Contemporary cellar Durbanville Hills recently announced the appointment of head chef Tamzyn Ehlers.
The restaurant which celebrated its 21st harvest this year is popular for its spectacular views of Table Bay and Table Mountain, which are situated only a mere 20-minutes from the Mother City.
The 29-year-old Ehlers will now take lead in continuing the restaurant’s impressive list of accolades over the past six years namely including the 2019 Certificate of Excellence from Trip Advisor; Restaurant in the Winelands (Restaurant Week 2015 & 2016); Best Restaurant in South Africa (Restaurant Week 2017) and much more.
Ehlers shared some details about herself and her vision for the restaurant;
Chef Tamzyn Ehlers. Supplied
What has your culinary career journey been like?
I studied Pastry at Capsicum Culinary Studio in Cape Town and graduated in 2015. I joined Jason’s Bakery for a six-month internship and worked my way up to Junior Pastry Chef before learning the craft of novelty cakes as Pastry Chef at Aegean Café. Towards the end of 2016 I joined Durbanville Hills as a Pastry Chef and was promoted to Sous Chef then Assistant Head Chef and now I’m honoured to be promoted to Head Chef.
Where did it all start?
I have always been a creative person whether be it my hair or tattoos, but it’s always been food. From a young age I had an interest in cooking, baking and experimenting with new flavour combinations. I’ve never needed an excuse to cook or bake! Family gatherings usually involved me planning a three-course menu with baked snacks to set the scene, informal braais with friends would see tapas-style starters and a heavenly dessert. The bigger the guest list, the bigger the feast!
What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
I love to see people gather around a meal which I created. It makes them happy and ultimately me too! At Durbanville Hills I enjoy creating an experience for guests with flavoursome, wholesome food.
What inspires you?
Plating and food photography inspire me tremendously. A beautifully plated dish with different colours, textures and shapes, inspire me when creating a new menu. People definitely eat with their eyes first and I enjoy the creativity of combining colour, style and flavour.
Do you have a food muse?
Definitely the energy of the kitchen! The buzz, the passion, the team effort and the impromptu sharing of new ideas and inspirations that allows us to learn from each other.
At home, what is always on your shopping list and in your fridge?
Garlic, onion, coconut cream, rice or egg noodles and salt.
Are you a food snob?
Not at all! It’s the experience that counts. Whether I’m eating a cheese sandwich in my pyjamas at home, a seven-course meal at a fine dining restaurant or a simple braai with my friends, I relish each bite.
Any exciting plans for the restaurant?
I want to bring new experiences to the restaurant with unique food evenings, live music with tapas, a new menu designed around our new Collectors Reserve wine, and sundowners on the balcony with its spectacular views. I’d also like to create a storytelling menu with food photography that’s beautifully styled and truly capture the dishes we prepare with such intent in our kitchen.
If you’re not cooking what do you enjoy doing?
I love being creative and enjoy macramé. Going to the movies, spending time with my friends and attending music festivals are some of my favourite things to do.