Le Quartier Français - Franschhoek, 7690, South Africa

Margot Janse - Executive Chef, The Tasting Room, LQF

"In an industry lacking in female stars, she stands out like a rising soufflé". Elle Magazine on Margot Janse

  • Chef Margot 1
  • The Tasting Room Sign


Margot Janse is the incredibly talented executive chef at the award-winning Le Quartier Français boutique hotel in Franschhoek. Born and educated in The Netherlands, her creative talents were evident right from the start, and her tertiary studies included drama and photography – which laid the foundation for her early work with a photographic school in Johannesburg, South Africa.

However, at the age of 23, the ‘magic of the kitchen’ beckoned and she approached Ciro Molinaro, the chef-patron of La Cucina di Ciro in Parktown North and a highly respected Johannesburg restaurateur. It was two years of long shifts and hard work but Margot learned every aspect of managing a kitchen. More importantly, Ciro encouraged her to experiment and play with food, creating in Margot an ability to explore beyond traditional ‘food boundaries’.

In 1995, Margot joined the culinary team at Le Quartier Français. The hotel restaurant was already considered one of South Africa’s best, therefore it was an enormous challenge for Margot when she was asked to take over as executive chef shortly after her arrival. However, 20 years and many national and international awards later, Margot continues to thrive in the career of her choice and enthral serious diners from around the globe.

Margot travels extensively to continually be inspired by new ideas and stay abreast of emerging trends. Her stimulating African-inspired surprise menu changes regularly, based on the seasonal fresh produce which she sources from Le Quartier’s own indigenous garden and small local producers. The result is a kitchen buzzing with ongoing innovative and creative energy, as Margot and her talented team serve course after course of exquisite cuisine from this truly fine dining restaurant.

Margot lives in Franschhoek with her son, Thomas (10).


Margot finds it difficult to put her style in a box as it is her belief that food is constantly evolving, and that unforgettable dishes always have an element of surprise and nostalgia about them. She prefers to allow herself the room to be creative and experiment with new things. She works fearlessly with textures and balance because she believes that each dish has to say something. As she once famously exclaimed: "I don't like bland food. I don't like safe food." This – more than anything else – sums up her food and life philosophies.

Every dish of Margot's is truly refined and, at the same time, unexpectedly exciting. It is this contradiction that results in her menu's outstanding balance and ensures that her cuisine is theatre. Margot's unique approach extends further than just phenomenal cuisine; it has moved into the captivating realm of stories and magic. She has created a place where each dish and its African-inspired elements have the ability to captivate the hearts and minds of diners.

The Tasting Room

"I have no signature dish, South Africa is my signature." – Margot Janse, executive chef

The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français is the stage for award-winning chef Margot Janse and her unique eight-course, contemporary African-inspired surprise Tasting Menu.

Surprise: an emotion that occurs when something breaks our habitual pattern. Here, serious diners have the opportunity to experience a true journey of taste that continues to evolve and astonish. The Tasting Room creates a dining experience unlike any other … one where surprise and nostalgia take centre stage.

Interior decorator of The Tasting Room and scenographer by profession, Herbert Janse, says: “In The Tasting Room every dish is engaging; refined with a distinct feminine touch and, at the same time, unexpectedly exciting … exhilarating in fact. It is this contradiction that results in balance of The Tasting Room’s dishes.

“The journey extends further than just cuisine; it moves fearlessly into the captivating realm of stories and magic. A place where each plate, and its African-inspired elements, has the ability to captivate the hearts and minds of diners.”


Margot has received numerous accolades from some of the world’s most respected publications including:

San Pellegrino The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 & 2015

Best Restaurant in Africa and the Middle East 2005, 2007, 2008 & 2009

Elite Travellers Top 100 Restaurants 2013 & 2014.

Eat Out Awards

  • 3rd Best Restaurant in the Eat Out Mercedes Benz Restaurant Awards 2014
  • 9th Best Restaurant in the Eat Out DSTV Food Network Restaurant Awards 2013
  • Chef of the Year – Eat Out DSTV Food Network Restaurant Awards 2012
  • 2nd Best Restaurant in the Eat Out DSTV Food Network Restaurant Awards 2012

International Appearances

Margot has appeared as a guest chef - in both acclaimed restaurants and festivals worldwide - in numerous countries:

‘Girl’s Night Out (part of Obsession 2015)’ - Margot and two other superstar female chefs prepared a 5-course dinner. Joining her was Angela Hartnett of Murano & Limewood as well as Northcote’s own, Lisa Allen. February 2015

Guest Chef - Rijks Museum in Amsterdam, January 2015
Guest Chef - The Westbury with Alyn Williams, London, Sept 2014

Charity Dinner for 160 guests for “GOEDEMENSEN” - proceeds of this function are going towards building a new early development school in Franschhoek, Holland. Oct, 2014

Invited Chef - Invited as one of the 3 selected Top Dutch Chefs for Rabobank Foundation (who support farmers cooperatives and their members. Rabobank Foundation helps small farmers to improve their production and gives them access to credit, knowledge and new markets. Rabobank Foundation’s one main goal is to improve the economic and social situation of disadvantaged people and support them to become self-reliant), to contribute towards the 40th Anniversary Cook Book “Roots”.

Guest Judge - Swedish Annual Chef of the Year, Feb 2014
Guest Chef - Starts, Food & Art, Amsterdam, Nov 2013
Guest Chef - for private client, Bangkok and Manila, June 2013
Guest Chef - Savour Festival, Singapore, April 2013
Invited Chef - Relais Dîner des Grands Chefs, London, April 2013
Invited Chef - San Pellegrino Cooking Cup, Italy, Jan 2013
Invited Chef - Singapore Grand Prix for private client, Sep 2012
Guest Chef - Private Client, Livingston, April 2012
Invited Chef - Girls Night Out, London, March 2012
Guest Speaker - African Lunch at Virtuoso Travelmart, Las Vegas, 2011
Invited Chef - Savour Tasmania, Australia, 2011
A lauded female chef participant - Guest XIII Festival Cultura e Gastronomia Tiradentes, Brazil, 2010

Guest Chef - Sukhothai Hotel, Bangkok, 2010

Designed KLM Business Class Menu - for all flights out of Amsterdam worldwide, Dec 2009 to Oct 2010

Guest Chef - SA Tourism at TTG INCONRTI PADIGLIONE B1, Italy, 2009
Guest Chef - Ciel Blue in Amsterdam, Holland, 2008
Guest Chef - The Hanger 7 programme, Salzburg Austria, 2008
Guest Chef - Relais & Châteaux- Ponta los Ganchos, Florianopolis Brazil, 2007
Guest Chef - Olympe Restaurant with Claude Troisgros, Rio de Janeiro Brazil, 2007

Book A Table Top 50 Restaurants in The World virtuoso Amex Fine Hotels Certificate of Excellence 2015