Popular Cape Town restaurant The Test Kitchen closes after 11 years in business. Picture: Facebook (The Test Kitchen)
Popular Cape Town restaurant The Test Kitchen closes after 11 years in business. Picture: Facebook (The Test Kitchen)

Top Cape Town eatery The Test Kitchen closes its doors after 11 years in business

By Lutho Pasiya Time of article published Jul 30, 2021

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The Test Kitchen in Cape Town is closing its doors after 11 years, marking the end of an era for this highly popular Woodstock eatery.

Since coming to Cape Town in 2006, owner/chef Luke Dale-Roberts has consistently proven his world-class standing with a string of awards and accolades.

The Test Kitchen opened at the Old Biscuit Mill in November 2010 and the following year Dale-Roberts was crowned Chef Of The Year at the Eat Out DStv Food Network Restaurant Awards.

That was only the beginning of a string of accolades; year by year The Test Kitchen climbed the ranks of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants by S. Pellegrino and Acqua Panna – first at number 74, then 61, and in 2014 it cracked the top 50 at number 48.

Culinary consultant and founder of Plant-Based Creative, Tamsin Snyman took to Instagram yesterday to announce the news.

“On the 30th of September Cape Town’s iconic culinary landmark, @thetestkitchenct, will serve its last meal and close its doors. After 11 wonderful, celebrated, and award-winning years, Luke has decided that the time is right to close The Test Kitchen permanently and concentrate on other projects.

“The Test Kitchen leaves behind an industry moulded by its creativity and success, and myriad chefs plying their trade at fine institutions around Cape Town, South Africa, and the world, all of whom cut their teeth in the famous kitchen under the watchful eye and mentorship of Luke Dale Roberts.

“Luke Dale Roberts and his Test Kitchen, will leave a deep legacy and have played an important part in the modern history of the South African restaurant industry. It is a sad announcement, but also exciting as Luke explores new, exciting projects,” wrote Snyman.

Dale-Roberts said he felt it was the right time. That the food they were producing was some of the best since they opened, and he was immensely proud of that.

“I believe that creativity comes in cycles, and I feel like I have come to the end of this creative cycle. With the current global uncertainty around Covid-19, it has become very difficult to sustain a restaurant of this kind and maintain everything that I believe in.

“I’d like to unreservedly thank everyone who has been a part of The Test Kitchen over the years. The staff, loyal guests, and everyone else who played a part in this incredible time of my life, and I look forward to continuing my creative journey,” he said.

Last year many independently-owned eateries and restaurants closed their doors for good, unable to see the way forward financially after months of little-to-no income and a future with more questions than answers. The restaurant industry was one of the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic as social distancing regulations closed down restaurants and bars in March.

Dale-Roberts said he would however continue to devote himself to The Pot Luck Club, and TTK Fledgelings, an upliftment programme that empowered people to learn how to cook.

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