South Africa: The Rise and Rise of Jan-Hendrik Van Der Westhuizen

analysis

Jan-Hendrik van der Westhuizen is taking a big bite of the South African food scene. He's chef and owner of JAN, a one-Michelin-starred restaurant in the old part of Nice, France, but there's more than that.

Like Jamie and Nigella, Jan's kitchen skill, good looks and charm come together as an appealing, hugely popular food brand. Social media, aspirational cookbooks and high-end restaurant experiences are his calling cards.

Jan's brand identity is the Middelburg, Mpumalanga, farm boy who decided to cook with mom and the late Ouma Maria, then worked hard to create a restaurant name overseas, incorporating the rusks and Cremora coffee creamer in smart tasting menus alongside Boeuf Bourguignon and Roquefort, to educate about and elevate ingredients South Africans are nostalgic about, styling them with classic French finesse.

On 3 February 2020, the second season of JAN, the TV series, makes its debut. The pilot opens with an aerial view of the chef bobbing in the Mediterranean swell in swimming trunks. A clue that with Jan, you should expect drama.

Episodes document places, people and food in France, Italy and Monaco, switching between English, Afrikaans and French. It's anecdotal, emotional and interesting, showing beautiful plates, shots of falling...

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