Chef Crystal Wentzel was born in Capetown and raised in the well-known Cape Winelands area in South Africa.
“My first job at a German owned restaurant In Paarl, taught me a lot from the great possibilities of cooking and also to make an award winning Appel Strudel, my first own recipe!
Then I kept raising my cooking skills in the Cape Winelands area and worked in some famous restaurants.
I developed my tastes, my curiosity for new recipes and after few years decided to explore more into the wonderful world of culinary gastronomy.
During that period I experiment the great possibilities of seafood while being a sous-chef at the caviar Group of restaurants.
I was lucky enough to work along Chef Gabriel Leroux who opens my eyes and skills on the molecular gastronomy.
The next step was for me to keep opening my eyes and I travelled around the world working on boats and ended that period with a one year stop in West Palm Beach in Florida working at the Country Club …
And with all these years of experience it was time for me to build my own way of cooking mixing my international experiences and my South African origin.
At Esiweni Luxury Safari Lodge, Relais&Chateaux I found the perfect place where I can offer the experience of the African Bush with that International touch of my own and the French Flair that Sophie and Ludovic, the French owners, brought with them in South Africa.
Michel Rostang, Michelin Stars awarded Chef, and Nicolas Beaumann taught me, during my stay at Maison Rostang in Paris, THE French way of cooking. The so French specific way of cooking and mixing flavours is now deep into my vision of what is the Cuisine.
When the guests are sitting on the deck at Esiweni Luxury Safari Lodge,Relais&Chateaux enjoying the amazing view and they savour warthog raviolis, Zebra filet with Gratin dauphinois drinking a glass of South African wine and a chocolate Religieuse for dessert…..it makes my day !
Iconic food experience in an amazing place is what we are extremely proud to be able to offer to the guests at Esiweni Lodge…
You have to cook from your heart and believe in the dish you are creating. Anything is possible with flavours, and this is the philosophy we celebrate at Esiweni Luxury Safari Lodge, Relais&Chateaux!”
Zebra fillet with home made gnocchi
Esiweni Cheese Cake
Sister and eclair Chocolate
American Express, 100 Best Restaurant South Arica 2017
Esiweni, Relais & châteaux en Afrique du Sud