A great Kalahari feast
Exactly four years ago, over a December holiday that I will never forget, I began sketching the outlines of my vision for Klein JAN on a paper serviette at a small eatery in Cape Town. I had that serviette framed, and it still hangs in my office today as a reminder that all things are possible. Over the years that followed, my vision started materialising in the architectural renderings that would arrive in my inbox over the years that followed. This was my big homecoming project, and over the next three years, I would meet some of the most inspiring people, experience true Kalahari hospitality, and would fall in love with the region’s cuisine. And just as my previous cookbooks have become bookends in my culinary journey – founding JAN, and the year we received our Michelin star – the Klein JAN Cookbook would mark the year I brought JAN home.
The inspiration behind Restaurant Klein JAN did not come from a desire to create a fine dining experience in the middle of the Kalahari. It came from the heart – from the tables of my childhood – memories that I have taken with me into an unknown land. Although I hadn’t been to the Kalahari before visiting Tswalu for the first time, I instantly connected with this place. I felt my grandmother’s presence at Boscia House, I fell in love with the people of the Northern Cape and was overwhelmed by their hospitality, and the more time I spent in the Kalahari, the deeper my roots spread through the endless red earth. This book is my homage to losing your heart to one of the most special places in this world, and to making your dreams come true.
The Klein JAN Cookbook is an indulgent, visual and culinary feast of over 150 home-cooked recipes that celebrates South African cooking in all its bold and fragrant splendour. Take a tour of Klein JAN while exploring some of the region’s most beloved ingredients and recipes through multiple courses ranging from stoep cocktails to sop en brood and something for the sweet tooth. But most of all, this cookbook is my love song to the tables of my childhood, and the food that brings South Africans together.
Klein JAN truly is a dream come to life, and my greatest reminder that you are never given a dream if you can’t make it come true.