It’s not every day that you find out that your restaurant is rated as one of the best in the country. But that was the case for The Chef’s Table chef, Kayla-Ann Osborn, which was ranked the 15th top restaurant in South Africa by the Eat Out Awards.
The Umhlanga Village located restaurant, which has become a favourite for fine-diners and those who want to have interesting culinary creations, was the only restaurant from KwaZulu-Natal in the Top 20 list.
It’s a feat that Osborn is proud of and was pleasantly surprised when it was announced.
“It still hasn’t sunk in yet. We are 15th in the country and I am the youngest nominee. It's overwhelming,” she said via email.
An alumnus from the Valley of a Thousand Hills chef school, Osborn has made The Chef’s Table one of the top restaurants in the province.The secret, well it turns out that it’s because they have made The Chef’s Table accessible to everyone by taking away the stuffiness and seriousness of a fine dining restaurant.
“I think fine dining has become much more accessible to everyone with the amount of casual fine dining restaurants that have opened. It's great, it's bridging the gaps in our food culture in Durban and South Africa. At The Chef’s Table, the open plan kitchen is a major focal point. Our food is also different in that we are trying to define what Durban Cuisine is.”
For great fine dining in KZN, people used to have to drive to the Midlands, where it boasts some really excellent restaurants, so it’s a major feat for Osborn and The Chef’s Table to get this accolade.
“I'd like to think that The Chefs' Table has played a role in that. It's humbling. I think part of it is due to the diversity of our offering with an à la carte menu, a tasting menu and the way we continuously change these menus to incorporate the seasonal produce. We push ourselves to create seasonal, fresh, authentic Durban food and provide our guests with an amazing dining experience.”
So what are her tips for Festive season dining?
“Get hold of a fresh duck from Merriducks. It's not a norm in SA for Christmas but oh, are they delicious. Marinate it overnight in cider and grated ginger. Then slow roast it covered with some pears. Remove the cover and crisp up the skin. So delicious!”