The chef’s table where fairy tales are served
A plate of oysters led Chantel Dartnall to her calling. The eight-year-old had never tasted anything like it before. Dartnall was entranced by the mystery that awaited on each plate, and the joy that arose with each new flavour. She knew that she wanted to be a chef and invoke that experience for others. Today, Dartnall has not only achieved her dream, but has become a renowned storyteller, creating entire tales with the ingredients in her kitchen.
“When you take a bite of food you can totally be transported into another world,” Dartnall says. Her cuisine is colourful and delicate, taking inspiration from nature. “The dishes I create are like a fairy tale and each represents a story and an emotion,” Dartnall says. With her unfettered imagination, she has proved herself to be one of the most creative chefs in the world. Dartnall was named South African Chef of the Year twice, and honoured as the world’s leading female chef at the Best Chef Awards in Warsaw last year. She has been running Restaurant Mosaic for the past 11 years, garnering acclaim for her innovative dishes. In an industry where women are underrepresented, Dartnall is at the forefront of change. “Over the past few years, I think we’ve come a long way of breaking down the stereotype that women should not be in a professional kitchen,” she says.
Dartnall is encouraging others to pursue the career they desire, whether it’s cooking or not. “I love being able to share my passion with my country and hope that through my stories, young women won’t be afraid to chase their dreams,” she says. As Dartnall continues her rise, she’s leading the way for South African women to show off their artistry. “Your only limitation is your own imagination,” Dartnall says.