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Hospitality gets this chef going

“As a young schoolboy I sold boerewors rolls and jaffels over weekends for some pocket money. The thrill of turning a Saturday’s morning effort into a pocket full of cash and the feeling of independents was wonderful.”

This prompted Rudolf van der Berg, chef and co-owner of Burgundy restaurant, to become an entrepreneur.

He said the decision to become a chef was never his main goal. “It simply formed part of a greater plan to become an entrepreneur.”

Van der Berg attended the Institute of Culinary Arts in Stellenbosch, where he completed a two-year diploma course. “In my second year I got chosen to complete eight months of my course in London under Chef Peter Gottgens. I briefly spent time in other famous kitchens.

“We did the private catering for the South African embassy and a lot of private catering for Cheryl Carolus, the High Commissioner at the time. The exposure was wonderful.”

He says one of his biggest achievements as a chef was in 2008, when Camp Jabulani, a five-star lodge in Hoedspruit, where he was chef, achieved Relais & Chateaux status.

“To be the executive chef when that happens is a wonderful privilege. My wife Lezan and I were newly married, and it was a wonderful time to work hard. Lezan was also the assistant manager at the Lodge.”

Van der Berg became co-owner of Burgundy in 2014. He adds his biggest achievement as a young entrepreneur was the day he realised that his business model at Burgundy restaurant is not fear driven anymore, but based on trust.

“That for me was one of my ultimate goals to achieve. The importance of happy staff members is so crucial in any business.”

Preparing food with simplicity paired with consistency is Van der Berg’s food philosophy. “Food and drink is a great passion, but to be hospitable is what makes me exited. To see a 1 000 things come together in a busy restaurant is what makes me excited.”

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