Top picks: Chef Laurent from Bistrot Bizerca

Top picks: Chef Laurent from Bistrot Bizerca

He’s the chef behind one of Cape Town’s best-loved restaurants, Bistrot Bizerca – which has won numerous awards, including Best Bistro in the country. This week we chat to French chef, Laurent Deslandes, about some of his favourite things.

Laurent runs Bizerca with wife Cyrillia in a beautiful heritage building in Cape Town. Whilst owning and managing restaurants in Australia, the duo yearned for the simple, inviting ambiance of the bistros you find on every corner in France, and decided to open up something similar in Cape Town. This was 2007, long before bistro became a buzzword. Today, they continue to serve French-inspired bistro fare in a modest setting, with a fine-dining feeling. It’s a recipe we love, from a passionate husband-and-wife team.

What would your 10-year-old self say about the job you do right now?
“My 10-year-old self would be very happy about the job I do right now because he loved food.”


What is the absolute best thing and the absolute pits about your job?
“The best thing about my job is that it doesn’t feel like a job, it’s my passion. Going to work is like not going to work for me, and the worst thing about my job is that I can’t randomly decide to take a day off as customers need to eat.”


What is a food aroma you love?
“I love the smell of fresh herbs, cooking chicken, fresh bread and freshly baked croissants.”

What is the worst thing you have eaten?
“The worst thing I’ve ever eaten is marmite or peanut butter.”

Is there a food trend you wish would go away?
“No. Nothing in particular.”

Favourite spot for lunch?
“For everyday purposes I like anywhere that serves sushi. On a Sunday I like to go out to Stellenbosch to a great bistro there called Joostenberg because I can take my whole family there and the food is amazing.”

Where is your go-to place to shop for food or ingredients?
“There is a farm out in Stellenbosch that I absolutely love, as well as the market in Epping. The produce is freshly picked and you also never know what you’re going to find there.”

Favourite ingredient to cook with right now?
“I have a few, savoy cabbage, fresh turmeric and Jerusalem artichokes.”

Favourite food or wine hero?
“I don’t really have a food or wine hero but someone I truly admire is chef Joel Robuchon from France.”


Joel Robuchon creation. Photo: Joel Robuchon


If you were a flavour of ice cream you would be…. and why?
“I would be Prune and Armagnac. When I was 15 I started working in a restaurant in France and on my first day I got to taste it, so it’s a little bit nostalgic for me.”

If you had R1000 to spend, where would you go or what would you cook? (and drink)
“I would definitely take a break from cooking and go to a seafood restaurant. It’s a little bit unconventional but I would have any good red wine with it or perhaps a really good local Riesling.”

If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life it would be?
“I would have to be any type of seafood, be it line fish, langoustines, mussels etc.”


Your last supper would be? (Don’ t forget the drinks!)
“I would have veal kidneys with a marrowbone and some French fries, and I would enjoy it all with a good glass of red wine.”