Hanging out with my homeboy Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen at the glittering Private Hotel School in Vlottenburg yesterday, I experienced a curious case of déjà vu. Which makes sense as Jan Hendrik owns a restaurant called Jan in Nice and has just been gifted a Michelin *. Which is like an award from Eat Out but with credibility rather than a table by the toilet at the Chunder Dome. Of course Jan Hendrik is a reincarnation of another Jan Hendrik, Boom, the gardener of the VOC who grew the grapes that made the first SA wine in the Company’s Garden.
For Jan Hendrik is the best thing to happen to SA wine marketing since Su Birch, Queen of WOSA, was pensioned off. For Jan Hendrik lists SA wine in his restaurant. And while wine importers posing as UCT professors pontificate on Christian’s tiny website on why SA export sales are down in spite of rave reviews from a trio of UK wine “experts” few consumers have ever heard of, Jan Hendrik addresses the 4Ps of marketing: product, price, place and promotion directly. The poor old wine lizard ticks none of these boxes, so up his own regeneratable tail is he. And shame on the site for not disclosing the lizard’s massive conflict of interests that make his arguments dubious and spurious.
Jan Hendrik thinks its a skande that no one has brought the Michelin planetarium franchise to SA. Speak softly, Jan Hendrik, as dastardly Diners Club are seriously into stars. But they’ve made such a stuff-up of the Platter variety, if they tackled food they’d make an even bigger mess than Freak Out (surely Eat Out? ed.) I realized that Jan Hendrik was joking when he admitted his Michelin * is nothing compared to the stars of the Karoo. And he comes from Middelburg, Mpumalanga. Heck his first job was selling sacks of mielies for R10 in the car park of the local cafe.
From the parking lot he moved to cars and a blue Datsun 120Y in particular which he called his bloujob. Now home is the south of France with an app on his iPhone that let’s him peek into every saucepan of the three SA chefs in his kitchen, while on his travels in his Rolls-Royce, showing winners of an upcoming Sunday Times competition the bright lights of the cote d’azur.
This gives a new meaning to voyeurism. Now all he needs is an app to transmit smells over the interwebs and he can settle in Oak City and cook remotely. Heck, he could distribute his talents and run hundreds of kitchens each with their own galaxy of Michelin stars. Distributed gastronomy. The mind boggles.