Cooking barefoot with a whale

Hermanus bed and breakfastA recent trip to Hermanus lead to me to what is classified as this sleepy little whale town’s number one restaurant – The Barefoot Cook. While the name conjures up images of a caveman clambering pots and pans in the kitchen, the reality is that this cook does it best without shoes on.

Known for its bistro style meals and recommended by many of the Hermanus Bed and Breakfasts, the Barefoot Cook is a local favourite and often frequented by out-of-towners. No matter the season or the time of day, you can enjoy European style food in the quaint courtyard or in the intimate setting of the restaurant itself which is as cosy in winter as it is airy in summer.

Far from a caveman, the owner, Marie-Claire, relies on the seasons for her inspiration and changes the menu accordingly. With a ‘farm to table’ sort of feel, all the fresh produce and herbs come from her garden and the delicious, dynamic flavour combinations are a testament to this. It is also fitting that the food is lovingly described as ‘simple peasant food with a punch of creative license and an infusion of European flare and flavour.’

Hermanus Bed and BreakfastMarieclaire’s European influence comes from the time she spent working across the world in countries with gourmet notoriety such as France, Germany, the Netherlands and even the Caribbean and she has passed on what she has learned in these various kitchens to her staff. The result of this knowledge is dishes that change daily and are based on the premise of comfort food.

With this in mind, one can expect delectable casseroles, fragrant pasta dishes and the freshest fish, straight from the ocean. You can be sure that if it’s not fresh, it won’t be on the menu and while she does her best to source something, sometimes Marie-Claire can’t get her hands on that single ingredient needed to add flare to her favourite dishes. In this case she would rather not have the dish on her menu at all than tempt the Gods of ill-flavoured food.

Very much a homely place, much like many of the Hermanus Bed and Breakfasts on offer, the Barefoot Cook promises not to disappoint. Don’t be fooled by its size or the number of staff because these barefoot contessas are light on their feet in the kitchen and fast on their toes on the floor.



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