Neo Mkwanazi’s promotion comes after working in the Clico kitchen for less than a year and is a testament to the hard work and dedication he has put into the role.
“I have been consistently impressed with Neo’s culinary skills and knack for flavours and have no doubt that under his guidance, this restaurant will continue to flourish and grow into one of the best refined dining establishments in South Africa,” says outgoing Head Chef Marnus Scholly.
Opened in 2015, Clico Restaurant, provides refined food and wine for diners with impeccable taste. Prior to joining Clic, Neo worked across a diverse range of hospitality leaders from the Liz McGrath Collection in Hermanus, to the five-star kitchens of luxury bush lodges across the And Beyond and Shamwari portfolios.
Mkhwanazi’s family and their passion for cooking was instrumental in building his career as a chef. From an early age, their celebration of ingredients that come straight from the land, has since been translated into his desire for sustainable produce sourced from smaller suppliers and farms.
“I will be tapping into his wealth of experience to produce a range of locally inspired, French-style dishes for Clico Restaurant”, he says.
When asked about his cooking philosophy, Mkhwanazi swears by bringing it back to basics. “I believe in food that is true, in a sense that it doesn’t destroy or take away. At Clico, we do locally sourced, sustainable, flavour-packed food – always identifiable in its simplicity. We consistently strive to keep our guests coming back by giving them a holistic, silver-service experience, paired with a taste sensation of classic dishes done with a local twist,” he adds.
Mkhwanazi is already responsible for curating Clico’s recently launched a winter menu that includes a wild mushroom soup with basil curd, mushroom chips, and pickled shimejis, paired with Beaumont Pinotage; beef fillet, oxtail pudding, confit onions and yam puree; quail with butternut, cous-cous and rooibos paired with Catherine Marshall Chenin Blanc; gin-cured salmon, wasabi mayo, puffed rice and juniper gel.
Also on the winter menu, is crusted line with fish smoke marrow, fennel and mussels paired with Terra Del Capo Sangiovese; pork belly, bacon jam, pumpkin and jus. For dessert, try the citrus tart or the chocolate torte, or even better, the fallen apple with pressed apples, spiced pudding, and anglais, paired beautifully with Vondeling Chardonnay.