NOTES ON THE GREATEST CULINARY HONOUR
At JAN, the kitchen serves as our theatre, the food a brilliant play, and the ingredients are our stars – whether veteran or debuting. And then we ask ourselves, how metaphoric is it that the annual Michelin 2023 Awards took place just days before the annual Academy Awards? The same week that we celebrate magic made in cinema, we celebrate magic made in the kitchen.
This week, we consider the Michelin Awards – the Oscars of the culinary world – where a very small group of chefs is honoured with this prestigious accolade.
TO BE CHOSEN
To serious foodies, Michelin answers one question only: which are the best restaurants in the world. The Michelin Guide was first published in 1900, a time when there were only about 3000 cars in France. The Michelin Tyre Company had been established 12 years prior. Apart from encouraging drivers to drive more (and hence sell more tyres), the Guide also created greater awareness of the country’s best restaurants. To rate restaurants, the Michelin Guide developed a star rating system that classified eateries as follows:
One star: a very good restaurant in its category
Two stars: Excellent cooking, worth a detour
Three stars: Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey
Every restaurant’s Michelin status is reviewed annually, and retaining a rating is not a given. Nevertheless, Restaurant JAN has kept its star for seven years through a combination of focus, determination, and consistent quality – not to mention its perseverance through the Covid-19 pandemic. Since its launch, JAN has grown its offering with the addition of MARIA in 2018, a special addition to the JAN dining experience where the restaurant’s cheese course is currently served, and garden picnics in the summer months.
IT CHANGES EVERYTHING
It was beyond anyone’s wildest imaginations that a boerseun from Mpumalanga, running a small South African restaurant in a lesser-known part of Nice, would receive a call from Michelin in 2006. After that call dropped, not only did Jan Hendrik’s life change overnight but so did the lives of every member of the JAN family.
Ever since, many have been asking whether or not we are pushing for two Michelin stars, and our response has always been the same: our main priority is to keep our guests happy and to keep working at being the best restaurant we can possibly be. Our passion is to provide unforgettable culinary experiences that surpass our customers’ expectations, and we aim to do so, not only at Restaurant JAN, but at Klein JAN and JAN Franschhoek too.
AN HONOUR LIKE NO OTHER
This year’s prestigious award ceremony took place on 6 March 2023 in Alsace’s capital of Strasbourg, France, the magical home to the Gothic Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg. It filled us with gratitude – gratitude for not only being invited once again but gratitude to be privileged to once again be in a room filled with a small and carefully selected group of culinary magicians. It is in this room where, once again, we celebrated “gastronomy, young talent and committed sustainable kitchens”.
GIVING SOUTH AFRICAN CUISINE A WORLD STAGE
Since 2016, when JAN received its first Michelin award, South African cuisine has been given a world stage. Of course, the Michelin Guide is just one aspect of the JAN experience. Our cuisine is universal, transcending borders and cultures to create a sense of connection and community that is truly unique. Guests of Restaurant JAN are able to experience our amazing South African spirit and hospitality through dishes ranging from bobotie, melkkos, vetkoek, pap and Sheba sauce to biltong, buchu, rooibos, atchar, tsamma melon and game meat.
The goal? To allow our guests to experience a symphony of flavours, textures, and emotions, designed to transport them to a time when food was more than just sustenance. It was a feeling.
Whether you are dining with us in the Cape Winelands or the heart of the Kalahari, we aim to transport everyone that enters our doors to a different time and place and immerse them in a world of nostalgia opulence, luxury and indulgence.
A WORD OF THANKS
Keeping a Michelin star is a great honour and a great challenge too. One that demands constant innovation and evolution. It is an honour that we take very seriously, a responsibility that inspires us to be the very best that we can be.
In the end, it is all worth it. To taste the perfect dish, to savour the exquisite flavours, to feel the passion and dedication that goes into every plate is an experience that transcends words and touches the soul.
It is a privilege to be part of this small, carefully selected group of culinary giants. Let us raise a glass and celebrate the triumphs, victories, and moments of sheer culinary brilliance that are born of the pursuit of Michelin glory.