Tucked away in the Cradle of Mankind, the boutique hotel Forum Homini and acclaimed roots restaurant recently celebrated ten successful years with a gala function at the five star venue in the Cradle of Humankind.
The celebrations not only marked a decade of success of the ‘disruptive’ Forum Homini concept, but also served to welcome executive chef Chris Tustian to his new home.Tustian, in turn, welcomed guests with a six course degustation menu and special wine pairing.
The 35-year-old British chef takes the reigns at roots restaurant after successful tenures as head chef of Dish at Le Franschhoek in the Cape Winelands and executive chef at Budmarsh in the Magalies. His South African travels are reflected in his blend of classic French cuisine with rich African flavours and perfect wine pairings.
Tustian will continue the proud roots tradition of serving a unique breakfast and lunch menu every day. He will also create a lavish six course dinner menu every month, with the new menu being served on alternating days with the menu of the previous month. This practice of serving one menu to all patrons is called a degustation menu and roots restaurant is widely credited as the first South African restaurant to offer this as exclusive option to guests.
Welcoming the guests, creator and proprietor of Forum Homini and roots said: “Ten years ago we received a somewhat sceptical reception when we showed our concept to the hospitality industry. Although many welcomed the idea of an evolution-themed venue with art and architecture from world renowned artists, they questioned our plan of exclusively serving a degustation menu to visitors.
“Today we remain unique in our approach and annually welcome thousands of guests who enjoy the culinary and architectural adventure and give justification to our chosen name – a place were people can meet and converse about our shared human journey.”
The idea, explains Marais, is to create a stress free dining experience where partons can focus on conversation, while enjoying the adventure of discovering new foods and flavours as selected and created by the executive chef.
“The changing season is an ideal time to introduce new flavours and ingredients. I am excited to blend these into some traditionally French and European dishes,” says Tustian.
- The famed roots restaurant is credited for establishing the practice of degustation in South Africa, where the chef creates the menu, and large portions are replaced by a generous selection of flavourful and creative dishes, paired with a selection of wines. This fine dining restaurant was chosen as Top 10 South African Restaurant by Eat Out in 2008 and is recipient of the 2016 Ten Year Platinum Card Fine Dining Award from American Express.
Chef Chris Tustian
Kevin Fine, Jacaranda Station Manager, and Lisa Spain
Felicia Butelezi and Sizwe Butelezi
From left to right: Willem Marais, Hannelien Marais, Juanita Marais, Irene Marais
Hendrik Marais and Karina Strydom