Stephen Templeton is the kind of guy you feel you trust the minute you meet him. He’s got that kind of rugged charisma that you’d expect from a ships captain, a top rugby coach, or in this case, the new Executive Chef of the Newmark Hotel’s Waterfront properties.
Newmark encompasses a number of properties in Cape Town, and Stephen’s remit is The Victoria and Alfred, The Dock House Boutique Hotel and Spa and the soon to be opened Queen Victoria, a luxury boutique hotel of about 30 rooms which will open next March, cheek by jowl with the Dock House which is across the road from the V&A.
His brief is a fascinating one from Newmark Hotels.
He has to modernise and revamp the V&A restaurant, Oyo. The V&A was the original hotel on the Waterfront. It even predates the entire V&A shopping area. It easily has the best view in Cape Town, and is right on the water.
Its restaurant, Oyo, does not register on the radar of locals. Stephen aims to change this, and make it a destination restaurant in its own right. For any hotel in Cape Town to have a funky buzzing restaurant is quite a feat.
Let’s face it, no other hotel in Cape Town has really been able to achieve it.
That’s a tall order. Can he do it?
I’ve no doubt that he can. He has just spent 5 years running his own restaurant in Montagu, The 4 Oaks. This was a Top 20 Eat Out restaurant.
When he arrived in Montagu there was such a shortage of seasonal fresh ingredients that he started growing his own. Eventually he had 350 gardens of locals producing fresh vegetables, herbs and fruit. He also opened a wineshop, selling 200 of South Africa’s best wines, including his own label. His approach was to use seasonal products, farmyard to fork. He even had his fresh fish couriered up from Gordon’s Bay each morning.
Prior to that Stephen has a CV that reads like a the diary of a travelling Adventurer Chef; working for Sol Kerzner in Sun City, 2 years on the QE2 luxury liner, Polana in Mozambique, the Drakensburg Sun, Spier Estate (he opened it), Terence Conran in London, Harrod’s in London (21 restaurants and a canteen where 4,500 staff ate every day).
Stephen is a creative guy, who understands the value of systems and procedures to encourage his chefs and staff to deliver a consistent product. He started this week, and with the opening of The Queen Vic and the revamp of the V&A I am looking forward to the results.
021 419 6677