Honouring heritage in nature

How lessons from the past have guided me

One of the first things that drew me to Boscia House in the breathtaking Tswalu Kalahari Reserve was the rich history captured within its bricks. The lovingly restored century-old farmhouse, named for trees that grow around it, set the tone for Restaurant Klein JAN, my latest venture and celebration of raw South African nature and culinary tradition.

I’d always believed the Kalahari was an arid expanse where everything struggled in the harshness of the elements, but I know now that the region offers incredible natural opportunities unique to its landscape, and centuries of history before me proves that there are ways and means of surviving – and thriving – in the Kalahari wilderness. In discovering this I realised I had to turn back the page a century or so to draw inspiration from the innovation and heritage of the area.

As we began to restore Boscia House we imagined all the stories and history of this 100-year-old home and wanted to see how we could bring the past alive and weave its tale into a new and completely unexpected experience. I wanted the restaurant to convey a sense of nostalgic theatre and an actual window into the past, while also proving practical to the guests and the area.

One such example is the incredible Klein JAN root cellar that runs from the petrichor staircase to the sop en brood kitchen in the restaurant. The concept of this cellar dates back to the 19th century, though the idea of storing food underground goes back to ancient times. Every fresh ingredient we preserve in this temperature-and-humidity controlled space returns to the earth one last time before it is consumed; ensuring a sustainable and sensory experience for guests influenced by Kalahari history and innovation over the years.

Allowing ourselves to be guided by nature’s elements and history of the space also allowed us to offer our guests an incredible sensory experience unique to the region and our restaurant. The entire Klein JAN journey has taught me that it’s not always about fighting the elements to move ahead, but allowing history and nature to guide us as we grow with it. I can’t wait to see where it takes us next.

600 years of brewing history
Stella Artois is a globally renowned premium beer brand with over 600 years of Brewing expertise that was originally crafted as a gift for the people of Leuven in Belgium. Synonymous with dining and enjoying food, and with a heritage of innovation and exploration, it’s great to indulge while watching the scenic view of the Kalahari sunset. Crafted using the finest hand selected ingredients with a rich heritage, it’s the perfect choice for those heartfelt moments with the ones you love over a great meal.