Recently appointed chef Kyle Norris hits the ground running at La Petite Ferme with the newly introduced winter menu. “The winter menu takes its motivation from the origins of La Petite Ferme,” says Kyle. “It’s country cuisine with a fresh, contemporary touch.”
Chef Kyle joined the team in April, bringing him with him almost two decades of experience. A former parachute battalion soldier, Kyle quickly rose through the ranks of numerous four and five-star properties in South Africa and abroad, including Tsogo Sun’s Beverly Hills hotel in Umhlanga Rocks and most recently, as Executive Chef, at Twin Waters – the first premium, multi-dining and entertainment centre of its kind in Nigeria.
His arrival at Le Petite Ferme was in fact on the recommendation of executive sous chef, Maveer Thulsie. Maveer was appointed at La Petite Ferme while a chef was still being sought to head the brigade. Kyle’s name came up – they’d worked together at a Drakensberg resort in 2012/3 and he’d left an indelible impression. Kyle was contacted, and he jumped at the opportunity.
“Relationships have always been the core of La Petite Ferme, even since its founding as a restaurant in the 1970s, followed by the winery in the 1980’s,” says general manager Riaan Kruger. “Many of the staff have been here for more than two decades and many of our guests have been loyal supporters for just as long, which is why we are excited about the prospects for the restaurant team.”
Maveer himself has worked in kitchens including David Higgs at the Saxon Boutique Hotel and Sir Richard Branson’s Mont Rochelle Hotel, Vineyard & Spa in Franschhoek. Rounding off the kitchen team are pastry chef Oscar Baard, formerly of the Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa and premier Kuwaiti lifestyle brand Fauchon Paris; and, junior sous chef Esther Labuschagne who joined La Petite Ferme in 2015 shortly after moving to the Cape from Lion Sands Private Game Reserve.
The winter menu is the first that La Petite Ferme’s new kitchen team will be collaborating on, and it’s chock-full of creativity.
Starters include Grapevine-smoked duck served with grilled green onion, micro greens, black cherry tuile, pomegranate, passion fruit dust and candied carrot roots. Baked camembert has been prepared with asparagus pesto, a classic vinaigrette, black garlic, candied walnuts, baby kale and fig confit. A soupe de la semaine (soup of the week) is elevated with goat cheese vetkoek alongside apple and goji berry, crispy baby spinach, biltong dust, walnut-and-cinnamon brittle and raisin purée.
Mains include classic Slow-roasted lamb served with aubergine, fondant potatoes, spuma mint yoghurt, plum, red wine jus, candied rosemary and tomato soil. Roasted chicken roulade is served with mushroom duxel, cauliflower-and-turmeric purée, purple carrots and almond broccoli, pickled shallots, port jus and wild mushroom shards. Venison patisserie is served with butter bean, biltong, compressed grape, apple, apricot sous-vide loin, truffle mash, candied beetroot, spinach purée and bone marrow jus. For a lighter option, Franschhoek trout is prepared with deep-fried pommes anna, seasonal vegetables, dill crème fraîche, caper butter and beetroot dust, and Carrot 7 Ways is a delightfully crafted vegetarian option.
For dessert, there’s the “Quartet of South Africa” featuring melktert, pampoenkoekies, hertzoggies and koeksisters. Warm malva pudding is also on the list, served with guava sorbet, cinnamon, coffee-cardamom crème anglaise, vanilla shortbread and basil, and there’s also the Olive oil cake presented with olive oil-and-pear sorbet, kalamansi marshmallow, La Petite Ferme wine-poached pear and szechuan pepper.
*Photos by Claire Gunn