For chefs, earning a Michelin star is like receiving an Oscar in the culinary industry. These highly coveted stars are awarded to restaurants and chefs that deliver exceptional dining experiences. Unfortunately, African restaurants have been sidelined for the longest time, as there is not a single restaurant in Africa that has been awarded a Michelin star. However, in the past few years, there seems to be a silver lining, as some African chefs have won the Michelin Star Award. This article brings to light some of these extraordinary chefs who have made the continent proud in their niche.
African Chefs Who Have Won Michelin Stars
Take a look at some African chefs who have been awarded Michelin stars.
Chef Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen, South Africa
As the first African to win a Michelin star, it is only right that we start with him. In 2016, the Michelin Guide recognised Chef Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen as the first South African chef to earn a Michelin star. His restaurant, “Jan,” is located in the French city of Nice. Chef Jan Hendrik’s remarkable journey began in South Africa, where he honed his skills before moving to Europe to refine his craft. His success celebrates his homeland while bridging two continents (Africa and Europe) through food.
Georgiana Viou, Benin Republic
A woman winning an exceptional award in an industry where men are mostly recognised We will be there! The self-taught chef from the West African country of Benin came to Paris with the dream of becoming an interpreter after studying languages at the Sorbonne. She was awarded a star by the Michelin Guide for her cuisine at “Rouge,” a restaurant in the southwestern French city of Nimes, which she joined in June 2021. Viou describes her cuisine as a mix of French Mediterranean and her home country’s flavors. She has written several books about Benin’s cuisine. Viou learned to cook from her mother, who had a simple little restaurant in Cotonou, Benin. She worked her way up one step at a time in Marseille until she got to the highest step on the ladder of the culinary industry.
Chef Espey, South Africa
2023 definitely came with good tidings for the culinary industry in South Africa yet again as another South African chef, Chef Epsey, joined the group of culinary artists who are proud awardees of the Michelin Star. The 40-year-old is a solo chef-owner of Culture in Falmouth, Cornwall. Espey always had dreams of reaching this point in his career, but he gives credit to his parents for influencing him to pursue that dream. He grew up in a home with a mom who was an exceptional cook and worked in the wine industry. This made him fall in love with small, rural restaurants and wine pairings. Stay up to date on the newest in the world of Fashion, Arts, Beauty and Lifestyle; Follow FAB on socials.
Originally from Cape Town, Jean Delport is a Michelin-starred chef based in Sussex who earned himself a feature in the Michelin guide with his restaurant, Interlude, within the first six months of its opening. He grew up in the food capital of South Africa and went on to work for a Michelin-starred chef, Dan Evans, in the UK, after working in several placements following chef school, including a game lodge in Namibia. In 2021, the exceptional South Africans retained their position among the high and mighty of the culinary industry by winning a second Michelin star.
The Michelin stars indicate Africa’s rising prominence in the culinary industry, encouraging the world to explore and appreciate Africa’s diverse cuisine. Africa’s culinary renaissance is underway, and the Michelin Guide is taking note. These stars are a result of the tireless dedication of these chefs, who are reshaping the narrative of African cuisine on a global stage. With each award, they continue to break down borders and invite the world to savour the diverse and delectable flavours of the African continent. However, in the future, we expect to see more Michelin-starred restaurants on the continent. Till then, we celebrate individuals who have brought it home to Africa.
Image Credit: www.janonline.com