Luke Dale-Roberts

The Test Kitchen, which opened in November 2010, has the celebrated chef cooking at his most creative in a distinctive contemporary space.

British-born Luke trained in Switzerland and England before heading to Asia for a five year stint, launching several restaurants in Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and the Philippines. “My time in Europe taught me to cook; my time in Asia broadened my horizons”, says Luke.

“A truly fantastic chef, … he has this ability of putting seemingly incongruent ingredients together in such a way that they work amazingly well – which is something close to my heart.” – Heston Blumenthal, The Fat Duck.

Since coming to Cape Town in 2006, Luke has consistently proven his world-class standing with a string of awards and accolades.

A four year tenure as the executive chef of La Colombe restaurant at the Constantia Uitsig wine estate culminated in winning the title of Acqua Panna Best Restaurant in Africa and Middle East 2010 and an amazing 12th place in the overall San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2010.

Luke has continued to garner awards at The Test Kitchen, winning the title Chef of the Year at the 2011 Eat Out DStv Food Network Restaurant Awards. The Test Kitchen moved up from No.2 in 2011 to win the Restaurant of the Year in 2012 Eat Out DStv Food Network Restaurant Awards.

“When Luke is working closely with his team it seems more like he’s dancing with them – it’s a performance! … his thrilling flavours have pushed the boundaries and eating his food is simply heart-stopping.”
– Abigail Donnelly, Editor and Awards judge, Eat Out

Most recently, at the prestigious World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards 2013, The Test Kitchen made an impressive leap to No. 61 on the list, climbing up 13 places from no.74 in 2012. More significantly, The Test Kitchen was singled out as the winner of the “Cacao Barry One To Watch Award” 2013, indicating momentum that may well secure a place in the Top 50 next year.

Though Luke is no stranger to the The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, having placed La Colombe in the Top 50 in both 2009 and 2010, the award is an enormous accolade for a young, independent restaurant.

As Luke says: ‘What we do at The Test Kitchen is always a bit different. That is our constant. ” Luke adds: “I need to move forward. Everything in my life has to be about progress. And quality.’

Luke opened his own restaurant because he craved complete freedom for his creativity and talent. He has succeeded in achieving fantastic recognition of that in under three years at The Test Kitchen.

The Test Kitchen, as its name implies, affords Luke the opportunity for maximum innovation as a chef and the dishes are a pure reflection of his creativity with flavours and ingredients.

“The most important thing is flavour, and layers of flavour” explains Luke.