Chef of the month – Hello Joburg Magazine

chef-of-the-month-hello-joburg-magazineFamily run restaurant A la Bouffe certainly does not pay lip service to its genuine French cuisine. With multi-award winning French Chef Romuald Denesle at the helm of the family-run business, local palates looking for a little French romance need look no further that 32 Seventh Street Linden. Using the best locally supplied produce, together with his wife Margeux Denesle and father in law, Dennis Rhodes Human, nothing could run much tighter than this French ship.

A la Bouffe means “come and eat” in French slang and be warned you may not want to stop either. If you are going to visit, please leave the banting at the door, as the bread alone on the tables is simply superb.

Chef Romuald is the real deal. With two decades in the kitchen under his apron, know that anything you order on his seasonal menu will satisfy and then some.

Born in Normandy France, he began his culinary journey at the hungry age of 15 where he cut his teeth on various chopping boards in France. He has worked in some of the most renowned eateries on the food globe; from no-nonsense seafood restaurant, Charlot Roi de Coquillages to England’s prestigious Fleur de Sel Michelin starred restaurant. Head Chef at award winning restaurant Opus One in Perth located in the New Country Hotel in Perth, Chef Romuald went on to win a string of prestigious awards in his career.

You get to live out your dream and the competitiveness of the industry keeps you on your toes

Moving into the here and now, Chef Romuald has been wielding carving knives and spatulas at A la Bouffe since they opened their doors on the 15th of July 2014. His cooking style is authentically French and he describes his food as honest, simple and homely. For a chef who loves cooking with fish, it makes perfect sense that one of his all-time favourite meals to make and eat would have to be Bouillabaisse. The traditional fish stew hails from the port city of Marseille and if you haven’t tried it, you don’t know what you are missing (#justsaying) We’re too nervous to ask about how he does it, but there’s something in the dish’s herbs and spicy broth that just comforts the soul. And while we are on the subject of the menu, what would a French restaurant be sans a braised rabbit in red wine with a mushroom ragout, asparagus and new potatoes? Right? We know it’s not everyone’s favourite but for those who have yet to try it, don’t sully the experience anywhere else – you have now been warned.

A food lover through and through, there isn’t anything he can’t or won’t make, but Chef Romuald admits that if he has to pinpoint a least favourite task it would be pastry.

So where did his love for the kitchen come from? “I am from a family of many chefs so I guess it had to be that way,” says Chef Romuald. Still inspired by a host of chefs, Chef Romuald keeps a keen eye on those who tout foraging and uses this in his own kitchen.

Working in a restaurant certainly has its pros and cons. Chef Romuald explains “You get to live out your dream and the competitiveness of the industry keeps you on your toes. I also get to meet a lot of people every single day. But then of course there are the long and challenging hours and the customers who watch MasterChef and reckon they know everything” he quips.

For a chef with so many awards, we couldn’t help but want to brag on his behalf. Here are some of the more note-able wins:

  • Chef Mèdaille D’OR – Gold Medal – 2013
  • Chef Mèdaille D’OR For Excellence – 2011
  • Scottish Young Chef award – 2002
  • Scottish Culinary Championships – Bronze Medal – 2011
  • Diploma Du Baccalaureat Professionnel – Acadamie de Rouen France
  • Brevet D’Etudes Professionnnelles – Hotelerie/Restauration – Rouen, France
  • Cetificat D’Aptitude Professionnelle – Cuisine – Rouen, France

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French Affair – By Joanne Scott

French-Affair-–-By-Joanne-ScottA fresh pain au chocolat, a piping hot coffee …. and you’re instantly transported to France. A la Bouffe is like walking into a bistro you’d find on a quiet side street in Paris. Chef Romuald Denesle focuses on French dishes that haven’t been hijacked by overcomplicated techniques and some unpronounceable foam. Think classic Moules a la Normande (mussels cooked in cider and cream) and comforting bowls of French onion soup, topped with crispy cheesy croutons. We’re salivating just thinking about it. If you’re looking to launch a new romance or just keep an old flame alive, then the wine pairing evenings are a must. The combo of plate-licking-worthy dishes and wines from SA’s best boutique estates are irresistible. Think poached duck egg, asparagus, fine beans salad with a crisp Marianne Sauvignon Blanc. Be warned though … this may have severe side effects that include increased appetite and an unfamiliar tingling sensation in your heart. Continue this French affair by popping into the French Market on the last Saturday of every month. You can pick up anything from beautiful imported olive oil to exquisite linen. And obviously, enjoy a pastry or two while you peruse the goodies. But wait, there’s more … you can tuck into an authentic roast every Sunday. You can opt for a two or three course meal but we think the three course is worth it … you can’t beat chicken liver pâté, then a succulent beef striploin, all finished with a trio of ice cream. A La Bouffe, 7th Street Linden. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Closed on Mondays.

Leisure Options August 25 – September 10, 2015

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