WORDS: CARLA REDELINGHUYS IMAGE: SUPPLIED
Jan Hendrik has been a busy man since he last appeared on our TV screens in 2016. For starters, restaurant JAN’s Michelin star has been renewed four times. And then of course there’s the upcoming second season of JAN, which starts on 3 February on VIA (DStv channel 147) and Showmax.
“Season one showed viewers what happened after the Michelin star,” he says. “In season two, we take them back to where it all started,” explains Jan Hendrik.
The second season was shot over the course of two years in France, Italy and South Africa and continues to offer viewers a behind-the-scenes look at Jan Hendrik’s life in Nice, but this time around, they’ll also get to see a much more vulnerable side of the chef.
“My father and my grandmother passed away within three months of one another,” he says. “My grandmother was actually present at the opening of Restaurant Maria, which was named after her. A lot of the second season deals with me questioning why I do what I do. The show’s director Carien Loubser has an amazing talent for getting me to open up in front of the camera, so you can expect a fair bit of tears from my side.”
Like season one, the second season of JAN will offer viewers a tour de force of breathtaking cinematography, especially when it comes to capturing the chef in his kitchen as he creates his exquisitely beautiful dishes that all have a bit of South Africa at their core. Think pap and snails, braaibroodjie macarons and blue cheese filled with moskonfyt.
“The dishes tie in with the emotional themes of each episode,” explains Jan Hendrik. “When I pay homage to my father, for example, I create a dish that centres around Hansa – the only beer he ever drank – and another one that’s a tribute to his favourite pap tart, which turns out to be this fantastical sculptural creation.”
Travel will form a central theme of season two, specifically destinations that helped shape Jan Hendrik’s food philosophy during his early days in Europe. In France, he returns to the site of his first ever Michelin-restaurant dining experience, introduces viewers to traditional French delicacies like snails, frogs’ legs and pigs’ feet, and revisits the old chateau where he once lived.
His travels also include a pilgrimage to Italy’s Piedmont region, the home of world-renowned cheeses, wines, olives and Nutella.
The last leg of the journey takes place in South Africa, where the show visits the new JAN Innovation Studio in Cape Town and viewers get to meet Jan Hendrik’s mother. “There’s an episode where I’m driving in the car with her and we talk about things we’ve never discussed before; important things,” says Jan Hendrik. “We end up going to a restaurant where I have way too much wine and end up with a serious case of dronkverdriet. I’d definitely say this season is much more personal than the first.”
As a final treat, viewers will get a taster of what to expect from Jan Hendrik’s first South African restaurant Klein JAN, which is situated on a farm in the Kalahari and guaranteed to make jaws drop when it opens its doors later this year. “But that’ll be a whole season in itself!” he says, laughing.