Tour Date: 9th to the 16th of June, 2017
THE UNSTOPPABLE LUKE DALE ROBERTS
South Africa, Cape Town, October 2015; LUKE DALE ROBERTS is a name synonymous with the finest, most creative and innovative food in South Africa. With a string of awards and consistent international recognition since opening The Test Kitchen in 2010 and The Pot Luck Club in 2011, his position as a force to reckon with on the global food scene is becoming increasingly apparent.
In the twenty odd years since he first put on his chef’s whites, Luke has travelled the world, working in some of the best restaurants in London and Europe, followed by five years in Asia, eventually making his way to South Africa. Cape Town foodies will remember the impression he made at La Colombe, winning the Constantia landmark a string of awards. So it’s understandable then that his move to open his own eateries was met with great celebration.
Time magazine pinpointed the date November 24, 2010, as the day “Woodstock officially became Cape Town’s hottest district… when Luke Dale Roberts opened The Test Kitchen there.” Worthy praise indeed.
As its name implies, The Test Kitchen, affords Luke the opportunity for maximum innovation as a chef, as well as being a space to use as “the creative hub” for a variety of different projects, including regular cooking demonstrations. “It symbolises a stage in a creative process,” he says. The intimate 60-seater restaurant provides guests with the option of a casual or more formal dining experience, but always a taste of Luke’s apparently limitless culinary imagination and exquisite presentations.
At the end of 2011 Luke opened The Pot Luck Club – a ‘sharing-style’ Asian-influenced eatery, which, like its sibling has wowed guests since the day it opened its doors. Thanks to its popularity, Luke relocated The Pot Luck Club to a larger space within The Old Biscuit Mill where up to 100 guests can enjoy the spoils on offer in designtastic surrounds.
With two popular restaurants under his watchful gaze, Luke is indeed a busy man, yet his desire to constantly seek out and share food innovations using the best local ingredients seems endless. The result is that both restaurants heave with grateful diners at every sitting. Some of these diners have included international food critics, Hollywood celebrities and heavyweight politicians and all would agree that Luke is an undoubted name to know. Despite the high regard with which he is held and the quality of his menu offerings Luke remains absolutely approachable and neither of his eateries display the stuffiness one might expect from a top notch, world-class restaurant.
Since opening The Test Kitchen, Luke has won the Chef of the Year award at the 2011 Eat Out DStv Food Network Restaurant Awards while The Test Kitchen moved up from No.2 in 2011 to win the coveted title of Restaurant of the Year for four years in a row: 2012 and 2013 Eat Out DStv Food Network Restaurant Awards, and 2014 and 2015 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards, South Africa’s very own ‘Foodie Oscars’.
Last year The Test Kitchen was voted “Best in Africa” and ranked 28th place in San Pellegrino’s The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Previously placed at 48th in 2014, 61st in 2013, and 74th in 2012 after its opening late 2010.
In 2013 Luke travelled to Australia and the famed wine and food-producing Margaret River Valley for the Margaret Rivers Gourmet Escape. The event, one of the most important on the Australian culinary calendar.
“I think the secret to the success of the restaurants so far is that every single person who works here is completely and utterly committed to doing their level best every single day – from the selection of the produce we work with, to presenting each dish on the plate,” says Luke.