Today we met aspiring two star Michelin chef, Piet Huysentruyt who offered us a sneak peak of dishes he and his team will soon offer at his pop-up restaurant at The Conservatory on Happy Valley Road- Franschhoek.
Seated beneath old oaks, Moreson Solitare in hand a group of media and culinary elite were told of a close relationship between Chef Huysentruyt and his father who his restaurant amongst a few other reasoning is named after.
Likoké was his father’s nickname who grew up in the colonially linked Congo, the locals giving Chef Huysentruyt’s father the name after a hard to catch fish in the nearby ravines where he and his father grew up.
That and the French couldn’t pronounce “Huysentruyt” chef jokes.
The Likoké pop-up restaurant is inspired by this very story and pays homage to his father and their roots in Africa.
“Everything at Likoké has always been about a story, about roots, soul and emotion and art.” With this philosophy a ‘standard’ pop-up restaurant as a way to keep busy during the French winter simply wouldn’t do and eventually developed into a world tour – “just as a rock band would do.”
Abbreviated as LOT ( Likoke On Tour) team travels to Africa in the manner that travellers would have a sum 40 years ago, starting in hometown, Belgium, followed by stopovers in Japan, Indonesia and Singapore.
Franschhoek is the restaurant’s last and only African stop before heading back home.
The restaurant team is being followed by a TV crew, writer and photographer with a view to publishing a book about their culinary world tour.
True to his rebellious nature his cuisine became famous for revolutionary combinations of noble ingredients and offal. When he published his first book, with food photographer Tony Leduc, it was appropriately titled “Contemporary and Stubborn”. It was also the first time in history that the phrase “ food porn” was coined!
Feeling misunderstood and underappreciated Huysentruyt closed his first restaurant and went on to become a celebrity TV chef – creating more than 20 cooking shows and selling more than 4 million books along the way.
Likoké welcomed its first diners in 2013 and received a Michelin star a mere five months later. The Gault et Millau Restaurant Guide awarded it three toques later the same year as well as its Discovery of the Year accolade. Today the restaurant is ranked 39th on the WBP Stars World’s Best Restaurants List.
Whilst Chef Huysentruyt and his team don some serious awards the dishes we were shown showed playful ingenuity, a refreshed approached to South African cuisine and an emphasis on comfortable, rebellious dining.
A dish back in France, so rebellious, guests are served a naked torso to lick as a sign of pure indulgence and a nod to the eatery of an excellent dinner.
A concept Chef Huysentruyt conceptualised based on his childhood memories of a kid as he wished to lap up every morsel of well made food on his plate, now he encourages diners to do the same.
Likoké in Franschhoek will be open for dinner from Tuesday to Saturday, between 28 February and 15 March.
(Lunch having recently been opened due to demand is on offer from Thursday to Saturday.)
A 12-15 course set menu will cost R1250 per person (R1900 with wine).
Local Franschhoek wines will be on offer including the estate’s Merlot made by local winemaker at Four Paws winery
This is a culinary event not to miss and availability is incredibly limited.
Directions to The Conservatory – Franschhoek: