Duncan Welgemoed was raised with food influences from his homeland South Africa, and the Italian and Portuguese cuisine of his godparents. He went on to train as a chef in the UK where he learnt his trade working in Michelin starred restaurants including Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, The Boose at Britwell Salome (where Duncan was Head Chef under Michael Morse – Executive Chef).
His versatility in the kitchen is a testament to his willingness to soak up the lessons of each experience and adapt them to his own cooking style that is all about balanced flavours, adapting to seasons and honouring the local terroir: invention and creativity without the need for novelty.
Duncan is considered to be one of Adelaide’s foremost and exciting chefs. He took over Bistro Dom as executive chef in 2011 receiving many accolades including The Australian’s Hottest Restaurant in SA (Hot 50 Restaurants, 2013), The Advertiser’s Chef of The Year (2013) and listed in the Hot 50 Restaurants 2014.
His unshackled approach to the successful dining at Adelaide Festival’s club – Lola’s Pergola – showcased South Australia’s local produce first and foremost, giving credit to those who grow it, nurture it and deliver it to your plate. The 10 night degustation program at Lola’s Pergola designed by Welgemoed was as impeccably curated as the festival itself.
In 2014, he left Bistro Dom and opened Africola as executive chef and co-owner. Gathering inspiration from his heritage and a desire to bring something entirely new to South Australia, the menu features a perfect marriage of South African flavour with some of Duncan’s Portuguese, Indian, Malaysian and Dutch influences. Pair that with his keen ability to reinvigorate tradition with a clean and contemporary style and you have Africola’s cuisine. The menu is cooked using traditional and contemporary cooking techniques: a full hearth has been built for slow cooking certain dishes over ash and coal.
Africola is Duncan’s autobiography; it’s the food his chef father taught him how to cook in backyard braais, it’s his years of learning his trade under the best, it’s his love of foraging and his militant seasonality, all interpreted for a modern Australian audience.
Since opening Africola has scored in the top 100 Hottest Restaurants in The Financial Review peer-voted awards.
“Welgemoed does beauty. He does power. He does storytelling. He does direct. He’s a Hemmingway of a chef. And Africola might be his first great novel.” The Australian