White fish sashimi, cashew sambal, frozen lime snow, guava, grapefruit
Serves 4 people
100ml guava juice
1 lime, zest and juice
2 guavas, halved and thinly sliced
Mix together the guava juice and lime zest and juice
Soak the guava slices in the mixture until needed
Frozen Lime Snow
120g cream cheese
1 lime, zested
30ml guava juice
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp lime juice
Mix everything together until well combined
Place a piece of clingwrap (20cm x 20cm) on the counter
Place half the cream cheese mixture on the clingwrap and fold over the clingwrap to create a log. Roll and wrap over the edges
Repeat with the other half of mixture and place both logs in the freezer
Freeze until solid
Try prepare this the night before
15g fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped or grated
80g red onion, finely chopped
15g sesame oil
½ stick lemongrass, halved
60g cashew nuts, toasted and chopped
80g less sodium soy sauce
30g rice wine vinegar
100g grapefruit, peeled and chopped into cubes
Fry the onion, ginger, lemongrass in the sesame oil over medium heat until soft and fragrant
Add cashew nuts, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and pieces of grapefruit
Cook down over medium heat until liquid has reduced and cashews are soft
Place in a container and leave in fridge to cool down until needed
Dill & Coriander Oil
200ml canola oil
1 punnet coriander (30g, stalks removed)
½ punnet dill (stalks removed)
Pinch of salt
Heat the oil and salt in a tall jug in microwave for 45 seconds
Add the herbs into the jug of oil and quickly blend using a hand blender until bright green and herbs are in small pieces
Pour into a bottle and set aside until needed
White fish fillet (carpenter, red roman, santers or seabass would work best, but even yellowtail would be lovely) skin removed and sliced into 3mm thickness slivers
Picked dill fronts
Flowers or blossoms, if available
Lime and microplane, to garnish
Mix the fish sliced with a tablespoon of the cashew sambal and coat well
Place one slice of fish, one slice of guava, one slice of grapefruit and repeat 4 times
Roll up into a flower
Grate the lime snow over the top and garnish with flowers, fresh lime zest and dill fronts
Pour some coriander oil around and VOILA!
Enjoy as an appetizer or scoop up onto a gem lettuce cup or prawn cracker as a fresh snack by the pool.
Chop the white fish and grapefruit into cubes and mix with a tablespoon of the cashew sambal
Place in a cookie cutter or metal ring and press down, to create a flat disc.
Garnish with the slices of guava around the sides, drizzle the coriander oil around and garnish with flowers and herbs.
Grate the snow over the top for a WOW! Factor.
Jess van Dyk
Head chef at Protégé, Franschhoek
Northern Cape born and bred, small town girl Jess van Dyk grew up with a natural love for cooking and food. At a young age she started helping her grandmother skim simmering pots of jam in the kitchen, or would fight her mom for the wooden spoons to help stir and cook the family meals. Her family had a love for dining out and experiencing food in different ways, but it wasn’t until Jess discovered BBC FOOD at the tender age of 10, that her passion really blossomed. She watched chefs like Rick Stein, Gary Rhodes and Nigella Lawson cook away and transformed ingredients into creations she could only dream of, and that’s when a career as a chef stood out clearly compared to any other opportunity.
After a family vacation and another dining experience, Jess learned of Silwood School of Cookery from the chef who cooked the meal. The intimate and exclusive school spiked her interest and within a few months her dad had secretly arranged for her to go for an interview at the school in Cape Town. She was enrolled within a few months, despite the various warnings of inhumane hours, lack of personal life and stress that comes with being a chef, from concerned family and friends.
It was during her first weeks at Silwood that she learned of South African restaurants and chefs who had made the world ranks and lists like La Colombe and Le Quartier Français. ‘I didn’t even know South Africa had restaurants of that caliber and I knew instantly that I wanted to work at these restaurants. Silwood offered me a foot in the door at all of these’ says Jess eagerly. She chose La Colombe as her first ‘in-service block’ after every one of her friends warned her that it would be very intense especially for a 1st year student, which in effect made her want it more.
After completing her third year Grande Diploma at La Colombe, honing her skills under the guidance of Scot Kirton, she stayed on and climbed the ranks to Chef Tournant within the year. La Colombe relocated to Silvermist Wine Estate in 2014, and Jess lead the team as Sous Chef. In December 2015, after being with the La Colombe team for four years, she decided to leave and pursue some new ventures in the food industry. Jess did a stint as private chef before accepting the role of Head Chef at Source Food and Concepts where she got a taste of recipe development, food styling, food photography and videography in the corporate world of cooking. After a year she headed to the Mediterranean and cooked on a private yacht for 11 months, it was during the end of this time, that James Gaag offered her to come back as Head Chef of La Colombe. ‘La Colombe has always been like family, and I knew I wanted to get back into industry- the timing was perfect’ beams Jess.
‘You have to eat, breath and live for this industry, because it will consume you. For you to make a success of it, you have to give it your all. Once you have emerged yourself in it, you will gain so much- but you HAVE to love it’. Jess believes in loving the process, having fun in this job as there is no other career that offers you the freedom to be exactly who you are- weird and wonderful. When asked about her style of cooking, Jess explains it as ‘refined but casual’. She likes food that still looks and taste like good comfort cooking, but looks pretty.