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Conceptual chef and KWV brand ambassador Mynhardt Joubert's kitchen is the heart of his home in Paarl

Mynhardt Joubert describes himself as a chef, cook and “bottle washer” of his kitchen in his home in Station Street in Paarl.
“I am also KWV’s brand ambassador and conceptual chef – in which capacity I do events, catering, media launches and experiential dinners for the brand. I’ve also taken on custodianship of the newly launched The Cathedral Cellar Kitchen and Venue – a spectacular venue in the ‘womb’ of KWV, where some of the world’s largest vats stand.”

His husband, Ian Engelmohr, is a chartered accountant and avid ceramicist who makes extraordinarily beautiful and original plates and cups in his spare time, says Joubert. “If I’m lucky I get to work and plate food on his beautiful work – which is commission based.”

Sophia Adonis is Joubert’s right hand: “She runs the household and our lives. We have been cooking together for nearly 14 years. She is my friend and partner, and I’d be lost without her,” he says.

Station Street is their home, but it is also the space for Joubert’s “Huiskombuis” – a long table setting in the heart of the home which people can book for group dining experiences. “We seat guests in the kitchen, and they watch us cook; dinners are paired with beautiful KWV wines and consist of four to five courses.”

Chef Mynhardt
Joubert. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency/ANA

What made you choose the location?

I think the location chose us a couple of years ago. I was looking for accommodation in Paarl after moving from Riebeek Kasteel where I owned and ran Bar Bar Black Sheep Restaurant – it was a very creative space, and I needed something special to fill that gap. 24 Station Street is in the roof of an old corner shop building, and it has been beautifully renovated by Amor Strauss, the landlord.

The property is across from Paarl station and I always jokingly refer to the fact that I live on the wrong side of the tracks, but I love it! It is a loud and noisy station with taxis coming and going. It is vibrant and a true reflection of South Africa.

What did it look like when you bought or moved in?

The renovations weren’t complete and we lived in the house while there was no bathroom, only a toilet and a very small basin. They were still completing the floors, and the kitchen was not installed. Those were trying times. However, I knew what the result would be. It also gave me the opportunity to install the kitchen with the landlord and do the layout which suited my needs.

What dictates your decor style?

Necessity for one. There is not a lot of cupboard space, so everything that we put down needs to be functional and work for our lifestyle.

I am attracted to oversized pieces of furniture, and I love our two huge four-seater couches – I have the best naps on them; the dining room table is also large enough for 14 guests

I adore colour and light and cannot do without either of them.

A feature wall in Mynhardt Joubert’s living room, showing off some of his art collection. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency/ANA

What beautiful things in your home please you most?

The art that Ian brought when he moved in here – I love it. We have started collecting together and it is an amazing experience to acquire pieces with someone that you love, as there will always be memories attached to them. All our paintings and prints and sculptures are my favourite things, oh and my pots, my rainbow collection of pots and pans!

I love surrounding myself with things that have been repurposed. The carpet in my dining room is a huge piece of green wonder lawn. It is the best carpet I have owned as it is durable, tough and you can hose it down if necessary. Just perfect.

I picked up a big grid of burglar bars which I repurposed as a pot hanger after I found the ones in the shops were hellishly expensive and looked like fake stage props.

Our headboard is a world map that Ian bought on the street for R50. It makes me dream of all the places we still want to visit.

What is your favourite thing about your home?

We only have one door which is the entrance and exit. I painted it post office red a couple of weeks ago and I just love the fact there is a constant flow of people, faces and stories through it every day.

My house is one where people still rock up unannounced and more often than not stay for lunch or dinner or a couple of drinks. I would not want to change that for the world. So my red door – that is the most important part of my house and the door to my kitchen and the heart of my home.

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