Work hard, play fair!

An interview with Luke Dale-Roberts, owner and chef of The Test Kitchen.


As owner of Cape Town’s The Test Kitchen, the Brit is famous for his top-shelf cooking style. The waiting list for a table in his restaurant is longer than six months.

“A treat for the senses in a quirky, industrial space”: Cape Town’s The Test Kitchen is ranked at #44 in the 2019 list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

Its celebrated chef, British-born Luke Dale-Roberts, trained in Switzerland and England before heading to Asia for five years, where he launched several restaurants. He moved to Cape Town in 2006 and became head chef of La Colombe in Constantia before he opened The Test Kitchen in Woodstock in 2010.

Have you always been interested in cooking?

I used to cook a lot with my mum. But I really started cooking when I left school at the age of 16.

Has your mother tried your food?

My mum loves my food! She is really proud.

Where do you find inspiration for new dishes?

I find inspiration everywhere. I always keep my senses turned on. The seasons obviously drive my inspiration.

How do you feel about sustainability?

This is incredibly important. We use more and more regional products as there are more and more local suppliers and farm products.

Luke Dale-Roberts is South Africa’s most acclaimed chef. A creative, hard-working gentleman, warmhearted father, husband, and outstanding leader who has strong and super-clear values.

Being a chef is one of the hardest professions. How do you keep yourself motivated?

I get the strength from my family and the team I work with. They are all eager to learn. It is up to me to be strong and impart my knowledge to them.

What do self-realization and freedom mean to you? 

It is all about achieving your goals and being content with what you have achieved.

You are very successful. How do you handle fear and doubts? 

I always remember my core values: honesty, kindness, and generosity. Everyone experiences fear as they grow in life. But you have to stay grounded and faithful that everything will be okay as long as you live your life honestly.

Can you give any advice to people who strive for success?

Be willing to work hard, be committed, and stay focused.

Any cool insider tips for Cape Town?

Old Mac Daddy in Elgin is great for families. You sleep in converted Airstream trailers. And I recently went on a beautiful surf trip to Elands Bay on the West Coast with my son. My favorite bar is The House of Machines in Shortmarket Street.

The Test Kitchen
The Old Biscuit Mill, 375 Albert Road
Woodstock, Cape Town, ZA


Photography portrait & interior, food photography scallop & beef tartare | Andy Lund
Photography drinks trolley & lounge, food photography peking-quail sandwich | Justin Patrick

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