About Reuben Riffel
South African celebrity chef and cooking sensation Reuben Riffel began his career in the town in which he was born, Franschhoek – known locally, and increasingly across the globe, as the food and wine capital of South Africa.
Riffel’s first opportunity to run his own kitchen presented itself when he was in his early twenties. From there, he worked at and established the Monneaux Restaurant as one of the Top 100 restaurants in South Africa. The young star chef spent 3 years in total honing his skills at Monneaux, before making a move to Cambridge, England. Once there, he joined up with some friends to open Bruno’s Brasserie, which saw the young chef add another host of rave reviews to his grow-ing following. In 2004, he decided to move back to South Africa to start his own restaurant (suitably named Reuben’s) with partners in Franschhoek.
Just 6 months after opening Reuben’s, Riffel scooped top honours at the 2004 Eat Out Restaurant Awards, winning both Chef of the Year and Restaurant of the Year. A restaurant which has attracted guests from all corners of the globe for over 12 years, Reuben’s has become a Franschhoek dining landmark.
A second Reuben’s was established at the prestigious One&Only Cape Town, an urban-chic international resort in the heart of the V&A Waterfront, in 2010. In 2013, Riffel added to his restaurant portfolio once more with the opening of Reu-ben’s at Abalone House, a five star luxury guesthouse in the seaside town of Paternoster. He also opened his first bistro-style eatery, Racine, at Chamonix Wine Estate in Franschhoek, that same year.
More About Reuben Riffel
During 2016, Riffel and his wife - Maryke - announced the exciting news that they’d be building a brand new home for Reuben’s in Franschhoek. The restaurant closed its doors at the original premises along Huguenot Street and opened a pop-up restaurant at Racine during the building period. The highly anticipated opening of Reuben’s is set for April 2017.
Riffel, renowned for his culinary prowess, describes his cuisine as eclectic and unpretentious. There is an honest simplicity to the food he serves throughout his restaurants, underpinned by his focus on the finest seasonal produce sourced from nearby suppliers. His philosophy is to keep things uncomplicated, bringing out the natural flavours of each ingredient, and to strive for perfect balance in the finished dish.
In addition to his successful restaurant portfolio, Riffel has also published 4 best-selling cookbooks (Reuben Cooks ; Reuben Cooks Local ; Braai: Reuben on Fire ; and Reuben at Home ). In 2013, Riffel took on the prestigious role of one of three judges on MasterChef South Africa’s third season. He hosted his first Afrikaans cooking show “5 Sterre met Reuben” in 2013, a 13-part television series that received high acclaim. In 2016, he hosted “Recipe for Success”, a 13-part television series that focused on giving passionate young culinary students an opportunity to showcase their skills - with a real-life job offer at stake. Further, Riffel is a proud brand ambassador for Samsung Home Appliances in South Africa.
Riffel is as committed to giving back to the community as he is passionate about cooking, and is a proud supporter of a number of charities close to his heart. He is a brand ambassador for Fairtrade South Africa, and is actively involved with the Peninsula School Feeding Association (PFSA), Hope Through Action, Hospice and Pinotage Youth Development Academy (PYDA). He is also an ambassador for Paarl School, a school for neurally disabled children.
Never one to rest, Riffel has a number of exciting new ventures on the horizon for 2017, including the opening of the brand new home of Reuben’s in Franschhoek and launching The Franschhoek Beer Co, a new microbrewery in the val-ley, in which he is a partner.
Reuben Riffel's List of events and awards
2004 - Eat Out Johnie Walker Restaurant Awards: Chef of the Year (Reuben Riffel) & Restaurant of the Year (Reuben’s Franschhoek)
2005 – Eat Out Johnie Walker Restaurant Awards: Top 10 Restaurants (Reuben’s Franschhoek)
2006 - Eat Out Johnie Walker Restaurant Awards: Top 10 Restaurants (Reuben’s Franschhoek)
2007 - UNILEVER Chef of the Year
2008 - Published “Reuben Cooks” (later awarded Best Chef’s Cookbook in SA - Gourmand World Cookbook Awards) .
2009 - Opened Reuben’s at The Robertson Small Hotel.
2010 – Opened Reuben’s at The One&Only Cape Town
2011 - Published “Reuben Cooks Local”
2012 – Current Compass Ambassador
2013 - Opened Racine at Chamonix Wine Estate; 5 Sterre Met Reuben aired on kykNet; Published “Braai – Reuben on Fire”; Signs a further 5 year contract with One&Only Cape Town
2014 – MasterChef South Africa Judge (Season 3)
2015 – 2018 - Samsung Ambassador
2017 – Published “Reuben at Home”
2016 – Closed Reubens Restaurant & Bar No 19 Huguenot Rd (after 12 years in one building)
2016 – 2017 – POP UP Reubens @ Racine
2017 – current - Open Reubens Restaurant & Bar (Own Building) just off the main road, Franschhoek Daniel Hugo Rd nr 2 – Franschhoek
2018 – opened Reubens @ Co Sandton Johannesburg (closed down after Covid19)
Paternoster has been closed, and after 9 beautiful years at the One & Only Hotel in Cape Town we also did not renew the contract.
Reubens & Co – Val de Vie Estate Opened 2017
Reuben Cooks: Food is Time Travel won best Chef book in South Africa, at the Gour-mand World Cookbook Awards
Reuben cooks local winner of Best Photography Cook book in South Africa at the Gour-mand World Cook Book awards
Braai, Reuben on fire won joint second place in the Sunday Times Cookbook of the Year Awards
Reuben At Home - 2017
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