GiGi Rooftop is teaming up with the executive chef Guy Bennett on the new restaurant to open in April this year at Gorgeous George, Cape Town. Bennett has wielded his knives at top restaurants in Cape Town, most recently Grande Provence Heritage Estate and the One & Only, and is looking forward to creating European-style cuisine with some unique flourishes for the GiGi menu.
South African-born Bennett got his first taste of the food markets in Paris on a family trip to Europe at the tender age of 7 – an experience that made a huge impression on the youngster. “The variety of fresh produce and being able to interact with the farmers was eye-opening for me as a child, and it was something we didn’t get to see much of in South Africa,” he says.
He grew up in a family that enjoyed cooking together, and Bennett could often be found in the kitchen with his mother and grandmothers. “My father is Afrikaans, so there was a strong culture of braaiing in our family, a very South African thing to do on weekends.” This gave the aspiring young chef a unique connection to cooking and further confidence in his kitchen skills.
After a gap year in the United Kingdom working at a café in Surrey, Bennett enrolled for the Paarl (South Africa)-based Hurst Campus Advanced Food and Wine Chefs diploma, which he completed in 2009.
Bennett is looking forward to introducing some of his new and unique touches to the menu at GiGi Rooftop at Gorgeous George. “Our philosophy at Gorgeous George is ‘come for breakfast, stay all day’, so the menu will have a relaxed feel, using some classic French techniques, while also drawing on all my experiences, which include Asian fusion, South African and modern UK influences,” he says.
Being part of Design Hotels, GiGi will stay true to the ideology of innovative design and architecture, with a strong cultural rooting in hospitality. This will be brought out in the menu, which will benefit from cutting-edge cooking techniques, distinctive plating and seasonal locally sourced ingredients.