Franschhoek Wine Valley

Meet Executive Chef Darren Badenhorst from The Restaurant at Grande Provence Heritage Wine Estate

Executive Chef Darren Badenhorst has surely mastered the art of fine dining at The Restaurant at Grande Provence Heritage Wine Estate in Franschhoek. With his unique style of drawing on nostalgic elements from his childhood and moments of food in his life, he applies an Asian twist to classic French cuisine with culinary flair that is truly his own.

Since joining Grande Provence as Executive Chef in 2012, Darren has garnered three of the four consecutive American Express Platinum Fine Dining Awards bestowed on The Restaurant. He was also the only Franschhoek chef, and one of seven South Africans to make the cut for the San Pellegrino Young Chef 2015 Top 10 finalists in Africa and the Middle East earlier this year. Recognition indeed for his dedication to create a unique dining experience and sensory adventure for his guests.

We have met up with Darren to ask him a few questions about his experience at the San Pellegrino Young Chef Awards and sneaked in a few extra questions too!

Chef Darren Badenhorst: The Restaurant at Grande Provence Heritage Wine Estate

1. Why did you enter the San Pellegrino Young Chef competition?

I thought it was a fantastic initiative which would create exposure for up and coming chefs- I was lucky enough to sneak in with the age limit.

2. Your dish was the Parma wrapped slow cooked rabbit dish, served with palm sugar Szechuan rabbit liver brûlée and pumpkin seed gremolata. Why rabbit?

I find rabbit is a highly underutilised ingredient with brilliant flavour and texture possibilities. It was off my autumn menu so I knew it worked.

3. What would you say is the relevance of this award for South Africa?

International exposure is key. The talent in SA is amazing, but with no Michelin rating we get overlooked as a culinary destination. This forces change and will concentrate the focus on what we have to offer.

4. The Grand Final has a very acclaimed line up of Judges – Massimo Bottura, Gaston Acuriom, Yoshihiro Narisawa, Margot Janse, Yannik Alleno, Joan Roca and Eric Ripert. If you could spend two day’s in one of the above kitchens, who would it be and why?

Yoshihiro Narisawa, Japanese culture and cuisine fascinate me. The endless natural acidities and flavour combinations are mind-blowing.

5. What defines your cuisine?

I think a combination of things. Entertainment through creativity, simplicity and the evolution of the culinary arts. The just for fun…

6. Where do you like to eat out?

I'll have to let you know after season in Franschhoek.

7. What is your favourite drink?

Grande Provence White 2013.

8. One night, no costs involved – where would you eat in the world and what would you eat?

Alinea in Chicago with Grant Achatz. I would eat the entire menu, I can't leave anything out! He is a genius in my opinion.

9. What is your favourite ingredient?

That is a difficult one, it changes depending on the season and my mood. At the moment Guanciale, amazing smoky flavour that enhances any dish whilst keeping it moist.

10. What is your favourite piece of kitchen equipment?

This time of year it is my Paco-jet as I use the harvested, pre-fermented and fermenting grapes for all types of things. 

* Franschhoek, regarded as South Africa’s Culinary Capital, has been appointed a member of The Délice Network of Good Food Cities of the World. Délice is an international network of likeminded cities engaged in promoting the benefits of culinary excellence and good food. 

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Franschhoek Wine Valley exists to:

  • Develop and implement marketing plans to profile the Franschhoek Wine Valley
  • Arrange and advertise events that support the Franschhoek Wine Valley brand image and which encourage visitors to the Valley
  • Represent the business interests of our members to the Stellenbosch Municipality
  • Aggregate the combined buying power of our members to leverage economy of scale benefits from service providers
  • Coordinate free advisory services and discussion forums to support our member’s businesses

Our Accolades

  • TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice Awards 2020 - Top 25 Emerging Worldwide Destinations (15th position).
  • Tripadvisor Traveller's Choice Destination Winner 2012, 2013, 2014 & 2015
  • Most Memorable Wine Route 2014, 2013 & 2012
  • Service Excellence Award - 2015
  • Best Tourism Event 2015 - Franschhoek Bastille Festival
  • Best Local Tourism Authority Information service 2013 & 2012

Tourism Levy

Certain establishments in Franschhoek may levy visitors with voluntary contributions towards the running of the FWV and to support local charities. Should visitors not wish to contribute to these causes, please indicate this to the relevant merchant.


Maintenance & validity of all business operating permits, licences and registration certificates are the responsibility of the business owner. Franschhoek Wine Valley takes no responsibility for the renewal of the required legal business operating documentation.


Contact Us

Franschhoek Wine Valley

Physical Address
62 Huguenot Road

Office hours
Monday: 09h00 – 12h00
Tuesday to Friday: 09h00 – 16h00
Saturday: 09h00 – 13h00
Sunday: closed

Contact Details
+27(0) 21 876 2861