Chefs' Table Talk

We have asked some of our destinations' chefs to give us more insight into their food philosophies and personal tastes.  You can read more on each of the Establishments under the Dining tab.

The chefs taking part in this Table Talk are :


Christine Burgess
Karkloof Safari Spa



Karen Pretorius



Jakob Christoffel (JC)
Gondwana Private Game Reserve



Table Talk Questions and Answers


How would you describe your food philosophy in three words?

Christine - Fresh, healthy, flavour.

Karen - Seasonal, simple and sustainable

JC - Of The Earth (translated: to enjoy the food of a region and use what is fresh and in the moment)

What is your favorite South African food?

Christine - So many! Bobotie, Koeksisters, potjie, pap….

Karen - Biltong!

JC - Lamb chops & Braai - Broodtjie

Name 3 ingredients or foods you couldn’t live without.

Christine - Lemons, butter and thyme.

Karen - Fresh herbs, a warm loaf and I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t eat garlic!

JC - Thyme, lemon and garlic

When you are alone, what do you like to make for yourself to eat?

Christine - Toast! I love toast!

Karen - A crusty slice of bread, a sliver of Lardo and black pepper with coarse salt.

JC - Peanut butter & strawberry jam sandwich 

Name 3 people (alive or deceased) that you would love to dine with you.

Christine - Heston Blumenthal, Richard Dawkins and Stephen Fry.

Karen - M.F.K Fisher (best food writer ever!), Madeleine van Biljon , My Ouma

JC - Joost Van Der Westhuizen, Jesica Alba and Richard Branson

What is your Proust’s Madeleine Moment (when a flavor, smell, or any sense reminds you of a moment from your past)?

Christine - My mother’s chocolate cake.  A recipe that she got from a lady in the farmer community where she grew up.  When taste the raw dough, it takes me back to sitting on the kitchen counter while my mother made the cake for a birthday or school function.

Karen - Every time I smell oxtail stew, I think it’s my birthday.

JC - Homemade Rusk, when we make Rusk in kitchen it reminds me of my gran baking Rusk at the beach house.

What is the most important quality that makes a good chef?

Christine - Determination and precision.

Karen - Passion

JC - Patients, Patients and willing to learn

What is your greatest fear?

Christine - I would hate it to poison someone with my cooking.

Karen - Getting nipped by a snake while picking pumpkins

JC - To poison someone with my cooking

What do you most value in your friends?

Christine - Loyalty and kindness.

Karen - Loyalty

JC - Honesty

What is your greatest extravagance?

Christine - My cookbooks! I have an addiction and can’t stop buying them.

Karen - Books and good coffee

JC - Watching and playing rugby

What is your most treasured possession?

Christine - My photo albums for it tell the story of my life.  And my wedding ring.  It was made from my husband’s mother’s rings.  Irreplaceable.

Karen - My books

JC - My Wife

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Christine - Becoming a chef and where I am today.  Many, many hours spent in a kitchen, but I love it!

Karen - Watching my bakery team become better bakers every day feels pretty good

JC - Working next to Jamie Oliver

What profession other than a chef would you like to attempt?

Christine - I would like to be a photographer.  Maybe one day….

Karen - I would love to be a farmer

JC - Playing Rugby

What is your life motto?

Christine - Try the best you can, every day.

Karen - Never stop learning

JC - Be nice to the people on your way to the top because you’ll expect them to be nice to you on the way down and never regret something that one’s made you smile