Next chef to feature on our #HotList is the extremely talented Gerald Van Der Walt, who tells us what it's like being part of the iconic Rogan Group.
When you read the website for Rogan & Co. it refers to Cartmel as a ‘magical village’. It certainly seems to have become just that, being transformed into a mystic magnet for foodies from all over the country.
Rogan & Co. is the more chilled younger sister to the famous L’Enclume but if you think it is any less serious about its food or its philosophy you would be very much mistaken. The art of creating beautifully crafted dishes from the best & freshest ingredients is at the heart of every operation in the Rogan collection.
Freshness is enormously inﬂuenced by the farm that is owned and managed by the Rogan group. Each day the kitchen is provided with a list of what is available from the farm so this helps shape what dishes are on the menu at Rogan & Co. The ethics of managing the farm are also extended to the point of developing pickles & preserves which are produced so that every possible morsel is used.
The Rogan community in Cartmel, including the farm, Rogan & Co. and L’Enclume, interacts a lot with each other; involving not only the development chefs but the whole of the kitchen team.
The chefs even spend time on the farm in order to understand how growing and cultivating fresh produce actually works.
Gerald ﬁnds this a really appealing aspect of joining the Rogan group. Born in South Africa and initially training as a sound engineer, his career in food accidentally began with a chance conversation with a ﬂat-mate’s boyfriend.
Working in the Middle East & South Africa; latterly at The Tasting Room in Franschoek, he approached Simon Rogan when he decided to move to the
U.K. because Simon’s philosophy of clean, high-quality & innovative cuisine seemed like the perfect match.
Rogan & Co. oﬀers diners a more casual experience than L’Enclume and those staying for the weekend, often dine at Rogan & Co. one night and L’Enclume the next night, with Rogan & Co. serving breakfast, which is again an opportunity to not only provide the best English breakfast you can get but also to innovate with a few unexpected dishes.
Gerald has been encouraged to use his South African heritage in menu development, with Biltong & Bokkoms making an appearance on the Christmas menu for the ﬁrst time. Gerald is now experimenting with growing Speckboem on the farm from shoots sourced on the internet.
Casual, the ambience at Roganic & Co may be but never doubt the focus and purpose that is symbolic and typical of every venture bearing the Rogan name.