Tronette Dippenaar has been appointed as Executive Chef at The Cellars-Hohenort restaurant, The Conservatory in Cape Town. The appointment is a continuation of her celebrated career within the Liz McGrath Collection, which started in 2008 when she first joined the group as Chef de Partie at The Marine in Hermanus.
Over the past 13 years she has come up through the ranks, having worked at each of the three sister-hotels. After taking up her second position within the Collection, she was promoted to Head Chef at The Plettenberg. This was followed by her first stint at The Cellars-Hohenort, where she assisted the Head Chef for a few months before The Liz McGrath Collection took on the management contract of the historic Lord Milner Hotel in Matjiesfontein. Tronette and her husband Johan Dippenaar worked closely with the late Mrs McGrath to fine tune the Matjiesfontein product, managing a soft refurbishment and re-organising the kitchen, as well as creating new menus as the appointed Head Chef. At the conclusion of the three-year management contract, Dippenaar returned to The Marine in Hermanus as Head Chef, a position she held for the past five years, until she took up the reins at the Cellars-Hohenort.
Her extensive experience and long association with the Liz McGrath Collection places her perfectly to take The Conservatory to greater culinary heights. Her responsibilities include not only the popular Conservatory Restaurant, but also overseeing High Teas and picnics, as well as catering for the special occasions, weddings and private celebrations that the hotel is famous for. Her charismatic and energetic approach to food and service is set to inspire her team as they work on new seasonal offerings, as well as the much-loved, signature dishes that include the late Mrs McGrath’s famed Boland Cheese Soufflé with Gin Cheese Sauce.
After growing up on a farm in Robertson, Tronette Dippenaar attended Tygerberg Hotel School before embarking on her culinary career at The Agulhas Country Lodge. As an aspiring young chef, she kicked off her career by gaining two years’ international experience in Scotland at Relais & Châteux property, Kinnaird Estate.
She says her food philosophy may be summarised as ‘fresh is best’. ‘My menu is uncomplicated and unpretentious, and my dishes are full of flavour. I stay true to South African cuisine, which I like to present with a modern twist. Growing up on a farm gave me a deep appreciation of produce and where it comes from, including the time and effort invested into growing nutritious vegetables and fruit.’
She chooses a hearty, meaty dish as her favourite on the new menu at The Conservatory. ‘Taste of the Overberg’ is proudly South African, comprising lamb served three ways: slow braised lamb shoulder; grilled cutlet of lamb; and pulled leg of lamb; served with silky, creamed potatoes, minted pea puree, baby carrots, ratatouille, black garlic and lamb jus.
Reservations are available at The Conservatory, which is open daily for breakfast, lunch and Dinner, as well as High Tea.