Having worked alongside some of Europe and South Africa’s most acclaimed chefs, Farrel Hirsch comes to Johannesburg as the newly appointed chef of The Four Seasons Hotel, The Westcliff Johannesburg’s flagship eatery. With breathtaking views of Jacaranda’s dotting the Johannesburg skyline during this time of the year, this luxurious set-up with a delectable menu has something for everyone.
When did your journey with food begin? I would say it started with my father, he would always get me to eat things I was not fond of like oysters, mussels and bleu steaks. That helped me step out of my comfort zone and ignited an interest in food. Not to taste is not to know.
How has your upbringing influenced how you cook?I grew up on the coast where life pretty much revolved around the beach. My uncle showed us how to catch octopus and how to pick mussels off the rocks and how to cook them, which is why I love cooking it seafood.
Can you tell us a bit about your new appointment at the View restaurant, what will you and your team be bringing to the new menu?I am extremely excited to be with Four Seasons Hotel, The Westcliff, I feel it’s a great fit for me. The team and I are always looking at ways to improve the food. We are currently planning and preparing for the next menu change, which will be out in a few weeks.
What is the atmosphere like in your kitchen? There is always a buzz in the kitchen, that’s why I love it. Happy chefs make tasty food.
What is your signature dish? I’m not too sure if it’s our signature dish but I do enjoy our ostrich tartare dish, it’s a play on a California roll and guests love it.
What do you like to cook when off duty? I really love Asian flavours like Thai, Japanese, Vietnamese and Indian. It all depends on what’s in the pantry.
What is your cooking philosophy? Keep it fresh, do it daily and keep seasonal.
What is your current favourite ingredients? I am very fond of yuzu and dashi.
What food trends should we be embracing? Keeping it local and seasonal is key!
Which country is culinary heaven for you, and why? So many to choose from but my top two would be France and Japan, the technique and flavours from both countries are phenomenal.
Can you let us in on a cooking secret? Something we can do in our own kitchens? If you don’t have a non-stick pan at home use Spray and Cook. If you want a crispy skin and not a broken one, spray and cook the skin only and it will act like a non-stick pan!
Visit View Restaurant at The Four Seasons Hotel, The Westcliff Johannesburg www.fourseasons.com