A breath of French air

Who would think I would need that … French air. ‘Need’ is maybe a too overpowering word and in my surroundings… in beautiful Stellenbosch … the air is crispy fresh, who needs French? There are many outstanding Bordeaux styled wines in this part of South Africa, we’ve got some great French cheeses and our Champagne…oh sorry our MCC … wow there is no Frenchman that can complain about our bubbly.

Ach, we know the French, very chauvinistic about a lots of things.
But now the French can and are allowed to brag, they have a new Michelin star restaurant … a South African star…

Walking through one of the bookshops, my eye catches a cookbook. I start browsing through it and look at the beautiful pictures. JAN it said on the cover…the design looks fab and is totally my taste. I know through social media that it is written by a South African Chef…

A few minutes later my husband is behind me… saw me interested and said: “Astrid you are not going to buy another cookbook are you?” To which my answer was… ”But you know I read them, maybe I’ll never find the courage to make one of the recipes, but this one is so gorgeous and it’s inspired by South African food….and another nice detail… Darling Jan, this Jan can cook”! And it is also a beautiful addition to my collection next to all the others…

I didn’t buy…

As things turn out in my life… I got an invitation to go to a meeting at the Private Hotel School where Jan van der Westhuizen, the famous chef, writer and photographer of this cookbook, is going to talk about his life … his carrier… and his Michelin star restaurant JAN in Nice, France. I love stories about farmer sons, people who know real life … dreaming their dreams… and in his case… making them true.

Stories about moms and grandma’s that make traditional dishes, picnics on Persian carpets and creating an atmosphere with antiques from the ‘brocante’. Food that goes with a special memory… the petrol station pie that probably belongs to the time that he was a student and travelled between de Western Cape and Mpumalanga… driving through the Karoo underneath a sky full of stars, dreaming and mind traveling.

He catches a star, a Michelin one ‘nogal’ … he attracts people from all over the world to have A Breath of French Air… a sip of South Africa … in a place where a name as simple as JAN connects the spices of the world, the love for food and extreme beauty … See where hard work, an eye for detail and a passion for food can bring you…

I hope it will bring me one day to Nice and if not… I will start with cooking something simple… because I couldn’t resist and bought his latest cookbook.
So who knows maybe one of these days there will be a favorite recipe from his book on my website… if you can’t wait… visit his website

Even reading recipes can be very exciting…

 Click to view website