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Dirk Gieselmann

Cooking for Dirk Gieselmann was once just a hobby. The Executive Chef at Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff recalls his eureka moment halfway through university. “I wanted to impress my girlfriend by serving her lobster. But I wasn’t sure if the frozen one I had purchased was already cooked. Needless to say I cooked it just in case – and the result was awful! I realised then that I really wanted to learn how to cook professionally.”

Determined to learn the ropes in one of the best restaurants in his home city, Dirk ditched his engineering studies and began an apprenticeship under Uwe Quitter and Maurice de Boer at the former Michelin one- star Restaurant Gala in Aachen, Germany. His hard work paid off, taking him to kitchens all over the world, from La Réserve de Beaulieu and Le Negresco in Nice to the Intercontinental Tahiti Resort in Papeete and New York’s Le Cirque.

Prior to joining Four Seasons, he spent seven years as chef de cuisine alongside owner Marc Haeberlin at the famed Michelin three-star Auberge de l’Ill restaurant in Illhauesern in France’s Alsace region.

While travel and mentoring by great chefs has played an important role in shaping Dirk’s career, he believes that reading about the rich culinary traditions of different countries has been essential to developing as a chef. “You must soak up as much as possible. My whole life revolves around food,” he says.

The move to Johannesburg in 2014 opened an exciting new chapter for Dirk. “This is an incredibly vibey, bustling city,” he says. “I’m really excited about creating dining experiences that embrace Joburg’s energy and showcase the exceptional local produce and wines.”


Veronica Canha-Hibbert

Executive Chef at luxury Ellerman House, Veronica Canha-Hibbert was born in Wellington in the Western Cape and says she was inspired to cook from a young age thanks to her mother’s inspiring feats in the kitchen. She started her career in 1999 at the Belmond Mount Nelson as an apprentice under acclaimed South African chef Garth Stroebel. After qualifying, she packed her bags and moved to England, where she worked at various ve-star establishments before returning to Cape Town and taking the reins at Ellerman House in 2008.

A Relais & Châteux property, the 11-bedroom boutique hotel combines a spectacular view of the Atlantic Ocean, an impressive private art collection and gourmet cuisine in a modern European style using quality local ingredients. “You need to re ect the feel of a place, my recipes are not transferable,” says Veronica.

“Ellerman House offers me the opportunity to be creative everyday,” she says. “Boredom is never an issue as we are constantly creating new menus and dishes daily. We are also privileged to work with the best produce available. Ellerman House is a family; we work closely together and there is a genuine feeling of camaraderie between the various departments as our main goal is guest satisfaction.”


Manuel Cabello

Born in Viña del Mar in Chile, Manuel has a rich background in the wine and hospitality industries. After nishing his studies, he worked at wineries in the Casablanca Valley, as well as in local night clubs. With the goal of travelling the world, Manuel then moved to Miami to join the cruise industry. After years serving as the Beverage Manager on various cruises, he ran his own bed-and-breakfast in Chile for two years and worked as a sommelier for ve years.

Certi ed by the Court of Master Sommeliers Americas, Manuel was lucky enough to travel to renowned wine regions around the world to further his already formidable wine repertoire. While expanding his wine palate, he found himself in Cape Town, where he decided to settle down.

He now works as the Head Sommelier at Ellerman House, a Relais & Châteaux boutique hotel renowned for its excellent service. There he manages the 8 000-bottle cellar and one of the most prestigious and award-winning wine lists in the country. He is also busy preparing for the advanced certi cation of the Court of Master Sommeliers.