Who is Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen?
Someone with a generous flow of ambition and drive, who was brave enough to follow his dream of owning a small restaurant. A perfectionist at heart with an eye for aesthetics and someone who sticks to what he knows, and does not believe in shortcuts but in hard work and long hours. Someone who preserves and embraces tradition, while daily trying to bring people together through good food and hospitality.
What is your best childhood memory?
Spending time with my mother and grandmothers in the kitchen, chasing the chickens on the farm, “klei lat” and fishing, and my mothers peppermint crisp tart.
If you had a chance for a “do over” in life, what would you do differently?
I’d rather regret the things I have done than the things I haven’t done.
What do you feel most proud of?
Restaurant JAN, MARIA and receiving a Michelin star.
If you could keep only 3 possessions, what would they be and why?
My grandmothers recipes as we use them daily in JAN, my camera and my coffee machine. Coffee pulls you through a hectic shift and keeps you sane and as for my camera, a photographer needs his camera!
What do you want your Tombstone to say?
What is JAN?
JAN is a magical place. My home away from home, my heritage and my creative outlet. JAN is equally hard work as it is rewarding. JAN brings people together and makes them feel special and welcome. JAN is a true example of South African hospitality.
What is your favorite kind of coffee?
Definitely an Americano, filtered, medium roasted Colombian bean. I prefer a medium roast to a dark roast, as you get a slight caramelized element to the flavors but it does not overshadow them.
In which coffee shops are we likely to bump into you?
Any artisanal coffee shop. A place that offers a cozy and relaxed environment, with a strong scent of coffee as you walk into it. Roasting a new batch per day is a must, pastries made from scratch, and they should offer the local newspaper.
What does a perfect day look like?
While enjoying my first cup of coffee, I start planning my day before my daily trip to the fresh produce local market, (of course that never disappoints!) which will then dictate the dishes we will offer at JAN that evening. Further, beautiful scenery and a fresh baguette is enough to make any day perfect.