Stimulate All the Senses at Les Créatifs Absa | Corporate and Investment Banking > Insights and Events > Stimulate All the Senses at Les Créatifs SHARE The Champagne in Africa team had the good fortune to interview Chef Wandile Mabaso creative food artist, owner and Chef of Les Créatifs Restaurant in Bryanston, whilst savouring the delicious lunch menu. How did a young boy from Soweto become a top Michelin trained chef? Chef Wandile – I was ten years old when I drew a picture of my dream restaurant for my mom. She was a single mother who had to work, so I learned to cook as a necessity, however, it became something I loved to do and then it became my career. I began my training at the Swiss Hotel School and then at the Prue Leith Culinary Institute. After working on a cruise ship in Venice for nearly a year, I found myself in Florida, Miami as a pastry chef. New York was calling Chef Wandile – I wanted more and every aspirant chef in the States knows that New York is the place to be. I headed up North, staying in hostels and knocking on restaurant doors. My break came in the form of Chef Julien from the Brasserie Julien. His childhood friend was a South African and when he heard my accent, he was prepared to take a chance on me. Chef Julien had trained under Joël Robuchon a French chef who was named “Chef of the Century” by the guide Gault Millau in 1989. It made me strong… and creative Chef Wandile – Low pay, long hours and an abusive kitchen culture was a hard but valuable learning experience for me. My training in the rigours of French classic cuisine had begun in earnest. I spent the next few years at various top establishments, including a Korean/French fusion and a Japanese/French fusion restaurant. I think it was this exposure to different cuisines, sourcing of fresh ingredients and plating styles that triggered my interest in cuisine as an artform. During this time, I met Oliver Reginensi who became a true mentor to me. Through him, I found myself in Paris working with world-famous Alain Ducasse, holder of 21 Michelin stars, at his Parisian restaurant, Le Meurice. So, would you say Alain Ducasse is your inspiration? Chef Wandile – Yes! He literally taught me to understand food and chemical composition and reactions. His approach is to first think of the answer (the dish) and then to devise the formula to achieve this. It was also extremely hard work – I lived in one of the most beautiful cities in the world but never saw it during the day! And now you’re the Owner and Chef of Les Créatifs… why the mix of artworks and cuisine? Chef Wandile – I believe in offering an exciting gastronomic journey where only the finest food is served amidst extraordinary art pieces from local artists. Even the crockery is what we call ‘Africasso’ commissioned from Imiso Ceramics. We sometimes bring in musicians for the complete sensory journey. What are your thoughts about the future of gastronomy in Africa? Chef Wandile – Africa needs to reset. Start building on our own traditions and stop borrowing. We have extraordinary and talented chefs, but we need to come together and uplift the industry. We can’t have students spending R300 000 on training to end up making pizzas in hotel chains. We need to build our own story through strong training in the kitchen and cultural exchanges. French chefs start as children working in their parents’ restaurants. Let’s elevate our cuisine, our country and our continent. What delectable dishes did we have for lunch? We sampled the beef tongue, oyster ceviche salad and pork trotters for first course. The beef and the pork were the team favourites… tender and delicious. For mains, the winners were the duck breast, line fish, wild chicken and wagyu beef. Everything prepared with precision and delightfully presented, but my vote was for the superb chipotle trout, which paired so well with the Laurent Perrier Champagne. https://cib.absa.africa/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/file_example_MP3_700KB.mp3 Related Articles EVENT The Champagne in Africa event 2021 Discover everything that the majestic world of champagne has to offer at a prestigious online experience of unrivalled taste and quality – The Champagne in Africa event. CHAMPAGNE Beginner’s Guide to Touring Champagne Champagne is easily accessible North east of Paris, 45 minutes by train (TGV) or an hour and half by car, offering far more than just a chance to sample the delectable bubbles. ENTERTAINMENT 2021 Champagne Festival at Home The much-loved annual Absa Champagne Festival is taking place on 21 October. This year we’re going virtual, which means you can join in the fun from the comfort of your own home. This is celebration of life, of success and of excellence… so kick off the slippers and lounge wear in exchange for something from the hardly worn evening section of your wardrobe. Invite a few friends and host your own Champagne festival while tuning into this red carpet event. ENTERTAINMENT Champagne Themed Dinner Party for 4 Here are some menu ideas to give your dinner party maximum wow with minimum fuss. Summer is coming and that usually means we want to step up our entertainment game. The team at Champagne in Africa love any excuse to celebrate, but we’re also keen to do so without it becoming ‘mission impossible’. We’ve provided you with two stylish yet simple options for each course. All you have to do is select and start playing in the kitchen. Add a few candles, flowers and pretty napkins and you’re good to go!