37 year-old South African Chef Chantel Dartnall was last week crowned the world’s best female Chef in Poland at The Best Chef Lady Awards.
Dartnall owns the Restaurant Mosaic in Pretoria, where she is the Head Chef. She’s been named South Africa’s Chef of the Year twice.
In what turned out to be a stiff competition and a totally unexpected win, Dartnall told IOL “to win exceeded all my wildest dreams. It’s a great honour.”
Dartnall had competition from other top chefs from across the world such as Spain’s Elena Arzak (Best Chef Lady 2016 winner) of the three Michelin-starred restaurant Arzak; Emma Bengtsson, who is at the helm of the two Michelin-starred Scandinavian restaurant Aquavit in New York. The list also included France’s Anne-Sophie Pic, who gained three Michelin stars for her restaurant, Maison Pic in France, and Clare Smyth, the first and so far the only female chef to run a restaurant with three Michelin stars in the UK with her establishment, Core.
In 2016, Dartnall won the Best Tasting Menu Award for the Condé Nast Gourmet Restaurant Awards. Her restaurant has been nominated for the award this year.
Dartnall was placed at number 32 in the Best Chef Awards Top 100 list for 2017, the highest positioned woman and one of only three to make the top 50 (Spain’s Elena Azark is 33rd and France’s Anne-Sophie Pic is 47th). Dartnall is the only South African chef listed in the top 100.
“I certainly think people who would not generally have taken South Africa too seriously at an awards function of this calibre, will sit up and notice and become aware of the talent that we have in South Africa,” Dartnall said.
— JAG Comms (@JagComms) October 26, 2017
The Best Chef Awards was launched in Poland last year. The award seeks out the world’s top chefs for culinary artistry and visual presentation. The winning chefs are selected in six categories by 300 voters comprising of chefs, food writers and culinary experts across the globe as well as 1.5million followers on the competition’s digital platform.
For Dartnall, the award is a big deal considering the calibre of chefs that were nominated alongside her, and says one of the joys about winning is putting South Africa on the map.