The word buffet often has negative connotations that can taint even the most delicious cuisine. The African Pride Irene Country Lodge has revamped its buffet and now offers a central live-action cooking station to diners. With chefs on hand to cook up pasta, fish or stirfry to a guest’s liking, or just to explain the items on offer, the result is an innovative answer to rows of chafing dishes and soggy plates of salad.

Newly appointed executive chef Leon van Deventer and his team have created a full sensory culinary experience at the lodge that matches the venue’s historical natural charm and modern luxury.

Chef Leon has been working hard behind the scenes under the guidance of a 2 Star International Michelin chef to refresh and align the offerings to international standards that match its 5 star sister establishments.

“African Pride Irene Country Lodge is one of the country’s best kept secrets,” says Chef Leon. “Famous for its Sunday lunch, we’ve disposed of the buffet, and have introduced live action stations. This food concept titillates all the senses, making the culinary experience all the richer,” explains Chef Leon.

Individual portions of interesting salads wait on ice, ready for collection as guests start to explore the square station in the centre of the room. They’re served together with cold fish dishes that are presented on small platters that are replenished regularly. Moving further down, there’s a build-your-own salad station, with chefs on hand to help assemble, and then a classic Caesar salad is served in a Parmesan wheel, next to the bread selection, salad dressings and pesto-style sauces.

For the mains, there’s a selection of vegetables, starches and curries, served alongside a pork and beef roast which are sliced to order. Around the corner, you’ll find the pasta and fish station where pasta is cooked and sauced, and fish is grilled, to order. Finally, there’s a stirfry section where guests choose their vegetables and proteins, which are then stirfried in front of them. For pudding, individual portions of malva pudding, lemon meringue and brownies are placed to the side of beautiful-looking cakes which are, again, sliced for the guest as they choose which ones they’d like.

The live action cooking stations are available for dinner from Thursday – Saturday, and for lunch on Sunday. For more information, visit http://www.irenecountrylodge.co.za/

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