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Molecular Masterclass by Gate Restaurant at Quoin Rock in Stellenbosch


2 September 2019

I have always wanted to work in a restaurant kitchen, and at a recent Daytime Experience menu launch at Gåte, I was thrilled to discover that our Molecular Master Class was in fact time in the kitchen making a dish with one of the 15 chefs in the state-of-the-art industrial kitchen.  

We were each paired with a country, and the dish we made related to that country. I was paired with the UK and together, we made (with much assistance from the young chef Jason van der Walt) a coconut panacotta.  Desserts are not really a Brower thing, so I was distracted by the savoury section and tried out the ethical foie gras. Duck livers but not force-fed. There was plenty more to explore, and I wandered off for a bit exploring the more savoury sections and tasting bits here and there.  The chefs were very enthusiastic about the equipment in the kitchen with everything they need at their fingertips.  Self-cleaning ovens too!  Now that I could live with!

The restaurant seats 45, so with 15 chefs, Gåte and the team have a serious commitment to making the best possible tasting and looking food.   

The new  Head Chef Nicole Loubser, at only 25, has travelled the world, worked at JAN restaurant in Nice, amongst others, and brings a youthful, firm and fresh approach.

After seeing how its done in the kitchen, we were then spoiled by a 6-course lunch - quite extraordinary.  We all enjoyed the Journey around the world with a modern twist.  

My best was the very unusual take on a Caprese salad, which usually represents the colours of the Italian Flag, Green, White & Red (Basil, Mozzarella & Tomatoes).  This was in another league entirely.  There was am upside-down dome-shaped white (whey) covering delicious baby tomatoes with mozzarella cheese inside, and then on the side was this light-green foamy sponge!  We were all intrigued, only to discover it was a cakey-texture, infused with basil.  This certainly helped to mop up the untended delicious sauce.

Another favourite was an unusual espresso glass cup with a bit of foam on top, which in fact was a flavourful rich tomato soup, topped with a  thyme-infused cream reduction!  Sublime combinations.

I was super impressed by their 2 MCCs - creamy and tiny bubbles, with one being almost Rose.  Simply delicious.

Hats off to the Ukrainian Gaiduk family who have been making waves in the Stellenbosch area since Gåte opened. Denis and Julia joined us intermittently, with Denis very proudly showing off the advanced gravity-fed cellar to us.  News is that they have recently purchased Knorhoek Guest House & Farm up the road, and Julia has her eye on making that into a slightly different type of culinary family destination.  There is no holding these two back!

If you are keen to experience this gastronomic journey - their lunch experience is from 12 to 2pm, cost R800, and R1200 including a wine pairing, and they have evening options as well.  

For more on Quoin Rock, visit their website