SA Chef Earns 1st Michelin Star Abroad

A South African chef who owns and runs his own restaurant in Nice, France, has been awarded a Michelin Star.

Chef Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen, who is patron of Restaurant Jan in Nice, received the star as part of French Michelin guide’s 2016 awards. Michelin announced its French 2016 list in Paris on Monday, and JAN, as the restaurant is named, got its first star.

Jan was voted as one of the best restaurants in the world by Conde Nast Traveller in 2015, which praised its “healthy modern cooking” inspired by van der Westhuizen’s grandmother.

The Michelin Guides are a series of annual books published by the Michelin tyre company which awards Michelin stars for excellence.

Inspectors for the group are completely anonymous, and the awarded stars are sought-after by chefs the world over for the prestige they convey.

Originally from Middelburg, Van der Westhuizen studied culinary arts and applied design in Stellenbosch, after which he worked for food publications both locally and abroad. It is during this time that he happened upon the concept of adapting and serving South African favourites like melktert and biltong to audiences in Europe.

Subsequent accolades include a spot on a list of the World’s 15 Best Restaurants (as curated by Condé Nast Traveler), as well as recommendations by the New York Times and Gault et Millau restaurant guide, the press release says.

Van der Westhuizen was recently joined by South African chefs Kevin Grobler and Rutger Eysvogel, who now form part of the international award-winning team at JAN.

He has published a recipe book, The French Affair, which received the Gourmand World Cookbook Award in the Best French Cuisine Cookbook in the South African category, and is now publishing JAN – A Breath of French Air.

To put the achievement into perspective, the guide features a total of 600 Michelin-star restaurants, 26 rated three stars, 82 two stars and 492 one star.

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