“Working on a farm makes you more aware of changing seasons,” says Lolli Heyns, Spier’s Executive Chef. “You feel more connected to nature here, and this inspires us in the kitchen. Whether you’re dining at Eight or in the Hotel, we want to serve up memorable dishesthat embody simplicity and honesty, using the freshest, best quality ingredients.”
Chef Lolli’s menus change depending on what is available from Spier’s food gardens, where the greens, fruit and veggies are grown organically – without the use of pesticides or chemical fertiliser. Chef Lolli sources pasture-reared beef, pork and chicken directly from Spier’s Farmer Angus, or nearby local farmers. Farmer Angus also supplies her with delicious eggs – which are laid by happy hens that scratch around freely in the fields. None of his animals are given antibiotics or hormones.
And so at Eight, expect to tuck into the likes of zucchini and parmesan cheese soufflé with salad – or perhaps a beef burger with Brie, caramelised onion and hand cut chips. Dessert includes Eight’s famous flourless chocolate cake as well as a vanilla panna cotta with spiced pineapple, bitter chocolate and honeycomb.
Chef Lolli did her cooking training in Franschhoek, London and with the acclaimed Edgar Osjinik at Buitenverwachting. Before joining Spier, she had stints at The Showroom, the Cellars-Hohenort Hotel and Singita. In 2011, she travelled to Berkeley, California to spend time in the kitchen of Chez Panisse. Its owner, the chef and author Alice Waters is one of her biggest inspirations.
“She was pioneer of a culinary philosophy that maintains that cooking should be based on the best and freshest seasonal ingredients that are produced sustainably and locally,” says Chef Lolli. “That really changed my approach to food as a whole.”
THE MEANING OF GOOD FOOD:
The ingredients at Spier are grown with love, but what does that actually entail? Farmer Angus explains:
- Completely pesticide-free plants which reduces harm to animals and the environment.
- Our hens feed on organic pastures. The grazing of a variety of grasses and legumes growing in our pasture contribute to our egg’s unique flavour and intensely coloured yolks.
- The hens also feed on all kinds of bugs, keeping the soil healthy.
- Cattle grazing creates thick mulch that keeps the ground cool in summer.
- 100% natural and organic, our soil is nourished by the organic fertiliser (dung) from our free-roaming animals.
- 18 different legumes growing in our pastures extract abundant nitrogen from the air to boost plant growth.
- Our pigs feed on non-meat food waste from Spier’s kitchens. They graze the pastures, rooting up old grasses to make way for the new.