After fifteen exhilarating years, during which she has delighted thousands of guests and received dozens of local and international awards, Hartbeespoort chef, Chantel Dartnall, is closing the doors of her beloved Restaurant Mosaic at The Orient Hotel.
Named as Best Female Chef in the World in 2017 and Chef of the Year by the Hospitality Counsel, Dartnell has achieved international recognition for her outstanding culinary skills. but it is time to move on, she says.
“All I can say is that it is time for me to close this book and take a different volume from the shelf – or better yet, to start writing another one. The wonderful wide world beckons and my next journey will determine what the new story will be for me to write. Maybe, in time to come and on my return, when I cannot resist the urge, the doors will be flung open again to share my new creations during a festive feast with a select few of our guests.”
Dartnell said that lockdown gave everyone a chance to take stock. “I have been considering this brave new adventure for a while, and this period helped to solidify my decision. We have attained all the goals we set out for ourselves and I will look back on our accomplishments with gratitude and humility, and at the same time I will embrace exciting new challenges!”
For now, Chantel will divide her time between her secret hideaway in the southern Cape and La Ville Lumière, Paris, where new projects and further studies await her. She will be focusing on her cookbook she has been working on for the past three years, sharing recipes and insights. She wants to share this with the world and culinary peers. And not to worry, she reassures her foodie fans, “This is not the end of Chantel Dartnall the chef – I will also be furthering my knowledge of European cuisine, focusing on my French language studies and enhancing my technical skills.”
When she opened Restaurant Mosaic in 2006, she had a vision: to introduce to South Africa’s culinary landscape the finesse, flavour, and artistry unique to her style of Botanical Cuisine. She knew she had something special to offer.. Guests began to travel from near and far to the Francolin Conservancy at Hartbeespoort – from across Gauteng, South Africa, and the world. Chantel’s creativity and innovation have been widely admired by gourmets, and she is one of South Africa’s most decorated chefs: named TBC Best Female Chef in the World in 2017 and Chef of the Year by the Hospitality Counsel, the Restaurant Association of South Africa, the Haute Grandeur Global Restaurant Awards and the Eat Out Awards (twice). Restaurant Mosaic has been listed among the top 100 restaurants in the world for some time, and is also acclaimed for its expansive but carefully curated wine cellar, having won numerous awards as one of the best wine cellars in the world.
“I am proud that I have been able to pioneer Botanical Cuisine locally and it has been gratifying to see that a variety of chefs and restaurants have incorporated some aspects of this style into their own repertoires. My team and I have achieved all that we could have hoped for. We now leave behind a proud legacy as one of the top fine dining restaurants in South Africa, having also established a solid international presence.” Restaurant Mosaic has helped to put South Africa on the map as a gastro-tourism destination. The global media coverage it has received has brought many visitors from abroad.
She will start her new chapter next year, after presenting her final dinner service at Restaurant Mosaic on Friday 26 March 2021.
But a restaurant, of course, is nothing without its guests. “I will miss our incredible guests and the support we have received from the start.” While she is saying goodbye to her Mosaic “family” of colleagues and guests, this new departure for Chantel gives her the chance to enjoy much-needed personal and family time.
Chantel looks forward to taking up the numerous invitations she has received from fellow chefs all over the world to join them in their kitchens.