The Stone Kitchen
The Stone Kitchen, which opened in November 2010, is founded on the philosophy that sourcing food as local as possible results in the best possible flavours. This means that The Stone Kitchen’s menu changes regularly and with the seasons. Johan van Schalkwyk thrives on building relationships with local farmers and producers.
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The fresher the better for this Wellingtonian chef
When Johan van Schalkwyk worked at a chateau in Normandy, France, one of his tasks involved walking through their organic kitchen garden hand picking ingredients for the daily dishes. It was here that he first discovered the pleasures of cooking with the freshest ingredients. “The flavour of the food was so much better”, he says. “A freshly-picked tomato is just incomparable to a one that’s been kept in the shops”.
Relationships are important
It was this experience that inspired the philosophy that guides The Stone Kitchen – sourcing as local as possible to get the best out of the food. Johan treasures the relationships he has built up with local Wellington farmers and buys all the excess produce they bring to him. This means that The Stone Kitchen’s menu changes regularly and with the seasons. With Wellington being so abundant with produce Johan can source more than just the usual ingredients locally; he can also get olive oil cheese, exotic mushrooms, wild meat (venison, wild boar), beef and farm chickens. And he’s about to try the local fig-reared lambs.
Johan and his family moved to Wellington five years ago. He loves it not only because of the abundance of produce he can use in his kitchen, but also because it still retains the “dorp-feel” despite being only an hour from Cape Town. Johan believes Wellington is up-and-coming, and he doesn’t see the neighbouring restaurants as competition; he sees them as allies in the quest to make the Bovlei Valley a tourist destination.
Perfect for day-trippers
The Stone Kitchen is definitely set up for day-tripping families. Johan has created a relaxed outdoor area complete with large cushions ideal for lounging on with a glass of local wine while the kids play on the jungle gym. There’s even a boules court to entertain the more competitive souls. The main menu is mouth-watering (we had wild boar, apple and sage burger and the lamb and waterblommetjie bredie), and the kids menu speaks of someone who truly understands children: clown egg and bacon, egg and cheesy bread soldiers, and a smiley pancake.
All this is set in amongst the guava orchards with the magnificent Hawekwa Mountains as a back drop. And there are plenty of wineries around, including Dunstone on which The Stone Kitchen property is set.
Johan says that even after five years he is still discovering new things in Wellington. Well, we’re just pleased we’ve discovered The Stone Kitchen.
Johan also has a catering company, Twist Some More, founded on the same locavore philosophy as The Stone Kitchen.
Dunstone makes their wine in the restaurant - large vats line the walls of The Stone Kitchen and the barrels are laid down in the cellar next door
The outside area is perfect for lounging around with a full belly and letting the kids run care-free surrounded by guava trees and wild rose bushes
Delightful fig and goats cheese salad with balsamic glazed seeds
Magnificent Hawekwa Mountains forms the back drop for a leisurely lunch at The Stone Kitchen
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