IN EARLY 2012 LUKE DALE ROBERTS LAUNCHED THE POT LUCK CLUB, AN INTIMATE SPACE WITH SWEEPING VIEWS OVER THE CITY.
With a quiver full of awards and consistent international recognition since opening The Test Kitchen in 2010; The Pot Luck Club in 2011; The Shortmarket Club in 2016 and Salsify at The Roundhouse in 2018, he remains a force to be reckoned with on the global culinary scene.
British-born Luke trained in Switzerland and England before heading to Asia for a five-year sojourn, working at several successful restaurants in Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and the Philippines. “My time in Europe taught me to cook; my time in Asia broadened my horizons”, says Luke.
Since his arrival to Cape Town in 2006, Luke has consistently proven his world-class standing with a string of awards and accolades.
A four year tenure as the executive chef of La Colombe restaurant at the Constantia Uitsig wine estate culminated in winning the title of Acqua Panna Best Restaurant in Africa and Middle East 2010 and an amazing 12th place in the overall San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2010.
Making his mark
TIME magazine pinpointed the date November 24, 2010, as the day “Woodstock officially became Cape Town’s hottest district… when Luke Dale Roberts opened The Test Kitchen there.” Worthy praise indeed.
Luke has continued to garner awards at The Test Kitchen, winning the title Chef of the Year at the 2011 Eat Out DStv Food Network Restaurant Awards, South Africa’s very own ‘Foodie Oscars’. The Test Kitchen moved up from No.2 in 2011 to win the Restaurant of the Year in 2012 Eat Out DStv Food Network Restaurant Awards and held the award for six years in a row.
International accolades for The Test Kitchen abound, and highlights include the recognition at the prestigious World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards, where The Test Kitchen made an impressive leap to No. 61 on the list in 2013, climbing up 13 places from no.74 in 2012. More significantly, The Test Kitchen was singled out as the winner of the “Cacao Barry One To Watch Award” in 2013, an indication of accolades to come.
In 2018 The Test Kitchen leaped back onto the World’s 50 Best list and won Best Restaurant in Africa after a year-long hiatus due to renovations and the unveiling of the now famous Light Room and Dark Room concept. Forty privileged diners go on a culinary journey of 21 courses. The experience starts in The Dark Room where guests share tapas-style dishes before moving to the formal The Light Room to finish the gastronomic adventure.
The Test Kitchen, as its name implies, affords Luke the opportunity for maximum innovation as a chef and the dishes are a pure reflection of his creativity with flavours and ingredients.
“The most important thing is flavour, and layers of flavour” explains Luke.
The Luke Dale Roberts Family
In early 2012 Luke Dale Roberts launched The Pot Luck Club, an intimate space with sweeping views over the city. This venture features a menu consisting of a multitude of ‘small plates’ of modern global dishes.
There is also a dedicated cocktail bar and an accompanying list of boutique wines to complement the varied edible creations on the menu.
In 2016 Dale Roberts collaborated on the concept of The Shortmarket Club which launched in Cape Town’s city centre during June. Partnered in a joint venture with his wife, Sandalene Dale Roberts, his top chef Wesley Randles and manager Simon Widdison, The Shortmarket Club opened in a heritage building just off vibey Bree Street in Cape Town. The excitement around the food and the venue is palpable, and The Shortmarket Club creates a buzz in the Mother City.
In October 2018, the Luke Dale Roberts family welcomed another new addition, Salsify at The Roundhouse. Headed by Chef Ryan Cole, who worked alongside Luke at The Test Kitchen as Head Chef for three years, the historic Roundhouse venue received fresh inspiration with Sandalene Dale Roberts taking charge of the interior refurbishment of the space complete with a 1.3 m bronze Salsify sculpture – the muse of the space. Salsify at The Roundhouse is yet another sensory experience whose arrival thrilled the gourmands of Cape Town with its root to leaf dining experience and bold design elements.