BY BILLY SUTER
SOUTH Africa’s Chantel Dartnall, of Restaurant Mosaic in Gauteng – who has twice been named South Africa’s Chef of the Year – now has a coveted international title. She was named the world’s best female chef at The Best Chef (Lady) Awards in Warsaw on October 25.
In addition, Dartnall was placed at No 32 in the Best Chef Awards Top 100 list for 2017, making her the highest-positioned woman and one of only three to make the top 50 (Spain’s Elena Azark is 33rd and France’s Anne-Sophie Pic is 47th). Dartnall is the only South African chef listed in the top 100.
“Launched in Poland in 2016, this international competition seeks out the world’s top chefs in terms of culinary artistry and visual presentation. The winning chefs are selected in six categories by 300 voters comprising chefs, food writers and culinary experts across the globe as well as 1,5 million followers on the competition’s digital platform” says a spokesman.
“Dartnall beat out strong competition from globally acclaimed chefs, including the aforementioned Arzak (Best Chef – Lady 2016 winner) of the three-Michelin-starred restaurant Arzak; Emma Bengtsson who is at the helm of the two-Michelin-starred Scandinavian restaurant Aquavit in New York; Pic who gained three Michelin stars for her restaurant, Maison Pic, in France; and Clare Smyth, the first and only female chef to run a restaurant with three Michelin-stars in the UK with her establishment Core.”
Dartnall was delighted with the recognition: “What a great honour to have been selected as the 2017 Best Female Chef – it was an incredible moment. I have to thank all the amazing people in my life who work just as hard to guide and assist me in this journey and help to make all these wonderful dreams a reality.
She added: “ I also want to thank all the Mosaic customers who have supported me during the 11 years Restaurant Mosaic has been in operation.”
In June, Dartnall was named 2017 Chef of the Year for Africa and the Middle East by the prestigious Luxury Travel Guide Awards. In the same week Restaurant Mosaic triumphed at the respected 2017 World of Fine Wine World’s Best Wine Lists Awards and awarded a top-tier three-star award.
Restaurant Mosaic was also named Luxury Restaurant of the Year by Travel & Hospitality. It is located in The Orient Private Hotel in the Francolin Conservation Area, Elandsfontein, Crocodile River Valley, Gauteng.
“It is an exotic, Moorish-inspired ‘palace’ that transports guests to another time with nothing to distract from the beauty that nature has to offer,” says the spokesman.
It opened in 2006, has an intimate feel with booth-type seats and two private dining rooms. Unlike many other establishments, Dartnall is always in charge of the kitchen and in attendance to meet guests when the restaurant is open.
Dartnall’s current spring/summer menu at Restaurant Mosaic is named “Cosmorganic” and alludes to the “supposed character of the universe as a living organism, whose atoms are endowed with sensibility, asserting that the organic in the whole of the universe, as well as in the narrow sphere of single bodies on the earth, is the first thing from which the inorganic was separated” .
It again features Dartnall’s signature Botanical Cuisine, with Dartnall taking her cue from nature, and includes dishes such as Song of the Sea (salmon, kombucha, yuzu); Some Birds Don’t Fly (ostrich, beetroot, plum); Tajine du
Maghreb (capretto, prunes, argan oil) and The Clash of Constellations (passion fruit, mango, fresh berries).
Dartnall has enhanced South Africa’s status as a gourmet destination on the international culinary map, thanks to her meticulous approach to modern fine dining.
She combines her classical French training with her love of nature and is well known for creating the art of nature on her plates with delightful botanical dishes. She is passionate about using organic and seasonal produce with her innovative approach to food preparation and presentation.
“After graduating from the Prue Leith Chef’s Academy, acclaimed UK chef Nico Ladenis offered Dartnall a position in the kitchen of his three-star Michelin restaurant, Chez Nicoin Park Lane, London – a huge break for the young chef,” says the spokesman.
She also worked with Michael Caines at Gidleigh Park in Devon, a two-Michelin-star establishment, while chefs such as Ladenis, Alain Ducasse and Marco Pierre White set the standards by which Dartnall measured herself on her return to South Africa.
She has also gained a huge wealth of knowledge from her extensive annual travels to some of the world’s finest restaurants in Italy, Portugal, Madeira, Spain and France.