Chefs on holiday – Antoinette Meyer

Posted on 6 May 2020

Here’s what chef Antoinette Meyer of Barringtons in Plettenberg Bay does with her time off.

Antalya in Turkey – an unforgettable holiday. Image credit: Gallo/Getty Images

I make a point of travelling abroad every two years to food capitals. There’s nothing better than not knowing what you’re eating, among people whose language you don’t understand.

Image credit: Supplied

I go back to Istanbul often. What a city! I can’t even begin to explain how diverse and exciting it is. From shopping to food, architecture to history. The spice and fish markets. The Turkish-delight shops that look like a pastry.

Being based in Plett, it’s difficult to keep track of what’s going on in the food world. So on quite a regular basis I travel to Cape Town to visit as many restaurants as I can until my money runs out. This gives me inspiration to keep doing what I’m doing.

I also get to visit Dassiesfontein padstal, beside the N2 near Caledon – the best chicken and mayo I’ve ever had, served on ouma bread on a tin plate.

A spice market in Istanbul. Image credit: Gallo/Getty Images

My favourite place abroad is Paris. The food, people, energy, history – and it truly is the most romantic destination in the world.

I completely underestimated Porto in Portugal. Its cobbled streets and hidden-away eateries that turned out to be gems truly surprised me.

The romance of the Seine River in Paris. Image credit: Gallo/GettyImages

The best meal I’ve had on holiday was on Turtle Island, off San Sebastian in Spain, in a dirty, hot and humid little restaurant (although it was tiled beautifully in white and blue from roof to floor). I ordered octopus. It was soft, rose-pink and juicy, served in a potato and onion broth. For the life of me I could not understand what the chef said when I asked how he cooked it. To this day I’m still trying to figure it out.

My most memorable holiday was in Turkey about three years ago. We rented an old wooden boat (not a yacht) and travelled the coast: swimming in the early morning; cigars and overpriced G&Ts in the evenings; mud baths with loud, overweight Turkish men in small white towels.

The place in SA everyone should visit is the Karoo. I was born in Graaff-Reinet and still go back today. We also had a family farm in Fraserburg – I fondly remember the silence that deafens you, skaapsterte on the braai and fresh springbok liver with breakfast.

Antoinette in Spain. Image credit: Supplied

About Barringtons
‘We’re reviving old classics in our own way. The cooking philosophy is farm to fork, and we strive to cook from our veg garden and support local.’ Barringtons – a craft brewery with a tap room and a restaurant – has just opened in the Piesang Valley near Plett. barringtonsplett.co.za

Antoinette’s sweet bread recipe
‘I don’t often cook on holiday, but when I do I make sweet bread. I take normal white bread dough, roll it into small balls and pack them in an ovenproof dish. Then I top it with cream and brown sugar, and pop it in the oven at 180 degrees. What comes out is sweet, caramelised bread with a crusty top. Delicious!’

Antoinette is also the executive chef at SASSI-approved The Fat Fish, with branches in Plettenberg Bay and George. thefatfish.co.za

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