Design Indaba 2014 Interview – The chef’s role is so much bigger than just food

David Higgs is the executive chef at the Saxon Boutique Hotel’s Five Hundred restaurant in Johannesburg, South Africa. In this exclusive interview, the culinary master tells us about the local development of the restaurant industry, growing food locally, the role of the chef and what the Design Indaba Conference audience can look forward to at this year’s event.After working at the renowned fine dining restaurant Rust en Vrede for five years, Higgs began working as the executive chef at the Saxon Boutique Hotel in 2013, where his style of culinary genius changed dramatically. His immediate surroundings have a profound influence on the dishes he creates: “space dictates a lot of what you put on a plate,” he adds.One of his more famous dishes currently on the menu at Five Hundred is the Ndebele Salmon, in which he resembles the craft of beading transforming caviar and salmon into an intricate food creation.

We have incredible ingredients in South Africa and so my food has a strong local flavour and look, says Higgs.

For Higgs, it is incredible to note the growth from where food was 25 years ago to where it is currently in South Africa: “the chef’s role has become so much bigger than just food,” he says. Today’s chefs are able to dictate how a plate looks and is designed, which is necessary as many people want an entire experience as opposed to just a meal.

Higgs further gives a very small hint at what to expect during his Design Indaba Conference 2014 presentation, which is the more grungy city life of food and food design… stay tuned.

Watch the interview with David here.

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