Chef Carolize Coetzee, who has been leading TOKARA’s kitchen since late last year, has heralded the change of the season with an autumn menu that’s sure to evoke a feeling of nostalgia. The menu features heirloom ingredients such as winter melon, persimmons, parsnips, butternut, celeriac and gooseberries, with traditional Cape flavours highlighted as well.

Chef Carolize was inspired by the exploration of her food memories, and the recipes passed down in her family. “The memories and generosity of other chefs – whether professional or a passionate lay cook such as my grandmother – have been my lodestar as a chef and I enjoy diving into my library of food memories as inspiration for new TOKARA dishes,” says chef Carolize.

Carolize CoetzeeThe Chef, originally from Humansorp, joined the TOKARA team from Dornier Wine Estate, where she held the position of Head Chef. She has also worked at Delaire Graff Restaurant, Makaron Restaurant at Majeka House, Haute Cabrière, Equus at Cavalli and Cuvée at Simonsig.

She’s brought a new feel to the TOKARA menu, and starters include kudu tataki, and slow cooked parsnip, bacon and brioche. Vegans and vegetarians can indulge in pea mousse and salt baked beetroot, or semi dehydrated tomato, consommé and tempura tofu for starters. Then for mains, they can move onto potato gnocchi and butternut enriched with a coconut curry sauce, or the roasted cauliflower, chickpeas, kale and macadamia nuts.

For the meat-lovers, there’s braised lamb shoulder, springbok loin with bobotie spiced carrot, or the beef ribeye with heerenboontjie and roasted garlic tapioca for mains. The line fish of the day is served with fire roasted celeriac, fennel celery and pancetta. Chef Carolize has used TOKARA’s delectable olive oil in one of her desserts – short bread served with coconut sorbet, coriander and pineapple. Other dessert items are carrot cake with decadent white chocolate and spiced carrot ice cream, gooseberry clafoutis with basil ice cream, and dark chocolate, granadilla with cacao nib ice cream.

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Jess van Dyk