10 Sampson street
Kobus van Der Merwe, born in 1980 is surely a person out of the ordinary in the South African restaurant scene. He’s been compared to Renè Redzepi: exaggerated? Not really because Kobus works in a very similar way to the chef from Noma.
Born in the Kalahari Desert and raised on the West Coast, after working as web editor for Eat Out (the most famous culinary organisation in South Africa) and trying to attend catering school but without much determination, he returned to his true passion: living in the wild West Coast and cooking only with local products. Hence the simile.
Kobus uses weldkos, edible indigenous plants that local native people have been using for centuries. He’s the South African foraging man: he literally picks his ingredients from the surrounding nature. On top of vegetables, there’s seafood from the ocean: fish, oysters, sea urchins, and cattle.
Kobus started his career as alternative chef in the food store owned by his parents, Oep Ve Koep, in Paternoster, a lovely fishermen village a two hours’ drive from Cape Town. Given the success of his first experiment, he recently opened a new restaurant overlooking the ocean, Wolfgat, named after a grotto close to the restaurant. At Wolfgat there’s just a tasting menu with seven courses paired with local wines and booking it in advance is essential as the products are looked for and assembled, with a minimalist yet very elegant style, depending on the number of guests.
In 2014 Kobus won the Nederburg Rising Star Award at the Eat Out Awards. His best feature, however, is the fact he’s very discreet. In a world of star chefs, seeing Kobus’s authentic passion for nature and products is relaxing. In fact, between a meal service and the other he goes and has a swim in the ocean before returning to the kitchen.
Born in Venice though she then lived in Milan, in January 2010 she moved to Cape Town. In love with South Africa, her dream is to produce Prosciutto San Daniele here, sooner or later
Please fill in the fields below to search our Protagonists' database.
The view from restaurant Wolfgat in Paternoster, South Africa, winner of the Restaurant of the year award and the Off the map destination award in the first edition of the World Restaurant Awards, which took place in Paris on the 18th February (photo Sartor)
What were the best moments at Identità Milano 2017? We asked the curator and creator of the congress, Paolo Marchi (photo Brambilla-Serrani)
The entire South African gastronomic scene met on November 16th at the Thunder City in Cape Town, for the latest edition of the prize organized by Eat Out magazine