We are lucky to have Executive Chef Justin Kotze overseeing every single detail at Restaurant 1777 at The Old Rectory. With the likes of springbok steak, pan-roasted seabass, butternut ravioli and, of course, an array of delicious desserts to choose from, you’ll have countless reasons to return and taste all the dishes he carefully creates for our regularly changing seasonal menu. We chatted to Justin about his culinary background, his approach to food and a typical day at our boutique hotel in Plettenberg Bay.
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF
My role is to oversee the day-to-day affairs at Restaurant 1777 at The Old Rectory as well as consult at Kay and Monty Vineyards, our beautiful wine farm just outside Plett. I have been so fortunate to have travelled all over South Africa, experiencing so many different approaches to food, and have worked in the bush at game reserves as well as in city hotels.
My style of cooking has changed dramatically over the years. In years gone by I loved using butter and cream but today, it’s all about allowing the natural ingredients to shine; natural oils and vinegars and food that’s both impressive but totally comforting too. I want my food to be wholesome, hearty and with a distinctly South African character.
HOW DOES A TYPICAL DAY AT THE OLD RECTORY PLAY OUT FOR YOU?
I typically start with our continental breakfast offering for our in-house guests – keeping track and making sure their needs are met is very important to me. We serve an à la carte lunch, a refined dinner and a poolside menu, which we freshly prepare everyday and so our small team is kept busy!
FIRST THING YOU LEARNT TO COOK?
Chicken curry was the first thing I ever cooked!
TOP THREE FAVOURITE INGREDIENTS TO COOK WITH?
Tomatoes, herbs and seafood.