Name: Chef Romuald Denesle
Establishment: A la Bouffe
Q. How would you describe your style of cooking? What inspires you?
A: My grandmother used to have a farm, she had rabbits, pigs, sheep, pigeons, horses, cows and all sorts of poultry, also there was a massive vegetable garden and an orchard, I used to spend all my summer holiday there and work and since I can remember we always had a different home cooked meal on the table where we all sat and ate together. I guess that’s where it all started and my cooking, after so many years in fine dining, is back to honest and simple food.
Q: Describe a typical day in your restaurant?
A:Arrive at 7/8am, check all the stock and finish the orders then I go around to see all suppliers for our needs. Back at the restaurant, we prepare and get organise for the service, when the service is over, it’s place for cleaning and get organise for the following day.
Q: What have been your proudest moments as a chef?
A: Winning young Scottish chef in 2002, Winning Bronze medal at ScoHot in 2012 and opening ‘A la Bouffe’ in 2014
Q: What has been your biggest learning curve?
A: Opening ‘A la Bouffe’ has been a grueling experience, I had only been in South Africa for 6 months, I had to learn all about laws, licences, etc— and all the paperwork that is involved. I can tell you I am not a paperwork person.
Q. What is your favourite dish that you enjoy cooking?
A: Bouillabaise, I love the simplicity of the dish and complexity of it.
Q. What are your favourite ingredients?
A: Anything wild (animal, herbs, mushrooms,etc—) I miss Scotland for that, everyday I used to go foraging. Foraging was a very big part of our daily prep at the restaurant.
Q. What trends / challenges are restaurants facing in 2017?
A: I can’t say we really follow trends at the restaurant, we’re a French restaurant and try to be as French as possible. As for challenges, keeping the front of house trained, informed and focus and the costumers, also being aware of the food cost lately.
Q: Six people (dead or alive) who you would like to cook for?
A: Bill Hicks, Jimmy page, Jimmy Hendrix, Emma Stone, Magnus Nillson and my Mum.
Q. Name a dish you’ve ruined, and how you saved it?
A: I’ve ruined many dishes in my early days but you rarely have the time to fix it, usually the Chef used to come and give you a bollocking then you make it again.
Q. The #1 thing that annoys you in restaurants?
A: To repeat the same things over and over.