Tokara chef wins Haute Performance Award

Tokara executive chef, Carolize Coetzee.

Tokara restaurant’s executive chef, Carolize Coetzee, has won a Haute Performance Award as the most promising chef in the 2020 JHP Gourmet Guide.

Ms Coetzee won the award barely a year after taking over the kitchen brigade at Tokara, situated on the outskirts of Stellenbosch on the crest of the Helshoogte Pass.

The Haute Awards are given to chefs creating footprints in the restaurant industry.

“This young, determined and dedicated chef is talented and creative. Her thirst for knowledge and insatiable appetite for learning are admirable.

“She shows enormous potential for becoming a legendary chef. Watch this space,” is how Ms Coetzee is described in the newly released 2020 Gourmet Guide.

Her springbok loin recipe stands proud alongside those of other leading South African chefs in the annual guide, which awards one-, two- or three-plate ratings to deserving restaurants as well as recognising individual chefs.

Family recipes, heirloom ingredients and memories conjured up by food, are at the heart of Ms Coetzee’s cooking.

Through the lens of food memory, she takes diners on a memorable journey. The menu is interspersed with ingredients unique to the Simonsberg area of Stellenbosch, fresh produce growing in the Tokara Wine and Olive Estate’s organic vegetable garden, and playful flavour combinations.

“My aim is for my food to have a real sense of place and that our guests should leave with an indelible impression of our restaurant at the foot of the Simonsberg Mountain.

“That impression should not only concern the food, wine, views and architecture, but the joy and enthusiasm of all the people cooking, serving and cleaning behind the scenes,” shares Ms Coetzee.

Earlier this year, she spent a three-week stage at Cosme in New York, ranked 23rd in the world by the World’s 50 Best Restaurants, where she worked alongside Chef Daniela Soto-Innes, the 2019 World’s Best Female Chef.