Cape Town - 21 May 2014
The Madame Zingara Group has been awarded The Company’s Garden Restaurant Tender.
When the City of Cape Town opened this historical site for public tender in June 2013 as part of the Company’s Garden revitalisation project, the Madame jumped at the opportunity to be a part of this cultural gem in the heart of our wonderful city. After deliberation, the City Council decided that Madame Zingara met all the requirements and so awarded them the coveted tender.
“We are humbled and extremely excited by the opportunity to transform this restaurant into a place where all walks of life can continue to enjoy this iconic space. We take the sense of community, heritage and cultural pride very seriously and will continue to take great care to involve the people of Cape Town in celebrating this public jewel. On this journey we have been very privileged to not only work on this exciting tender, but to gain an incredible amount of insight into the this beautiful city that we call home.”
– Richard Griffin, Founder and Creative Director - Madame Zingara
The Story of Haarlem & Hope
Why did Madame Zingara tender? Madame Zingara’s core business is hospitality and entertainment and our five other city restaurants are testament to our love affair with the Mother City. We revel in Cape Town’s history and culture and this heritage site resonated with us on all levels. Therefore, we naturally felt the Zingara magic would flourish in The Company’s Garden.
What is our vision?
Haarlem & Hope will be an inclusive venue for local and international visitors to enjoy these historical gardens and we will strive to educate young and old on the cultural value of the site while offering a tranquil haven from the buzzing city that surrounds it. Recreational opportunities and community events will further encourage people to use the space interactively while celebrating life in the heart of the Mother City.
“We had a strong desire to protect the site and the restaurant will remain 100% inclusive to the city’s people and its visitors; not only aesthetically, but on price point too. Every person who leaves this establishment will leave with a greater and enthused understanding of our city. We’ve followed design principals which have allowed an educational foundation to be brought to the community through interactive and playful elements” says Richard Griffin.
What will happen to the current staff?
Fundamentally, we would look to keeping all staff currently employed by the existing operator. Our vision is to place an executive chef and restaurant manager, as well as implementing our highly successful Future Leaders Program.
The current staff would thereby be capacitated to grow, acquire new skills and ultimately lead through our skills program within the business itself. We would need to do the labour assessment prior to implementation; however, we have been able to retain all staff in similar acquisitions. While it’s not always an easy route to take, we have seen the long-term benefits to the individuals and the group as a whole.
What is the design concept?
Although we don’t want to give too much away regarding the look and feel of the restaurant, we can tell you that the décor will be greatly influenced by the surrounding gardens and historical buildings – with a modern take.
Why we chose the name: The First Planting…
In 1647 the Dutch ship, the Nieuwe Haarlem, was wrecked in a storm in Table Bay – thereby changing the course of Southern Africa’s history. The captain commanded a junior merchant, Leendert Janzen, to stay with the ship and her valuable cargo of silks and spices while the rest of the fleet continued to Holland.
Janzen and about 60 crewmembers waited for a whole year before a homeward-bound fleet picked them up. In this time they planted the first seeds in the Cape, growing vegetables and bartering fresh meat from the Peninsula Khoi people.
When a Holland-bound fleet eventually picked up our intrepid gardeners, Jan Van Riebeeck was on board, being sent home in disgrace after contravening the regulations against private trade.
He was so enthralled by their stories of sweet water and good soil that he returned 5 years later with the blessing of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) to set up a permanent refreshment station in the Cape. The Company’s Gardens was South Africa’s first formal garden, cultivated to provide fresh produce to the passing ships en route to the East.