the best product for consumers.
She studied at The Hurst Campus (previously know as TCA- The Culinary Academy) when they were situated on Backsberg Wine Estate near to Paarl. There she completed a 18 month culinary course and a 12 month Hotel and Wine course.
She did her first in-house training as a restaurant manager at Chamonix Wine Estate in Franschhoek and then went on to complete her chef course at TCA.
This followed with in-house training for 6 months with Chef Ryan Shell at Haute Cabriere Restaurant in Franschhoek. She stayed on at the restaurant for another year and a half as Chef de partie.
Stephanie decided it was time to spread her wings and decided to attend a 6 month International chef internship, done through Awesome Work and Travel in Mauritius, working at the Maritim Hotel.
On returning to South Africa, she worked for a short while as a Chef de partie at The Foodbarn Restaurant in Noordhoek Farm Village under Chef Franck Dangereux from Cannes.
It was a very short experience because she was offered the position as a Senior Chef de partie at Simonsig Wine Estate at the Cuvee Restaurant in Stellenbosch. She worked there for four and a half years, having been Executive Head Chef for the last 3 years.
As of 01 September 2019, she is the Executive Head Chef at Tokara Delicatessen.
Stephanie decided to become a chef because she absolutely LOVES working with food, fresh produce, experimenting in the kitchen and creating new dishes. “I have been in the kitchen since I was very small, baking cakes and cookies. I feel like the creative side in me just comes out. I can really not imagine being anything other than a chef.”
Her favourite vegetable? “Such a difficult decision to make…I want to say just the old potato because it is so very versatile. You can make anything from baked potato, mashed potato, crispy chips…and you can make Vodka from it too, BUT I have to say that tender stem broccoli will be the winner. It is just such a nice veggie, especially when sautéed in a pan with butter and garnished with some toasted almond flakes.”
Stephanie always strives to do her best and ensures that whoever eats her dishes really enjoys every bite. “I absolutely LOVE chocolate and coconut.”
“I am very family orientated and I enjoy spending time with my family, always having a huge braai and just catching up. I also love being out in nature.”
One of her favourite recipes is an easy Buttermilk and Blueberry pancakes served with bacon (for breakfast)
- 1 ½ cup cake flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tbsp castor sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 ½ cup buttermilk
- ½ cup milk
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp butter – melted
Just add everything together, mix it up, add a few fresh blueberries and then bake in a semi-hot pan with some butter. Enjoy with bacon and a cup of coffee 😊
Over the years Cuvee Restaurant has ordered a variety of vegetables, herbs and edible flowers from Mason Farming. This has included baby rainbow carrots, baby beetroot (candy, gold and red), baby leeks, baby spring onion, baby French Breakfast radish, baby Easter egg radish, baby white icicle radish, baby watermelon radish, French bean trilogy, 5 star salad mix, 10 star salad mix, herb mix, baby gem lettuces, Swiss rainbow chard, scarlet kale, nero kale, flat leaf kale, baby spinach, red cherry tomatoes, yellow pear tomatoes, wild rocket, sweet rocket, red frilly mustard, green frilly mustard, Italian flat parsley, coriander and edible sweet mix flowers (violas, dianthus, calendula)
Visit their website: www.simonsig.co.za