Delaire Graff’s Latest Jewel: Chef Kayla-Ann Osborn

Posted on Mon November 2, 2020.

Situated just two-minutes up the road from De Zeven, Delaire Graff dedicates itself to beauty in all its forms. During a visit to the estate you'll hear things like, "much like polishing a diamond to reveal its brilliance, jeweller Laurence Graff has transformed an extraordinary natural setting into a world-class destination for wine, art, cuisine and escape from the every day."

Yet its latest jewel shines brighter than Vladimir Tretchikoff's original paintings hanging on the walls, or the smooth range of wines showcasing the Banhoek terroir. You'll find their latest jewel in the Delaire Graff Restaurant - and she's the first woman to assume the coveted role of Head Chef at this world-renowned restaurant.

When researching Chef Kayla-Ann Osborn, you'll be flooded with articles remarking on her culinary prowess, young age, and incredible talent. Yet, while she is just 27 years old, we feel it wrong to focus so heavily on her age, as this chef has been in the industry for long, with her expertise certainly outweighing the relevance of her youth. If anything, she's a Benjamin Button of sorts. A young woman with an incredibly mature palate and calmness which explains why she was chosen to start her tenure as Delaire Graff Restaurant's first female Head Chef.

Shaped by Strong Women

Since the age of six, Kayla-Ann knew that she wanted to become a chef, with fond memories of her gran teaching her to bake apricot jam squares and her traditional spaghetti Bolognese. In an interview with the award-winning culinary and travel writer, Wanda Henning, Kayla recalls those early moments in the kitchen saying, "my gran is so meticulous when she cooks. It must be good mince and properly browned, the onions perfectly caramelised. To this day, when I'm cooking in the kitchen in Scottburgh she watches me and still gives me uphill!" Kayla-Ann grew up in this quiet town on the south coast of KwaZulu-Natal, along with her two younger sisters in a house filled with "strong women - my mom and gran."  Since then, she has lived in Durban and now calls the Banhoek Valley 'home,' joining the likes of other inspirational, strong women such as Erika Obermeyer. 

Destined for Greatness

Not one to shy away from a challenge or be intimidated by her fellow chefs, Kayla-Ann won the regional finals of the Unilever Junior Chef of the Year in 2017. She also made a name for herself as the Head Chef at the well-known fine dining restaurant, 'The Chef's Table.' When talking about her career choice, she says, "I love it. I am not a particularly happy person when I'm not cooking" - and neither are we when one considers the dishes that she's creating.

A Taste of the Banhoek Valley

During a stay with us, we'd highly recommend lunch or dinner at the Delaire Graff Restaurant. Chef Kayla-Ann's Spring Menu has flavours of roast heirloom golden beetroot, local truffled gnocchi, and Cape Malay spiced pumpkin - amongst others. If you are vegan or vegetarian, Chef Kayla-Ann certainly hasn't held back and creates sensory experiences for every single one of her guests. All the dishes pair beautifully with the Delaire Graff portfolio of wines, while the menu constantly changes with the seasons and supports the ethos of sustainability.

Your Food is Only as Good as Your Produce

Just like De Zeven, Kayla-Ann firmly believes in the saying that your food is only as good as your produce. While our breakfasts and charcuterie boards are testament to this belief, Chef Kayla-Ann certainly takes this even further in her dishes, with her culinary vision being:

"I try to keep my focus as fresh and sustainable as possible. I love seafood and working with interesting or unused cuts such as chicken oysters or lamb belly. Ultimately, I enjoy creating dishes with flavour, sourced locally, which leave people feeling good." - Chef Kayla-Ann Osborn.

Chef Kayla-Ann Osborn's Recipes Just For You

If you'd like to try your hand at creating some of Kayla-Ann's dishes, here are some of her most popular recipes - just in time for the onset of the Festive Season.

Chef Kayla-Ann Osborn’s Local Fresh Truffled Gnocchi

Chef Kayla-Ann’s Grandmother’s Spaghetti Bolognaise featured in Taste Magazine