Interview with La Colombe's Scot Kirton

The new Exec Chef at one of SA's top restaurants.

05 Jul 2011
Scot Kirton

Scot Kirton is the new man at the helm of La Colombe.

He has taken over from renowned chef Luke Dale-Roberts and at the tender age of 30, is running one of South Africa's most famous kitchens.

His style is similiar to Luke's (they worked together for 4 years) and is of extremely high standard with serious attention to detail. There is a turn towards more classic French elements whilst still remaining cutting edge.

Check out our glorious gallery of some of his dishes.

Caro de Waal and Sam Wilson took a taste-journey of the menu and chatted to Scot.

Q: You have made it to Executive chef at La Colombe so young, how does that feel?

A: I feel very honoured to have become the Executive chef of such an incredible restaurant at such a young age. I have incredibly big shoes to fill if you look at what the previous two chefs at La Colombe have achieved. But I am looking forward to the challenge.

Q: Is Luke-Dale Roberts still consulting there?

A: Luke and I have decided that it is finally time to part ways after working side by side for 4 years, and that it is time for me to put my own mark on the restaurant.

Q: What is your style of food and how have you changed the menu to best showcase it?

A: I am slowly attempting to make the menu more classical French.

Q: Do you have free reign in the kitchen or are you bound by strict budgets/ideas from owners?

A: I have free reign in the kitchen, the owners are incredibly supportive of what we try to accomplish at La Colombe and help me in any way they can.

Q: What is your philosophy on local produce and how much of it gets onto the menu?

A: I try to use as much local produce as possible, however we do use certain imported items on the menu which cannot be sourced locally, but we will always try to source locally first.

Q: Do you use sous vide and what is your take on this process of cooking?

A: Yes we sous vide to cook a variety of ingredients on our menu, from vegetables to lamb. It is definitely a more consistent and effective method of cooking. It cooks food at low temperatures for a longer period of time resulting in a perfectly tender, evenly cooked product.

Q: How do you plan on keeping La Colombe in the top 50 in the world?

A: We have to keep evolving the menu, keeping up with international trends, and ensure that consistency in quality of food remains the same for years to come.

Q: What is the one thing you can’t do without in the kitchen, and why? Implement and ingredient.

A: Sous vide machine: so many things can be cooked in it, the list is endless.
Butter: not the healthiest way to cook but definitely the tastiest.

Q: What do you think of food bloggers?

A: I love the education that food bloggers provide the average Joe that appreciates a good restaurant meal. As a chef I also have to value all diners’ opinions, it helps if they know what they talking about though.

Q: Who do you think is the best chef in SA and why?

A: Without sounding biased, I still think Luke Dale-Roberts is the best chef in the country, he has an incredible passion for food and is always looking at new techniques to get ahead.

- Caro de Waal

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