The Restaurant at Grande Provence in Franschhoek has a new executive chef – Guy Bennett. Taking over the reins from Chef Darren Badenhorst, who will be opening up his own restaurant Le coin Français, Chef Guy Bennett has worked alongside some of SA’s most well-known chefs, including Michael Deg, Bertus Basson, Reuben Riffel and top pastry chef, André Steyn
Chef Guy says that he allows the seasons to guide his cooking, and constantly seeks new ways of improving his dishes. “Cooking with passion, day after day, bouncing ideas off my mentors and watching guests enjoying our food, have made me the chef I am today,” says Guy who considers his appointment as Executive Chef at Grande Provence his “biggest and brightest venture to date.”
From an early age Guy knew that he wanted to be a chef, even choosing home economics as a subject at school. After completing apprenticeships at Savoy Cabbage and Buitenverwachting in his early twenties, Guy joined Reuben Riffel at the One and Only and later moved to The Robertson Small Hotel. He then moved on to Delaire Graff, before working with Bertus Basson and, now, joining the Grande Provence team.
Influenced by both modern and classic techniques, local and international flavours, there’s something on his menu for everyone – both light and fresh, and rich dishes. “I consider all the aspects that make up a good dish: sweetness, bitterness, acidity and texture,” adds Guy.
The chef plans to work closely with local producers and farmers, sourcing local produce: “I like to know where the produce comes from, who grows it and how they go about doing that. I need to know what I’m working with and that ethical practices were involved. By working closely with producers I know what’s on offer and what is popping up with the change of the seasons,” he adds.
Guy would like his ever-evolving menus to be “uncomplicated, accessible, varied and tasty, and always allowing for new creations to make an appearance.”
“I’d like to create an experience, a platform of sorts, where diners can put the rest of their lives on pause for a few hours and experience an amazing meal with good company. Great food and wine, an amazing setting and good times.”