Jane-Therese Mulry is the Executive Chef of The Saxon Hotel, Villas and Spa in Saxonwold.
Jane-Therese is engaging and funny, and her Australian accent unmistakable. She really wanted a job where she could combine her passion, and earn money doing it. She saw becoming a chef as her passport to that opportunity – although she initially wanted to play hockey for Australia, she admits with a grin.
She selected to do a prevocational six-month course so that she could start working as soon as possible. She (of course) passed with top marks in her class, before entering her four-year apprenticeship and moving on to the Hyatt Regency in Coolum.
She shares that she had to find her feet from day one. Having only done a six-month training course, working in the kitchen was initially quite overwhelming, but she learnt quickly and thrived in what can often be classified as a tough industry.
That was twenty-eight years ago and clearly, she loves what she does. And the travel? Oh, yes there has been travel. England beckoned and Jane-Therese yielded to its call. En-route was a stop-over in South Africa, where she wound up staying much longer than expected. She accepted a position at ‘The Three Ships-Carlton Hotel’ before moving to Cape Town, where she spent time working alongside Garth Stroebel at the Mount Nelson Hotel.
Finally, she boarded her plane to England and spent two years with Marco Pierre White in his legendary Michelin star restaurants, returning to South Africa to open the Airport Intercontinental, before joining the Saxon for the first time in 2003 as Executive Sous Chef.
She has literally traversed the globe and worked in some of the most prestigious hotels, from Bennelong at the Sydney Opera House to Qualia on Hamilton Island (recognised by Condé Nast as the best resort in the world in 2012), to North Island in the Seychelles, The Siam in Bangkok and Segera in Kenya. The list seems almost endless, and incredible. Almost as impressive as the list of international and local chefs she has shared kitchens with.
“I love The Saxon Hotel and Spa, and the luxury market, so returning to its beautiful property, steeped in history and tradition was like returning home. ” says Jane-Therese
We asked her what her favourite dish on the menu at The Saxon was, and without hesitation Jane-Therese says it must be the ‘Saxon Torte’, which is world renowned and also Oprah’s favourite dish to order when she’s in residence. Having gone through many different changes and tweaks over the years with the different chefs, The Saxon Torte has stood the test of the time, and is still on the menu in all its glory.
Jane-Therese lists late chef Billy Gallagher as one of her greatest inspirations to her craft, and adds that he has left a legacy behind that is far reaching and inspiring to the up and comers in the industry.
“It doesn’t matter who you are. If you are good at what you do and have something to offer, people will respect you no matter what,” says Jane-Therese, wisdom which can certainly be applied to any facet of life, or any industry for that matter.
A: 36 Saxon Road, Sandhurst
T: 011 292 6000
Hello Joburg was first published in April 1980 as a monthly restaurant and entertainment magazine. Over the years we have developed a network of patriotic Joburgers that love nothing more than sharing their experiences in this beautiful city!