Read the journal of tastemaker Chef Arno Janse van Rensburg
Read the Tastmaker Journal of Chef Arno Janse van Rensburg, part of Weylandts' new editorial project

Considering Weylandts’ distinct aesthetic style as it stands today, it’s hard to imagine that it all began as a traditional furniture manufacturer in Namibia, 1964. With their new addition of the Tastemaker Journal, guest writer Dominique Vieira finds out more about the very first installment.

Over the generations, Weylandts has masterfully crafted itself into the household name that it is today, pursuing design that ‘inspires others to live well’. A visit to any of their seven retail showrooms will give you a glimpse into the beautifully clean, minimal design aesthetic with an ‘African heartbeat’ that has become synonymous with the name Weylandts.

The Kitchen at Maison, in Franschhoek | Image © The Kitchen at Maison

There is a distinct crossover of influences, with design and style finding its place in food, travel and décor in the Weylandts aesthetic. This makes their new online editorial project – the Tastemakers’ Journal – an especially apt and intriguing addition to their repertoire – as a kind of meeting point for influence and style aesthetic across the arts.

The Tastemakers Journals will be featured on their site and will showcase their selected Tastemakers, from food geniuses to envy-inducing, luxurious travel bugs. These Journals will be a little luxurious, a little inspiring and a little indulgent but ultimately, they will give some unique insight into the stories behind the arts that DECO readers love so much.

The idea is to try and keep things as natural as possible

Weylandts Naturalist Collection
Weylandts’ Naturalist Collection works with Chef Arno’s preferred aesthetic

Weylandts’ first Tastemaker to open up their journal to us is the talented Chef Arno Janse van Rensburg, head-chef at the award-winning Kitchen at Maison Restaurant in Franschhoek. This restaurant is on most people’s bucket list (including DECO’s) and after getting a glimpse of Arno’s Tastemaker Journal, we can most definitely see why.

Chef Arno began his adventure as the Head Chef at The Kitchen, at the ripe young age of 26, after winning a challenging seven-course cook-off with Chris Weylandts himself. Chef Arno views cooking in the same way that one would view art – unique and highly personal.

He has an eye for creating beauty and is inspired by nature, sourcing local produce from premium suppliers or carefully selecting seasonal fruit and vegetables from the Maison Estate Garden.

Some of the ingredients used for one of Chef Arno’s dishes at the Tastemaker’s Journal | Image © Weylandts Tastemaker Journal
Arno, to where do you turn for presentation and plating inspiration?

I turn to nature while also considering the current season. The idea is to try and keep things as natural as possible – not necessarily simple – but using what we have and altering the molecular structure to enhance the ingredients, and ultimately the dish.

Is there one recipe creation of which you are particularly proud?

There’s one thing we did a while ago – we fermented some kale, as we had a lot of it growing on the farm. We basically salted the kale and left it. After six months I rediscovered it and we tasted it – it was delicious. We then deep-fried it and it was even better. So to answer your question: six-month fermented deep-fried kale! I’m proud of that one.

Chef Arno’s delicious dessert for the Tastemakers Journal | Image © Weylandts Tastemaker Journal
What elements do you think contribute greatly to meal satisfaction?

I think it’s the whole experience – from kitchen to table. The chef ought to know what he or she is doing. In turn, the front of house ought to know what the chef is doing, so it all translates into a memorable experience for the guests. Today’s diners want to know what to expect but still be surprised and delighted upon presentation. So to answer your question in one word: synergy. Reinvention is also important, to avoid getting lost amongst everyone else out there.

Chef Arno believes that creativity is achieved by pursuing innovation and setting oneself new challenges. No dish is ever repeated after each season’s menu at The Kitchen – we can’t wait to book our next visit.

Image © Weylandts Tastemaker Journal


This was just a little something to whet your appetite. Click here if you would like to read more from Chef Arno, or to start looking forward to reading all about upcoming Tastemaker, Dawn Jorgensen.

You can also like their Facebook page.

LIKED THIS?: Then you’ll love DECO eat: Dining with Spasie and Chef Jaco Redelinghuys and Tasty tastemakers: The Kitchen at Weylandts

Dominique VieiraDominique Vieira is a self-proclaimed health-food nut, bookworm and ‘words girl’. She is a lover of beautiful things, real human connections, and of course, delicious food. When she isn’t living the café life, working on her healthy-food and lifestyle blog or doing yoga, you’ll probably catch her trying to figure out a way to text her dogs back home in Joburg. Follow Dom’s adventures on Instagram at @domandrea.