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Michael Deg presents ‘ONE at Cavalli’

Cavalli Estate has recently appointed executive chef Michael Deg. He chats about his ‘ONE at Cavalli’ concept.


Michael Deg presents ‘ONE at Cavalli’ 1‘One at Cavalli’ sounds intriguing … what’s this new concept about?

By introducing ‘One at Cavalli’ I want to place emphasis on simplicity – on moving away from overcomplicated, fussy dishes. The philosophy hinges on using fewer, garden-fresh ingredients and letting the quality of the produce shine, whilst still focusing on beautiful presentation.

Each month, I’ll be working with my inspired team to create magic with just one single hero ingredient, which we’ll add to our evolving menu. Aside from getting my team’s creative juices flowing and celebrating the unique flavours, textures, colours and aromas of the ingredient of the month, creating in this way also keeps things exciting for guests.

Everyone always wants to know: what does a successful chef like to eat at home? And is it you who does the cooking?

I love cooking at home, when I was young I used to get very ‘cheffy’ at home and try new ideas, but now I just enjoy cooking simple things that taste great and are easy to prepare. Fish is a big favorite at home especially local trout, which just gets pan fried and served with some buttered asparagus and fresh peas. My wife Collette is a very competent cook – she’s a big fan of Rick Stein’s recipe books and will often spend the whole afternoon cooking. I love these days because it means I get to put my feet up.

Your favourite dish on the Cavalli menu? What should we be ordering?

We’re serving a 10-hour slow cooked pork cheek cooked in a master stock, it’s as soft as butter. We serve it with pork scratching, naartjie gel, pickled naartjie, goats cheese croquette, rocket and chilli pesto. It’s a whack of umami and ticks all the boxes in terms of texture, acidity and sweetness.

What’s your favourite food trend right now?

Making things from scratch is popular at the moment, including homemade charcuterie, pickles, biltong, cheese and condiments. I think it’s a great way to learn new techniques, appreciate raw ingredients and get a better understanding of them. Growing your own is also becoming very popular and makes one appreciate how temperamental and challenging it is to grow food.

Three restaurants in your opinion every foodie should have on their bucket list? Including Cavalli estate of course!

Waterkloof, Chef’s Warehouse at Beau Constantia and Terroir.

The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner Wednesday through Saturday and Sunday for lunch. Restaurant bookings: (021) 855 3218 (9am – 5pm)


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