Chef in the City featuring Ian Lilley.

Executive Chef of My Kinda Restaurants Group: Knife, Fork and Spoon

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Date 30 October 2019
Author Tatum Sieni
Contact Name Henk Coetzee
Contact Email info@knife-restaurants.co.za
Contact Telephone +27 21 551 5000
URL Knife Restaurant

British born Ian Lilley earned his culinary stripes in the hot kitchens of London with the enviable privilege to cook for the British Royal Family at The Royal Opera House as well as several four-star and five-star establishments in the Accor Group.

His first Head Chef position was at Food by Dish in Greenwich, South East London, working his way up to Executive Chef, which he held for seven years. 

Ian and his wife moved to Cape Town in 2015, opening a restaurant on a wine farm on the R44.

But farm life was not to be as they succumbed to the call of the city lights when Ian joined the My Kinda Restaurants Group that owns Knife Restaurant in Century City, Fork Restaurant on Long Street and a winter pop up restaurant called Spoon. 

We caught up with Ian and asked him some not-so-chef questions.

If you were a contestant in a cooking competition such as “The Last Plate”, what would be your entry dish to wow the judges and why?

It would have to be the classic steak and chips, using a dry-aged sirloin, thrice cooked chips, and a tarragon béarnaise sauce. It might sound a bit boring but done right it’s the best meal in the world!

What global culinary destination is on your bucket list and why (this can be a country or a specific restaurant)

Definitely India! I love curries.  I love the passion of Indian food and what it represents in the Indian culture.  From the super spicy curry in the north of India to the sweeter coconut curry in the warmer Southern India.  The variety is tantilising!

You are invited for dinner at friends, but you must bring a dish.  What do you take?

Chakalaka! As a Brit, I was introduced to this dish whilst traveling around South African in the early 2000’s.  It brings together two of my favourite things: beans and curry.  What more could you want from life, but to have a side dish that goes with everything you could possibly braai?