Behind-The-Scenes for Episode 3, The One with the Real Ooh La La
As you will have gathered by now, The Food Barn in Noordhoek is one of my very favourite restaurants in all of anywhere. It’s nestled in a cosy spot in the sleepy village of Noordhoek just near Cape Town, and it’s flanked by a few of my other favourite food spots too, Cafe Roux (brunches deluxe), The Toad (beer and burger heaven), and The Food Barn Deli (pastry’s surely made by angels).
Franck Dangereux is the head chef and co-owner of The Food Barn, a venture that he and his business partner and friend Pete started together a few years ago. Before that, Franck was the head chef at the esteemed and much loved Cape Town restaurant La Colombe, with a string of local and international accolades to his name. And besides serving up some of the best food in the country, Food-Barn food is made with love and a lot of very refreshing and endearing pretentiousless-ness.
I have always admired Franck and his work, and living just down the road for a few years meant we didn’t need to look far for an excuse to pop in and enjoy his amazing food. He also hosts the loveliest winter demonstrations which you can enjoy from a comfy seat with a glass of wine.
The chance to cook with Franck first landed in my lap when I started working with Cape Town based production company Sunrise Productions on the pilot for ‘bitten.’ back in February 2011. We had three days, a very teeny crew and a very amazing director named Dereck. After brainstorming the concept, we thought it would be brilliant to cook at one of my favourite local spots, so I picked up the phone and cold-called Franck. And I really didn’t expect such a warm reception. In fact, he went as far as saying ‘would you like me wiz my closes off, or wiz my clozes on?’ and so, we were all set.
Cooking with Franck the second time round for the actual show was obviously a lot different. We moved into his restaurant with our dozen-strong crew and pretty much took over for a (blustery raining-sideways) day. None of which seemed to faze Franck and his well-oiled team. His head chef Kerry gave us a warm welcome and we all felt immediately at home in his kitchen at at The Food Barn. Which, I am sure, would make Franck’s heart happy to hear, because I get the feeling that he likes nothing more than people feeling at home around his food.
In short, filming Episode 3 was absolutely definitely a firm favourite for all of us. And not just because of Franck’s flair and finesse in the kitchen, but because he’s a husband, father and friend to so many before all of that, and his food does not define him, he always makes room for life to happen around his food.
Franck’s head chef Kerry has worked with him for over 10 years and is indispensable to his team.
Here’s the crazy moment where Franck told me to call out the table order to the kitchen, it was totally un-staged and actually fully terrifying.
Michael Olivier, my friend and a favourite South African food and wine guru, brought gorgeous wine to share with the fruits of our kitchen labours.
After causing some very merry kitchen chaos, the following day found us setting up camp in Franck’s real life kitchen at home. We all loved seeing Franck at home, and meeting his lovely wife, Sammy (who I’ve decided has the most exquisite taste, having had a hand in the decor for the restaurant as well as their beautifully quirky and eclectic home), and boys Xavier and Eli plus their menagerie of animals (don’t you LOVE Charlotte?!).
One of my very favourite moments of the whole TV shoot was discovering a little something special on Franck’s bookshelf which, he tells me, is a favourite of his son Xavier.
(second book from the right if you need a nudge).
Did I mention that it was freezing cold and raining? Nevertheless, Farrell, Chris, myself and Nick braved the great outdoors for you!
The Food Barn serves only sustainable SASSI green-listed fish on their menu.
Franck is also passionate about ‘nose-to-tail’ eating and there is always an offal on his menu.
The Hake dish we ate comes from Franck’s latest, and beautiful, book ‘Feast At Home‘.
Read more about Michael Olivier here.
More about Franck
Born in Cannes, Franck’s early years were surrounded by flavour. “My earliest memories are strongly connected to food… My gran who lived in Nice cooked delicious food for us – rabbit with red wine, cep mushrooms and prunes. Asparagus with a vinegary, creamy sauce, strawberries with homemade custard.”
At 15 he started at the Nice Hotel School and then trained with Roger Verge of Moulin de Mougins. After stints at two Michelin 3-star restaurants in Paris, Franck travelled to St Bart in the Caribbean where he started a laid back restaurant at the top of a hill. Further travels lured him to Cape Town where after working with Franck Swainston at Uitsig, he started La Colombe where he was placed 28th on the list of the world’s 50 best restaurants. Quite an achievement, yet his approach is philosophical… “It is not about the winning of awards, but the enjoyment of cooking. The award should really go to the patrons who walk through the door” he says.
For Franck, The Foodbarn is an incredibly exciting challenge at a new stage in his life… “Pete and I own this place; it is our hard earned cash that is invested here. At the same time, we are also motivated by spending time with our families. This is quite something to juggle but there is less pressure and more fun. I want to train my team to become passionate about food… they are keen to learn”.