La Petite Ferme, the renowned manor house and vineyard suites on the Franschhoek Pass and member of The Nest Collection, has appointed a talented new head chef. Odette Olivier comes with a wealth of local and international experience and is set to re-invigorate the dining experience at one of the Cape’s most scenic locations.
From its mountainside perch at the very top of the Franschhoek Valley, the restaurant enjoys unrestricted views that are shared with the property’s intimate luxury suites.
Odette will oversee and implement the menu design and provide oversight of the restaurant. A cornerstone of the offering is a seasonal menu showcasing quality produce from the Franschhoek region.
“I enjoy creating from South African heritage dishes, employing a mix of cooking methods like smoking, pickling and fermenting,” she says. She adds that menu planning always starts with the desserts “because of my sweet tooth”, implying that every dining experience at La Petite Ferme is guaranteed to end on a high note.
The motivation behind each dish stems from the origins of La Petite Ferme itself, delivering country cuisine with a fresh contemporary touch.
The underlying philosophy behind La Petite Ferme’s boutique experience made it a perfect fit for The Nest Collection, says The Nest Collection co-founder Riaan Kruger.
The network functions as a collective and is specifically geared as a post-pandemic operation. It brings experienced hospitality insight and collaboration to an industry transformed by dramatically transformed customer needs.
The Nest Collection partners with independently owned boutique establishments in key geographical areas countrywide, providing the full benefits of centralised management resources and travel planning.
La Petite Ferme, which is the first boutique establishment member of The Nest Collection is also one of Franschhoek’s longest-running restaurants that was established in 1986.
“The location is simply stunning,” says Odette. “Working in this environment, with a great team, is truly energising.”
She was raised in Cape Town, deciding at school already that she wanted to become a chef. “The cosmopolitan city’s culture, tradition and trends laid the foundation for my love of food,” she says.
From this emerged her commitment to local ingredients, open mindedness and the constant pursuit of knowledge.
“I will always respect tradition set by great chefs, but I do not shy away from breaking the mould,” she says. “The joy and adrenaline that comes from creating something new is unparalleled!”
Her interest was first piqued at a young age, in a home where cooking was generally considered a chore – but not to her, she declares.
She completed a culinary diploma at hospitality school and began her career at the Africa-inspired Marimba restaurant, under Lindsay Venn. Venn was a hard taskmaster, she says, but he forced her to push boundaries.
She ascribes this foundation to the “unforgettable” opportunities that followed. “I had the privilege of being part of opening teams at amongst others Cape Royale Hotel in Green Point, De Grendel Wine Estate in Plattekloof and Silvan Safari Lodge.
More recently, she was involved with Holland America Line and hosting live cooking classes for America’s Test Kitchen.
Now at La Petite Ferme, Odette looks forward to building on the property’s great culinary and hospitality tradition.
The restaurant at La Petite Ferme is currently open for lunch Saturdays and Sundays from 12:00 to 15:00; and, dinner seven days a week from 18:00 to 21:00.