James Gaag

Restaurant:  La Colombe

Episode:  Episode 01


Im 27 years old, German/South African.Ive been working at La Colombe for almost 6 years.I started as a Student in 2010 and worked my way up through the ranks in the kitchen to Sous Chef. I left La Colombe in 2013 to work for Raymond Blanc and Gary Jones at Le Manoir aux quat'saisons. I was made Head Chef of La Colombe in 2014 when we relocated.

The production in the kitchen has changed recently. Where before diners could choose between a la Carte or tasting menu, we have now moved towards tasting only. We offer a shorter 6 course and the longer 9 course menu, but we still allow for a little choice between courses. with all the little extras we serve about 600 dishes a service.. twice a day, 7 days a week. so it works out to about 8400 dishes a week.

La Colombe is one of the most awarded Restaurants in South Africa, but most recently we were awarded the Eat Out Awards number 2 Restaurant in the country. Scot scooped the San Pellegrino Chef of the Year and we were just voted no. 76 in the world by San Pellegrino.

Awards of my own are probably to junior to mention.I was Sunday Times student chef of the year, I won the first ever Showcook Rising Stars with Annette Kessler. Reuben was a judge for one of them but I can’t remember which. I competed in a lot of competitions (Nestle, Unilever, Chaine de rotissieur) when I was younger and studying, but since my focus has been on my work at La Colombe.

La Colombe is Ranked locally as the No.2 Restaurant in the country by Eat Out. Internationally La Colombe is ranked as No. 76 restaurant in the world by San Pellegrino. We were rated as the highest ranked South African Restaurant in the world on the french La Liste at No.228

I have 28 permanent staff and 10 students from Colleges around the country.