It is the tree that is dressed in all shades of the African culture….that catches the eye…that invite you in….to Afrique….the restaurant of Tanya Grabe.
She is friendly and self assured…this newcomer to the block. She was born in Newcastle, where she spent the first 18 years of her life and completing her school grades. The next step was to enrol at the University of Potchefstroom, where she studied BCom communication and completed her honours degree in Cooperative Media.
For the practical part of her studies, Tanya joined a friend in Rustenburg, where she did her internship. Ready and well equipped for the real life, she held the position of marketing manager of the Mooirivier Mall in Potchefstroom.
The food industry bug had already bit Tanya and she left to visit a friend in Korea, with the intention to complete a cooking course in Italy whilst overseas. Things worked out differently, to Jeffreys Bay’s advantage!
All her dreams came true when her parents invested in property in JBay, and heard about the Three Fat Fish School of Food. Tanya immediately enrolled for the six months course. The curriculum is known for teaching students everything about food preparation as well as photography of dishes and the drawing up a business plan for their dream business.
For the final exam, her presentation was so well received, that she decided to buy the then Wax Cafe.
Because of her love for the rawness of Africa, the people of our continent, as well as the colours of all the tribes, and a bit of French mystique thrown in, the name Afrique was born. Tanya is a person of action and less than a month after the offer to purchase was signed; she opened her very own restaurant.
She is romantically involved with Andreas Sarnias, a restauranteur, and the two of them are known for using new recipes for new dishes which enhance the clients experience with flavours and textures.
Tanya is also the driving force behind Anglers Paradise, a 52 page coffee table book about the lodges in the Tsitsikamma, Botswana and Zimbabwe. This edition is a sign of her versatility.
I wanted to know from the chef herself what the most difficult procedure in the kitchen is. “To prepare an egg”, laughed Tanya. “The temperature and measure of the oil, the heat of the stove, and timing must all be right!”l
Looking back on my visit I know one thing for sure: This girl is going places!
By: Mariette van der Westhuizen