Taj Cape Town Hotel’s New Star Chef Promises Full Immersion

Having bolstered its hospitality team with the appointment of renowned French chef David Tilly, Taj Cape Town has further cemented its reputation as one of South Africa’s most refined inner city hotels.

French chef and food visionary David Tilly has near 20 years experience, having worked as sous chef at L’Auberge David Martin in Boulogne Billancourt before joining Le Meurice in Rue de Rivoli to work under Yannick Alléno. During his time there, the restaurant won its second and third Michelin stars.

From there, Tilly began cultivating his love for Asian cuisine, which took him to Taj Palace Hotel New Deli, the Orient Express. From New Delhi, he moved to Taj Palace Marrakech, before joining Taj 51 Buckingham Gate as executive head chef. Tilly is the perfect embodiment of the east-meets-west philosophy that Taj Cape Town exudes, with a unique cooking style that combines his French flair with cross-cultural artistry.

The new executive chef at Taj Cape Town is in a unique position to understand what makes gastronomy stand out in a travel market where foodie experiences abound. He is especially cognisant of the penchant for healthy, and ecological, eating among younger millennial travellers.

“[This] has given rise to a focus on ethically-sourced, seasonal ingredients that are appropriate for a plant-based or low-carb diet,” says Tilly, who believes Asian cuisine best serves the latest culinary preferences.

“South Indian cuisine lends itself to this style of eating, with subtle, flavours including fresh coconut and seafood,” Tilly confirms. “London’s Quilon (run by friend Chef Sriram Aylur) put South West Indian cuisine on the map in the UK, winning its first Michelin star in 2008 and retaining it ever since. For me, this is the best Indian restaurant in London.”

But beyond the actual food and flavour, Tilly emphasises that dining out must be a “whole experience.”

“People expect top restaurants to entertain and take them on a journey,” he says. “Eating out is increasingly becoming synonymous with theatrical immersion. Diners expect to be delighted, surprised and ‘tricked’ – in a way that immerses all the senses”.

Hall 20 / Stand 138

Photo : David Tilly Taj Executive Chef