Outstanding dining arrives in Joburg

Flames and View, two brand new restaurants at the Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff Johannesburg, are set to shake up the culinary scene in Joburg, one of Africa’s most vibrant cities.

Both will be helmed by the hotel’s new executive chef, Dirk Gieselmann, who has served as Chef de Cuisine at the famed Michelin three-star Auberge de l’Ill restaurant in France’s Alsace region for the past seven years. The talented German’s globetrotting CV includes stints at La Réserve de Beaulieu and Le Negresco in Nice, the Intercontinental Tahiti Resort in Papeete and Le Cirque in New York City.

“With a chef of Dirk’s calibre now on board complimented by an urban chic setting, we are setting a new standard for dining in Joburg ,” says the hotel’s general manager, Sébastien Carre.

Gieselmann’s cooking might have European roots, but he’s committed to sourcing the very best seasonal ingredients from the region to craft his creations.

“I’ve been blown away by the quality and variety of ingredients and wines available in South Africa,” says Gieselmann. He has spent the past few months scouring the country for the best suppliers, forging strong relationships with farmers that can supply him with the highest quality meat and produce. He has also worked hard to secure access to export-quality, ethically-sourced fish.


Flames: a reinvention of casual dining

Embracing Joburg’s urban energy, Flames brings Gieselmann’s “savoire fair” to informal eating. Open all day, the chef describes this as “a relaxed, cosy spot” with a large terrace perfect for leisurely sunset drinks and snacks overlooking the city’s treetops while occasionally a DJ spins some tracks.

An outdoor braai area, where meat and fish are cooked to perfection, forms the restaurant’s heart. The Flames menu features a smattering of reinterpreted South African classics, combined with an array of international favourites – think Gieselmann’s beloved French bistro fare, hearty stews or the best burger you’ve ever tasted. “This is all about unpretentious food – made with the finest ingredients we can find,” he says.

A fixed menu, available all day, will be supplemented by chalkboard specials. “I’ll even be treating diners to some of the favourites I rustle up at home,” Gieselmann says.

View: exquisite eating

“At View, the food – and not the chef – is the star,” Gieselmann says of his signature restaurant.

Eschewing frills and foam, Gieselmann’s French-accented menu offers refined and yet honest contemporary cuisine – a richly satisfying experience with delicacies like crayfish and foie gras hinting at decadence.

“This is an expression of myself, my take on food,” he says.

Making the most of the Westcliff’s Highveld panoramas, View’s interior was designed by international design firm Blacksheep (which counts Jamie Oliver amongst its clients) and opens out onto a sunset terrace, creating what Gieselmann’s describes as a “human ambience” where diners are looked after by a warm and engaging team.

The Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff Johannesburg: A culinary destination

In addition to Flames and View, The Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff Johannesburg’s tempting array of eating options include:

  • The Cellar Door, an intimate dining venue, spotlighting South Africa’s best wines which are enhanced by shared plates of local cheeses, grilled meats and seafood.
  • Après-Spa, a relaxed rooftop bar and lounge. Snack on something light before and after spa treatments or catch up with friends over glass of wine.
  • The Westcliff Deli, the neighbourhood’s new street-side café, has delicious gourmet sandwiches and salads to take away and is perfect for residents in search of their morning coffee.

Biography on renowned international Michelin trained Chef Dirk Gieselmann

Cooking for Dirk Gieselmann was once just a hobby. The Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff Johannesburg’s talented new executive chef recalls his eureka moment halfway through his university. “I wanted to impress my girlfriend by serving her lobster. But I wasn’t sure if the frozen one I had purchased was already cooked. Needless to say I cooked it just in case – and the result was awful! I realised then, I really wanted to learn how to cook professionally.”

Determined to learn the ropes in one of the best restaurants in his home city, Gieselmann ditched his engineering studies, and began an apprenticeship under Uwe Quitter and Maurice de Boer at the former Michelin one-star Restaurant Gala in Aachen, Germany. His hard work paid off, taking him to kitchens all over the world, from La Réserve de Beaulieu and Le Negresco in Nice to the Intercontinental Tahiti Resort in Papeete and New York City’s Le Cirque.

For the past seven years, the 43-year-old German has worked as Chef de Cuisine alongside owner Marc Haeberlin at the famed Michelin three-star Auberge de l’Ill restaurant in Illhauesern in France’s Alsace region.

While travel and mentoring by great chefs has played an important role in shaping Gieselmann’s career, he believes that reading about the rich culinary traditions of different countries has been essential to developing as a chef.  “You must soak up as much as possible. My whole life revolves around food,” he says with a chuckle.

The move to Joburg opens an exciting new chapter for Gieselmann. “This is an incredibly vibey, bustling city,” he says. “I’m really excited about creating dining experiences here that embrace Joburg’s energy and showcase the exceptional local produce and wines, offering its residents and visitors something exceptional.

Committed to using seasonal ingredients sourced from trusted local suppliers, Gieselmann’s passion for French cuisine, twinned with his experience in kitchens all over the world, makes him uniquely placed to bring contemporary yet classic cuisine to the Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff Johannesburg’s restaurants.  Diners at Flames will experience Gieselmann’s refined take on informal eating, with a menu of snacks and classics made using the very best ingredients in an outdoor braai kitchen. View, Gieselmann’s signature restaurant, showcases his unpretentious yet exquisite cuisine – “An expression of myself, my own take on food,” he says.

For reservations enquiries please contact Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff Johannesburg by Telephone on +27 (0) 11 481 6000; toll free 0 800 981271 or by email through the website on http://www.fourseasons.com/johannesburg