08 December 2008

The two chefs

Chefs Paul Hartmann and Garth Stroebel have been appointed by Aqua Bimini to be personal chefs to the stars. Who are these two well-known and well-respected chefs?

Paul Hartman
Paul Hartmann was born to be a chef. He says, "I don't know how anyone could want to do anything but cook". His huge appetite for knowledge means that he never learned, for example, just how to make a soufflé - he learned why each ingredient reacts the way it does to make the soufflé. His knowledge of the history, the components, the science and the art of food is renowned in the industry.

Paul is South African. Born in Johannesburg, he attended Hotel School to earn his qualification. Quickly distinguishing himself as a dedicated and talented chef, Paul worked in the kitchens of many of SA's top hotels, including the Royal Hotel, the President, Sandton Sun, the Beverly Hills and the Mount Nelson. During this time he met and formed a close friendship with Garth Stroebel. It was Garth who introduced Paul to culinary competitions.

Paul was elected to Team SA in 1990 when he travelled to Prague under the captaincy of Bill Gallagher, and his involvement with the Team SA from a very young age gave him the privilege of being exposed to the finest chefs around the world, satisfying his thirst for knowledge. He was part the team that was crowned 'World Champions in the Hot Kitchen' at the IKA Culinary Olympics in Frankfurt in '92.

Actively involved with Team SA since and now an advisor to the Team, Paul is committed to the training and betterment of young South African chefs. For many years, Paul was a moderator and consultant lecturer to various culinary schools and, as much as he was born to be a chef, he was born to be an educator too. He has a knack that few people, let alone chefs, possess, in his ability to describe and explain something so well that anyone watching him doing a food demonstration is spellbound. His ability to reach the audience is a rare quality and he is both professional and methodical in his approach.

These attributes, coupled with a wicked sense of humour, will ensure that his students will not only learn from him, they will also learn how to have fun with food and enjoy the experiences that await them in the big wide world of the kitchen.

Paul is an accredited judge on the World Association of Cooks Societies' roll; he adjudicates at international culinary competitions annually. As an honorary member of the Emirates Culinary Guild, he has adjudicated at their various culinary competitions in Dubai since 2000.

Garth Stroebel
Some of the top chefs in the country were trained by Garth Stroebel, and they name him as their mentor. He is demanding, particular and perfectionist, yet all the chefs who have worked with him will tell you how they value their time spent with him, how they learned from the best, were taught the basic classic principles, and developed a passion for their profession. His trainees have moved on, some going overseas to make a name for themselves, while many are executive chefs in this country.

Garth is South African. He trained at the 5-star Edward Hotel in '73 and continued his training at the Mount Nelson Hotel. Following a trip overseas, he worked at the famous Carlton Hotel in '76. Between '77 and '90, Garth worked at various SA hotels including the Beacon Island, the Newlands, and Southern Sun hotels in Durban, Bloemfontein, Cape Town and Johannesburg.

Garth Stroebel was the first born, bred and trained SA chef to be appointed as the executive chef of a 5-star establishment when he joined the President Hotel in '85. In '90 he returned to the Mount Nelson Hotel and in '98 he was promoted to the position of Corporate Chef for the African collection of Orient-Express Hotels, which includes the Mount Nelson Hotel, The Westcliff & Gametrackers.

Garth has travelled the world, making connections, sharing ideas with the greatest chefs and always coming back home with new influences - something new he has seen, touched, eaten. He is a staunch supporter of South African food and ingredients, and leads the way in developing modern South African cuisine.

Garth is a seasoned international competitor, both as an individual and as the leader of Team SA. He was the recipient, amongst other awards, of the SA Chefs Association's prestigious Pinnacle Chef award for excellence and contribution to culinary standards in SA. He is an accredited judge on the World Association of Cooks Societies' roll and adjudicates at international culinary competitions annually.


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