My friend Karen and I went to the Discovery Healthy Food Studio on Monday night for a masterclass with Jan Hendrik.

A few weeks ago, she’d spotted an evening soiree with Jan Hendrik advertised on Facebook in Wellington. We very nearly booked that… but thankfully she spotted this event on Facebook. So we had an amazing night out in Sandton instead. Much closer to home!

Jan Hendrik, if you didn’t know… is a South African chef with a restaurant called JAN in Nice France. Not only that, but he’s the only South African with a Michelin star! Yip, now that’s why we went to the master class.

The masterclass

The masterclass was such a fantastic experience. We got to sip on fabulous Spier wines while we watched Jan Hendrik cook and listen to him talking about food and about his career and restaurant.

It was so interesting. He started out as a chef on a private yacht in Monte Carlo… and went on to start this restaurant. I love that he hires South Africans and that his present sommelier is a South African!

He brought a slab of the most delicious butter from France for us to try. It was sublime! So salty, and so very yummy!

I think part of the reason why the evening was so enjoyable, was the way he interacted with the audience. I really liked that everyone got to switch seats so everyone had an opportunity to see him cook up close. I liked the way he brought the food around. He passed the butter and dehydrated joghurt along the rows so everyone could see, feel and taste the ingredients.

After he plated the dessert, he stood and chatted to everyone about his life and his food.

A three course dinner

After the class, we got to eat the magnificent food that he’d been showing us how to make.

The first course was a cold melon soup. It was made with coconut milk and lemon grass, and had fried onions in it. The idea is you eat the amazing refreshing soup, then the melon… and then the salad that was in the bowl!

The main meal was confit duck with the most amazing vegetables. It was served with peas (cooked in clarified butter), asparagus, macadamia nuts in white chocolate. The taste was incredible and not sweet at all, which surprised me a lot. This was a pretty rich dish so I was thankful for the fresh starter and the tart dessert.

The coconut lemon tart was the dessert, and was served with blackberry sorbet and dehydrated joghurt. I didn’t leave a single morsel from this dish!

Signed recipe book

I got to take home a signed recipe book, which will be used quite a bit. I really like the french/afrikaans food fusion that he’s so well known for.

Photo credit: Phillip Santos

It really was an amazing evening, and I’ve now got something new to add to my bucket list. I not only want to visit his restaurant in Nice, but I’d LOVE to go on one of his food experience tours. The one he’s got planned for 2018 sounds absolutely incredible!

You get to shop in the Nice markets with him, forage for food, stay in a villa and he cooks some of the meals! I would love to do that.

If you’re keen to see Jan Hendrik in action while he’s in South Africa, then have a look at the soirĂ©e planned in Wellington in December at Jackie Burger’s Salon 58. Now that sounds like it’ll be an amazing experience.