Growing up in kitchens around food, James’ passion for cooking developed from a young age.
His mother, Gaie Gaag, is a cooking, sugar craft, and confectionary teacher at Silwood Kitchen, a culinary school in the heart of Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs. Here, James was exposed to food and cooking professionally, and the South African culinary industry.
In 2010 James joined La Colombe as a 3rd-year student and through hard work and determination, he rose through the ranks to sous chef. A few years later, in 2013, James decides to leave La Colombe for travelling to England, looking to gain international experience. He was offered a position in the kitchen of legendary chef Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxford. He spent a year in the renowned kitchen, learning as much as he could from the talented chefs at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, before returning back to South Africa in 2014. Back in his home country, James was appointed as the head chef of La Colombe.
At the young age of 28, La Colombe’s Head Chef, James Gaag, has already established a strong name for himself in the restaurant industry. He is a cooking, sugar craft, and confectionary teacher at Silwood Kitchen which is where he was exposed to food and cooking in a professional way since living in South Africa.
“When it comes to food, I believe that flavor comes first! Food needs to be immediately delicious and inviting, not overthought, overworked, or over complicated. The flavour is paramount and key in making great food and also running a great kitchen. Making it look pretty is where we get to have a bit of fun as a chef, and yes we eat with our eyes first, but ultimately flavor is what makes the guests come back.”
Instagram: @chef_james_gaag @lacolombect
Facebook: La Colombe
Restaurant web site: https://lacolombe.restaurant/
Restaurant address: Silvermist Wine Estate, Main Road, Constantia Nek, Cape Town, 7806, South Africa