September 2019 -

The movers and bakers of La Petite Ferme

ester 1As our blog title infers, we're shaking things up a bit this Spring. Usually, our latest news comes to you from the heart of Franschhoek (directly translated from Dutch as 'the French Corner'). This time, however, we're delighted to bring you news via our senior pastry chef Ester Labuschagne who is currently in Paris, France.

Ester has been hand-selected to attend a Diploma course in French Pastry held at The Ritz Paris's École Ritz Escoffier under the tutelage of Olivier Lainé. This prestigious hotel is home to one-star Michelin lunch restaurant Les Jardins de L'Espodon and two-Michelin star dinner restaurant, L'Espadon. Executive Chef Nicolas Sale has been at the helm of this exquisite culinary institution since The Ritz Paris reopened its doors in 2016. We're delighted with our association.

We caught up with Ester over a virtual coffee and pain au chocolat to ask her all about her exciting experience.

Q: How long have you been working at La Petite Ferme?
A: At the end of this year, I will have been working at La Petite Ferme for four years.

Q: How do you think it is that you got picked for this opportunity?
A: By working hard and persevering through the time of changes. I think the owner and the senior management spotted the potential for my personal and professional growth within the company.

Q: What is the purpose of your trip?
A: To improve my skills as a pastry chef and to learn the French way in my profession. The training will cover the major points of the spectrum regarding pastry and bread. The course is a hands-on training curriculum where you go through every step methodically.

Q: How will what you have learnt add value in your day-to-day work?
A: The skills I have learnt here in Paris will help me with giving the staff the training they need to understand the art of pastry. Going through the steps today, I will provide that guidance for them when I return to work in the La Petite Ferme kitchen. The knowledge that I bring home will motivate me to think differently about my craft and how I can improve the flavour and presentation of my pastries.

Q: Any words of inspiration to those seeking a career in hospitality?
A: With a lot of hard work, you can grow into the person that will be an achiever. It takes a lot of dedication to do the work that you do. Despite all the hard work, it is rewarding to grow in knowledge and see the fruits of your labour.

"Congratulations, Ester! We are proud of you and wish you all the best with your course. Although we miss you in our kitchen, we look forward to your return in December, to hearing all about it and to taste-test your new recipes, of course!" Riaan Kruger, General Manager

ester 2About Olivier Lainé, Ester's Pastry Chef Instructor at École Ritz Escoffier
After a few years of training, Olivier became a pastry cook in several prestigious establishments in the towns of Dinard and Tignes. He worked his way up to the position of Pastry Chef in Cancale, eventually becoming co-owner of the Michelin-referenced restaurant 'Le bout du quai'. Olivier left Brittany in 2013 to practice his passion in Paris, starting at Café Pouchekine's three boutiques where he supervised the production chain of pastries and layered cakes. He then went on to the famed Shangri-La hotel in 2015 as pastry sous-chef. In 2018, Olivier joined the team at the École Ritz Escoffier to teach pastry-making and baking.

We look forward to welcoming Ester back in December. While we wait for her, we can distract ourselves by lavishing our attention on you this Spring. Book a table at our La Petite Ferme restaurant and enjoy Chef Kyle's innovative Spring Menu. Incidentally, it pairs as beautifully with the view of the valley as it does our celebrated wines.