The Cargo Hold’s executive Chef Warren Frantz is passionate about food – particularly about his menu at the uShaka Marine World restaurant. He describes his style as contemporary but classic with African and Indonesian influences.
He attributes his more traditional style to his experiences at the many hotels at which he has worked as well as the chefs who have mentored him. The local twist comes from and an appreciation of local flavours as well as a love for fresh, quality, home grown ingredients.
His career has taken him from terrace café’s to up market a la carte restaurants, from buffets to banquets. His CV lists the Lord Charles in Somerset West, Five Flies in Cape Town, Amsterdam’s Restaurant d’VjiffVliegen, NH Plettenberg Bay, The Riviera on Vaal Hotel and the Five Star Country Club Johannesburg -Auckland Park and Woodmead as just some of the venues that have enjoyed his culinary skills.
Tell us a bit about how & why you came to be a chef?
I found my way into the kitchen whilst working weekends at a five star hotel. I saw these passionate people in the kitchen, and just fell in love with food – its origin, its history, how to bring out its true and potentially best flavours. I love everything about food.
What inspires you to cook?
“Inspiration comes from within! It comes from all around you. I’ve got a natural passion for cooking and I get inspiration from many sources. It could be from a shop, television, a book, a conversation or even the season. Sometimes I wake up in the morning with some new and interesting ideas that come out when I create the specials for the day.”
What can diners expect from the Cargo Hold menu?
The Cargo Hold’s menu, which changes twice a year, reflects both my love for seafood, such as the freshest line fish and shell fish and my enjoyment of rich, full flavours when it comes to chicken or red meat. Although I don’t have one particular signature dish, my favourites include a Trio of Salmon – a compilation of salmon trout, confit and tartare with capers, shallots and dill accompanied by a baby salad – and beef fillet with crushed new potatoes, topped with feta, blue cheese, fig preserve and a rosemary truffle jus.
What’s your recipe for success?
When it comes to creating a dish, the rule is “keep it simple!” When it comes to building a professional career, it’s hard work, commitment and plenty of passion, seasoned with a sense of humour. Becoming a truly professional chef is all about hard work, passion and commitment, constantly researching and searching for that perfect dish and understanding people and how they relate to food. You need to realize that success doesn’t happen overnight.
What are some of the challenges you face in the Cargo Hold kitchen?
“An executive chef needs to have his finger on the pulse in his kitchen. I would say the main challenge is getting your staff on the same ‘page’ and wavelength as you, especially when it comes to the finer details. That goes back to continuous training and planning.”
Working in a kitchen can be stressful. How do you like to unwind?
Foodie magazines, recipe books and the food channel are my way of unwinding outside the kitchen – although I also loves adventure sports. Overall, I endeavor to achieve a happy medium between work, family time, health and travel. I live life to the fullest. After all you only get one shot at it.
What kind of food do you like to cook at home?
There’s nothing like good old home cooked dishes – from a simple roast chicken with roasted vegetables to grilled Rib Eye Steak with a béarnaise sauce. However, top of my menu is chicken curry and roti.
Who are some of your favourite chefs & what would you cook them for dinner?
Auguste Escoffier, Jamie Oliver, Ainsley Harriet and Gordon Ramsey. They would be served up a local feast – langoustines, crayfish, lamb, game, chocolate, local cheeses and lots of local wines!