Chef Reuben Riffel is from a family that places huge importance on cooking and eating well, and he has seen first-hand how enjoyable meals unite people. This ethos has informed his personal approach to cooking, which includes simple yet authentic fine-dining dishes inspired by traditional South African flavours and ingredients.

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In 2013, Reuben Riffel opened a Reuben's restaurant at the Abalone House Boutique Guesthouse in Paternoster.

Chef Reuben Riffel is a high-profile and very well-respected member of the South African culinary community. He initially came into contact with fine dining by sampling the delicious morsels his mother brought home from the various gourmet restaurants she worked in.

He started out his working career in construction, but thanks to his mother got a job in the local restaurant industry. His first big break came at Monneaux Restaurant in Franschhoek, where he took up a position as a kitchen hand, only to eventually leave as executive chef, having won a few local awards for excellence on the way.

Riffel left South Africa for some international exposure and later earned recognition for his work at Bruno’s Brasserie in Cambridge, United Kingdom. Franschhoek, meanwhile, had entrenched itself as the foodie mecca of South Africa, and in 2004 Riffel opened his self-named restaurant there, much to the delight of local and international gourmets alike.

After just six months, Reuben’s was awarded the Eat Out Restaurant of the Year Award, and Reuben himself landed the coveted Chef of the Year Award. Endorsements, a tome of a cookbook, and numerous TV appearances and accolades followed. He even put in an appearance on the Martha Stewart Show.

Riffel’s Franschoek restaurant soon had siblings. He linked up with the chic Robertson Small Hotel and established his next restaurant in this picturesque corner of the Cape, known for its wines and horse studs. Then came the opportunity of a lifetime – to take over after Gordon Ramsay's restaurant, Maze, at the One&Only Cape Town had seen its demise in 2010, and make it into a Reuben's restaurant.

Riffel grabbed the opportunity and his restaurant is now renowned for its fresh seafood and Cape-inspired dishes that feature seasonal specialties and typical regional ingredients – all prepared to international standards for the who’s who of the world.

Riffel divides his time between his restaurants every week, so diners may well be lucky enough to have the man behind the name cooking their meal on the day they visit.

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