The Jan and the restless: Chef turns his hand to publishing

Lifestyle

The Jan and the restless: Chef turns his hand to publishing

South African Michelin-star chef Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen has launched a new luxury publication

Roberta Thatcher

First a Michelin star at JAN the Restaurant in Nice, France, followed by a successful début of JAN the Television Show, and now famed South African chef Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen is venturing into publishing. His biannual JAN the Journal launched last month and has already sold out online. Like his bestselling recipe books, the journal at more than 250 pages is a visual feast: part coffee-table cookbook, part luxury lifestyle magazine and part travelogue.
“I’ve always loved magazines, ever since I was a child,” says the chef, who once worked as a food photographer for Elle magazine, first in South Africa and then in France. “The journal is a way for me to be more current than with my cookbooks, which take a long time to get on the shelf.”
He wanted to create something that people could cherish and keep, something that would be timeless, but at the same time relevant to the way we think about food right now.An exceptionally beautiful publication, the Journal takes the reader on an epicurean voyage with a special focus on South African ingredients and recipes. “There are just over 50 recipes in total, so in a way it is actually a cookbook,” he says. 
The first issue starts with a 10-course meal and, while this may sound overwhelming, for the chef it is a way to inspire people to dine again. “Nothing celebrates life in quite the same way,” says Van der Westhuizen. “Setting a table with flowers and candles for the sole purpose of gathering together allows us to reflect on everything that is beautiful about life.”The beauty of the recipes is that none of them is overly fussy or difficult. “They’re classic crowd-pleasers,” he explains, a collection of some of his favourite dishes including some featured in his restaurant and his TV show – such as his cannelloni and edible kaiing candle.As well as recipes, the journal is full of ideas on how to enrich your life through food. “To me, food and lifestyle are inseparable,” says the chef. “Each issue is inspired by a destination, but at the same time, deeply rooted in South African cuisine and heritage – just like my work as a chef.”For Issue 1, there was a strong Italian flair inspired by Apricale, which flavoured the issue. The bulk of the issue was however about South African ingredients and the stories behind them, from rooibos to edible flowers, seafood and cooking outdoors. “I think South Africans will feel proud of what we have,” says Van der Westhuizen.With only two issues released every year, The Journal is highly collectable, driven as it is by timeless and inspiring content. “I think people still want to hold something of value in their hands,” says Jan Hendrik, when asked about the place of a luxury publication in our increasingly digital world. “Things have become so dispensable, but no matter how much our lives have digitised, we still want a sense of luxury.”Through a collection of original images, high-quality stories, profiles and recipes, the journal transports the reader, illuminating and informing us about Van der Westhuizen’s world of food.  “I hope that it will inspire people to take another look at the life of food - where it comes from and how it’s made,” he says. “I want readers to feel utter joy and indulgence when they hold a copy of the journal.”
JAN the Journal is at Woolworths nationwide while stock lasts.

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