South African gourmet’s were so proud of Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen when his restaurant in Nice, France was awarded a Michelin Star. When we planned to spend a few days in Nice, we immediately made a booking to enjoy a meal at JAN.
Unfortunately our food hero Jan was en route back from the Cape Town Food & Wine Festival on the day that we enjoyed lunch there. We missed Jan, but his fantastic team were running to show with confidence! We were so proud to hear that most of his chefs are young fellow South Africans.
As one approaches this small restaurant you are struck by its understated, yet elegant gunmetal blue-grey exterior. Our welcome was friendly and professional. Even though the team originate from various countries true South African hospitality shone through, They certainly did not mind me, the quintessential ‘food tourist’ photographing everything!
We selected a menu with wines to match each course
This is simply a yummy photo story. I hope you enjoy this pictorial ‘taste’ with me!
Now to the ‘amuse’
Then the delicious first course
The breads were a treat
Mosbolletjie and Cape Seed Loaf with 3 butters: coriander and dashi (my favourite), seaweed and French butter topped with silver leaf
The main course
….. a work of art, perfectly cooked duck breast with the most delicious sauce and vegetables
Another perfect wine match
A little rest …….
And then the dessert …… the best berry meringue ever!
And then a few more sweet treats
What is a Michelin Star?
The Michelin Star rating for restaurants is respected by gourmets worldwide. When a restaurant is awarded a star it receives press and public interest and its popularity immediately increases.
The Chef at a restaurant that has been awarded a Michelin Star becomes an icon in the ‘foodie world’.
The French tyre manufacturer Michelin first published guides for motorists in France in the early 1900’s in order to promote travelling by car, thus increase car sales and tyre sales.
Only in 1926 did they decide to provide their readers with a more comprehensive restaurant guide by rating the good ones with a star.
In 1936 the one, two or 3 stars rating was introduced.
* “A very good restaurant in its category”
** “Excellent cooking, worth a detour”
*** “Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey”
Only after the mid 1900’s they expanded the guides to other countries. To date there are several guides globally, including most of the Western European counties, the larger city areas of the USA, Canada, Japan and Singapore.
In 1955 smaller, value for money establishments were included in a section called the BIB Gourmand, focusing on ‘exceptional good food at moderate prices.
Today the most of finest restaurants in the world are awarded Michelin Stars….. but only in the countries where the guides are published! Regular visits by critics (unannounced and the Michelin works hard at keeping their judges identity secret!) are conducted and restaurants work hard to maintain their star rating.
JAN’s Recipe Book
Put this book on your ‘would like list’ …… it is has interesting French and South African recipes. It is not just a recipe book, but also a lovely story. I’m going to try that super light Cape Seed Loaf soon!