Chef brings out all the stops for good cause

Chef Ivor Jones picks herbs from the veggie garden and loves using fresh produce in his dishes.

A local chef will be doing his bit for the environment, dishing up tapas at a Soil for Life fund-raising dinner later this month.

Ivor Jones grew up in Glencairn and now lives in Plumstead. He was 17 years old when his mother died. He says she was a fantastic cook and made the best lasagne and macaroni cheese.

He started to cook for himself and enjoyed it, and went on to graduate from the SA Chefs Academy in Observatory.

For the next 10 years he worked with Luke Dale Roberts at La Colombe and then The Test Kitchen before linking up with Liam Tomlin to run the Chef’s Warehouse at Beau Constantia.

Ivor uses seasonable ingredients, preferably organic and homegrown, but the garden on the wine estate was a pretty one but not functional. And with no idea about gardening, he put out a call on social media and heard about Soil for Life.

“Do you know that since 2008 they’ve educated over 5 000 home gardeners in how to grow fresh vegetables and sustain themselves? It’s an incredible achievement,” he says.

He met with the non-profit’s founder, Pat Featherstone, and one week later they delivered piles of compost, laid out planting beds and provided a gardener.

Ivor says that in one year they have learnt so much and are continuing to try new things, but this past week they harvested artichokes, Swiss chard and parsley from the garden which he turned into a risotto.

Pat says each person attending the Home Food Gardening programme pays R15 for which they receive a booklet, compost, tools, seeds and training on how to sustain their garden.

Funds raised at the dinner will go towards covering the costs of this programme.

The charity dinner is on Wednesday June 20 and costs R1 200 per couple, including seven tapas dishes, dessert and Beau Constantia wines. To book, call 021 794 8632 (extension 1) or email For information about Soil for Life, visit

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