We are frequently complimented on the magical menus that guests to Marataba Mountain Lodge enjoy. Healthy, delicious and colourful meals adorn the dining table, and breakfast snacks are plentiful before heading out on a trail.
We thought it was an opportune time to introduce the talented young man behind the extraordinary food that materialises from the kitchen, day after day.
Enter Dalmane van der Heever.
- What do you love about life in the bush?
“The quietness and relaxing vibe of nature – the idea of being able to find inspiration from your surroundings when preparing and presenting a dish.”
- What’s your favorite truly South African dish? And do you make this at home or where would you go to eat this?
“It may seem very cliché but I love a good Malva Pudding. We often have Malva pudding with family gatherings and I have prepared it for guests as well. Foreigners truly love this South African classic.”
- If you weren’t a chef, what would you rather be doing?
“That’s a difficult question…mmm not being a chef… I would probably pursue a career in training or facilitation – being able to share my knowledge with others around me who are eager to learn and gain and grow their knowledge. But I’d still be in the game of food!”
- If you could be on the cover of a magazine which one would it be and what would the headline be?
“I would like to feature on TASTE magazine with the caption of ‘Never Trust A Skinny Chef’”
- Most of our guests are not familiar with South African food. If you could recommend one “must try” South African dish, which one would it be?
“Though some South Africans may find it strange and often would not eat this dish just because of what it consists of, I would have to recommend that they at least try TRIPE once on their South African Culinary Journey.”
- What’s your current food obsession?
“I am definitely obsessed with Tempura at the moment!”
- Is there any ingredient that you hate?
“No offense to those who enjoy them but… BRUSSEL SPROUTS”
- What’s your go-to comfort food?
- Any famous food dish that you have given up on trying to make?
“I have thankfully not reached that point yet!”
- How does cooking in a restaurant compare to cooking for friends and family?
“When cooking in a restaurant, you conform to cooking from a predetermined menu. When cooking at home it boils down to me cooking whatever the family wants, and making any new dishes I have tried for them to taste…and boy are they tough critics.”
- Who inspires you when you create new dishes?
“Our guests would be my inspiration, as they are the ones I need to keep happy. By them using their sense of taste and smell, I aim to keep them intrigued and by trying new dishes I am able to entice their senses.”
- What’s your favourite South African ingredient?
“I would have to say Biltong.”
- Which wine farm do you enjoy visiting?
“A wine farm that I have not visited but would most likely want to visit is VREDE en LUST wine farm in Franschoek.”
- When did your love for food begin?
“My love for food began at a young age, helping out in the kitchen when my parents were cooking up a storm. It was then that I perfected (in my eyes) a scrambled egg, and immediately decided to climb onto the culinary train. I have enjoyed the ride ever since.”
- Any South African experiences that are on your bucket list?
“One of the items that I would love to check off my bucket list would be to dine at the Famous FIVE HUNDRED restaurant in Sandton.”
You have not lived until you have tasted Dalmane’s simple but authentic creations. There is magic in this boy’s hands.
Come and see for yourself!