Putting a smile on Fancourt facesJuly 2nd, 2012 by Andrew Moth | Categories: food, hotels, industry, people, restaurants, tourism, training
Nicky King is the new head pastry chef at Fancourt, the golf and leisure resort near George on the Garden Route.
Described as a confectioner extraordinaire, she has joined Fancourt fresh from a stint on the open seas, where she served as head pastry chef on board the Nautica and the Regatta, two Oceania cruise liners, as well as on the Disney cruise ships Dream and Wonder.
Born and raised in the Western Cape, King graduated with an international pastry diploma from the Zevenwacht Chefs School, before embarking on her career.
She also received an international diploma in pastry from City & Guilds (Southern Africa) in Cape Town.
Her new position at Fancourt, heading up the pastry kitchen that caters for the entire hotel, all its restaurants and growing banqueting business, fulfils a dream.
Not only does she head a team of pastry chefs, she is also responsible for creating the pastry menus, and for training and developing her team. Ultimately, this gives her the freedom to indulge in her penchant for creating “fantasy confectionery” that never fails to light up the faces of guests.
She started her own training at Limnos Bakers in Cape Town as assistant pastry chef and confectioner in 1999, and cites the Limnos brothers as her first mentors.
This was followed by stints at the Winchester Mansions Hotel in Sea Point, the Arabella Sheraton (now Westin) Hotel in Cape Town and the Mount Nelson, where she honed her skills working with Garth Stroebel.
Keen to broaden her horizons and gain international experience, she worked on the Crystal cruise ships Harmony and Symphony. She also worked in London, before returning to South Africa in June 2009 to work at Le Quartier Francais in Franschhoek. Then it was back to the cruise liners till her move to Fancourt.
She says: “I am inspired by the extraordinary natural beauty that surrounds me at Fancourt and the scope of the catering operations here, that allow me to dream up creative confectionery that is absolutely delicious and a visual delight.
“Among my favourites are the traditional Tiramisu served at our family-friendly Italian restaurant La Cantina, and the delicious Chocolate Fondant served at Henry White’s, where it perfectly complements the chef’s classic international cuisine.”
She describes her style as “old school with a modern twist” and her recipe for success is using fresh seasonal products and maintaining simplicity, while working with different textures. At the top of her priority-list is creating a happy, though productive work environment for her team.