It has been nine weeks since opening and having received some really positive reviews, especially about the food, I have a humbling admission to make to myself. There is no ‘I’ in LanTana.
While I may be the chirpy proprietor steering the ship, below deck there is a formidable team beavering away in the kitchen and propelling us forward.
All of the awesome food we serve at our stunning café, from the properly scrambled eggs, the super salads and sunny breakfasts offerings, to the irresistible home baking is made at Lantana by a small dedicated team who arrive in the dark early hours of the morning and leave in the dark hours of the late afternoon, rarely surfacing from the basement kitchen to see daylight.
There’s Lisa, our calm, unflappable head chef from Newcastle Australia who handles a squeeze bottle like a sheriff handles a pistol;
Pete, our sous chef, who left the poorly paid, shallow world of advertising to pursue a more glamorous life as a chef, knowing he looked his best in white;
Slimane, our multilingual French Moroccan kitchen assistant who never loses his cool or his sense of humour, no matter how high the dirty dishes stack;
and Becky our part time chef, who is to vegetables what Gok Wan is to women- the makeover queen.
They spend their days sating the appetites of people they don’t know and rarely even see, so if they could have any meal prepared for them, what would it be and who would they want it prepared by?
For Lisa it’s a Lebanese feast with homemade chapattis, tabouleh, hummus and kibbeh made by her flatmate Candy. Pete requested roast swan or peacock prepared (posthumously) by Auguste Escoffier the grand-pere of French cuisine. Slimane misses the cous cous that only his mother can make, and Becky wants to re-experience the 14 course vegetarian dinner she had in a 12 seater restaurant in Japan, made by a chef called Mr Michi.
For me, it would be roast chicken made by my dad....but this is not about me.
Lisa, Pete, Becky and Slimane, thank you - from the bottom of my stomach.