Steffen Olivier is a self-styled ambassador of South African food and wine who is not shy to pursue his goals and make a mark on the local and international scenes in the process.
Driven by big dreams and a can-do attitude, Steffen does not hesitate to put it all on the line in his pursuit of building and promoting the South African good food brand.
Having qualified from the Institute of Culinary Arts in Cape Town, he has built a steady reputation and career as a young entrepreneur with a clear vision, undoubted talent and a passion for the country’s culinary treasures.
He cut his teeth in the business by working under Mike Bassett at his renowned Cape Town restaurants Ginja and Myoga, before jetting off to the Far East and South East Asia for what he terms “a year-long culinary tour”.
He returned in time for the 2010 World Cup and set up his first business consulting to local eateries to help them to prepare for the month-long festival of football, fun and South African hospitality.
He has since established the Food Embassy with a business partner that still provides food consulting, but has also introduced the innovative Chef’s Bench – an epicure food truck that celebrates popular South African barbecued food.
In pursuing this idea of transient food, the company is setting up a pop-up restaurant in Cape Town this winter and will be introducing a second Chef’s Bench truck in Johannesburg next year.
One of Olivier’s most ambitious projects is his South African wine distribution company, Wine Africa, which he set up in Taiwan. Apart from expanding its footprint over the course of this year, he will also be introducing his own range of wine into Taiwan.
While Olivier has been fortunate to make a living from his passion for good South African food and wine, none of this would be possible if he did not live his mantra of moving from “I could” to “I can”. — Johann Barnard