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MEET CHEF CHANTEL DARTNALL

Chantel studied at the Prue Leith College of Food and Wine before being awarded a scholarship from the World Association of Chef’s Societies to study at Johnson and Wales University in Rhode Island in the USA. From here she went to London where she worked under chef Nico Ladenis at his three star Michelin restaurant, Chez Nico at 90 Park Lane, in London. She also worked with Michael Caines at Gidleigh Park in Devon, a two Michelin star establishment and chefs such as Ladenis, Alain Ducasse and Marco Pierre.

With this stellar experience behind her, Chantel returned to South Africa and established Restaurant Mosaic at the Orient Boutique Hotel in 2006.

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Chantel Dartnall defines her approach as “botanical cuisine—to feature Mother Nature on a plate, where each dish is designed to reflect the beauty, balance, harmony and purity that you find in nature.” It’s about capturing nature’s nuances, but it’s also about studying the medicinal properties of the herbs and flowers she includes in the menu, to aid in digestion, promote blood circulation and a general feeling of wellbeing.

She believes it is vital to serve visually appealing dishes that tell a story and start stimulating diners’ senses from the moment the food arrives at the table.

 

“Each dish is designed to reflect the beauty, balance, harmony and purity that you find in nature”.

 

There is a subliminal rhythm to the progression of her courses. Slowly, like a heartbeat, it taps into your senses, growing with each new dish until you experience the continuous melody that Chantel’s menus conveys. Individual creations become instruments in a gastronomical orchestra, each with their own prominent role, following each other in the correct order, until all the elements come together in a joyous composition, leaving you with a sense of fulfillment as the crescendo echo’s a song of celebration…

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Chantel is an innovative spirit who is constantly on the lookout for the unique and wonderful. She rarely can resist a beautiful plate or piece of porcelain and work closely with various artists in different disciplines to create petite masterpieces to showcase her cuisine at its best. Her innovative approach to food preparation and presentation focuses on using edible herbs and flowers for their taste and beauty as well as their medicinal properties. It is a convergence of art and living food, where the plate is the canvas upon which fresh, organic, heirloom produce creates the painting.

Over the years Chantel has discovered a universal truth. “There are only a few basic fundamental principals when it comes to being a chef – passion, consistency and simplicity”. She believes that we should seek out to enhance our food, our health, and our lives.

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For many chefs, the most powerful tools of inspiration are experiences and Chantel and her team travel annually in pursuit of culinary discoveries.

It gives her a chance to experience, listen and be influenced by different cultures and tastes. She has gained a huge wealth of knowledge as well from her extensive travels to some of the world’s finest restaurants in Italy, Portugal, Madeira, Spain and France. Chantel is constantly on the lookout for the unique and wonderful. – She rarely can resist a beautiful plate or piece of porcelain and work closely with various artists to create petite masterpieces to showcase her cuisine at its best.

Chantel says her global travels have helped to develop her palate and challenged her to experiment even more with food. Inspired not only by her travels abroad, but also by the setting of the Restaurant Mosaic at The orient in the Francolin Conservacy, she is passionate about using organic and seasonal produce.

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Chantel draws her inspiration from Restaurant Mosaic’s lush surroundings and the abundance of plant life in the Francolin Conservancy, where there are no distractions from the beauty of nature. Sourcing the best seasonal ingredients and working closely with local farmers and suppliers is an important aspect of Chantel’s food philosophy.

“It’s very important for any chef to create a strong bond with suppliers – especially the local farmers. I find the best way to do this is to visit the farms where the produce is grown and the animals are reared. We can take small steps towards helping to create awareness and pass this knowledge to our staff and our guests.”

She goes to great lengths to source her organic and fresh produce from local family farms and suppliers in her community – ensuring that only the purest produce is served at Mosaic, all the while being aware of their origins and roots. Dartnall’s good relationship with the farmers in her area brings another level of excellence to Restaurant Mosaic.

Since inception, Mosaic has focused on uplifting the local community by employing them in the Restaurant as well as the hotel and developing both their skill sets and confidence. Quite a few of the longest standing members of the kitchen and front of house teams did not have any formal training or restaurant experience before they started at Mosaic, yet over the years, their skills were developed and with new knowledge gained, they now will be able to work in the best establishments around the world.

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Chantel is among the elite in the food world. Her Restaurant Mosaic is listed amongst the top 200 best restaurants in the world by the prestigious LaListe awards. She has twice been named South African Chef of the Year at the annual Eat Out Restaurant Awards. She received the title as the Best Female Chef in World for 2017, and was also named the Chef of the Year for Africa and the Middle East by the prestigious Luxury Travel Guide Awards in the same year. Chantel was placed at number 32 of the best chefs in the world by The Best Chef Awards Top 100 list for 2017, the highest positioned woman and one of only three to make the top 50.