What to do next was the question on Nataniël’s mind when he finished his previous kykNET series Die Nataniël Tafel, which was in its third season.
With his youngest brother and confidante Erik living in Nantes, France, a place Nataniël has fallen in love with, that’s where he wanted to go.
Erik is a trained chef, which makes this a perfect combo for the two brothers. They even have a similar look, which has played havoc with the French as the Le Roux siblings in a small way invaded this French university town (Nataniël refers to it as the French Saldanha) to shoot his latest series, titled Die Edik van Nantes, which starts on October 13 from 8pm to 8.30pm on channel 144 (kykNET) and runs until the end of January.
There’s also a link with their family name, Le Roux, which he will discuss on the programme, but more than anything this was a series about lifestyle, the choices the French make about their food and their produce and the impact on their lifestyles and health.
The series was shot featuring an old family farmhouse which needed some TLC, and that’s how they structured the season as they went in search of produce to cook on a daily basis in a makeshift kitchen which was more pop-up than anything one could imagine.
They lived in Nantes, travelled on a daily basis, as the French do, to an ancient village, Pont Saint-Martin, where they found the freshest and best produce for their scheduled meal.
Then they would return to the secluded farmhouse to shoot the following episode on their month-long stay.
Each episode starts with a different scene in Nantes so that it also has this travelogue included in the whole lifestyle approach.
Nataniël, who has visited the city a few times because of his family, is also au fait with the history as well as the many cultural buildings and activities that play a part in the city’s interesting life.
That’s what he wants to show his fellow-South Africans, a different lifestyle, a look at life from another point of view.
“I didn’t want to go the more obvious route of that much loved Provençal style,” he explains. All that fuss, the almost Biggie Best look, is something he feels has been done locally – to death.
He didn’t want to walk through endless markets looking at produce. What he hoped to capture was the history of the place, as well as their most contemporary and exciting inventions and designs.
He also wasn’t following a fine dining route in the food sense. Their kitchen wouldn’t allow for that kind of extravagance, but this is also not what he wanted to focus on. Heritage is an angle that tweaked his interest.
This was, after all, Huguenot country and that was what he was hoping to highlight, another side of our heritage.
In his own life, health has become an obsession. He has decided to turn himself into the best specimen of himself. It’s something he has been observing in the French, their obsession with food and, yet, the pleasure they take in having the best kind of meals. Is there some kind of connection? How do they manage that?
“We ate hearty meals at the end of the day because we were tired, but we lost weight,” he says about their working holiday.
He believes it has to do with a lifestyle and a way of thinking about food, which is explored in Die Edik van Nantes.
Because he travelled to France with a team and spent a month living in Nantes, they could really scratch the underbelly of the city.
As a crew, they became part of the lifestyle and experienced the way people live and lead their daily lives. Everyone loved the ease with which they adapted to this European city.
In the end, Natanël’s life is all about simplicity. He likes to keep it as close to that as he possibly can. “It really is about good produce, good company and a bit of imagination,” he says.
He believes that most people are chasing things that are probably unobtainable but also won’t add that much to make it a richer life. “It’s about those things that all of us have,” he says.
He’s hoping that he can encourage a lifestyle that’s simple to maintain and yet adds value to those who make the effort. People simply have to pay attention.
“It’s all about balance,” he says. Value the things that are important, like friends and family – not what others think of you.
“And,” he says, “you don’t have to travel overseas to attain these dreams.”