Signature Living

Reuben Riffel

Chef de Cuisine and Co-Owner
Reuben’s Restaurant

Thirty nine year old South African sensation Reuben Riffel started his career in the town to which he was born – Franschhoek – known in South Africa and increasingly, across the globe, as a prime food and wine destination.


Reuben’s first opportunity to run his own kitchen came when he was in his early twenties. From there, he worked and established the Monneaux restaurant as one of the Top 10 restaurants in South Africa. The young star chef spent three years in total honing his skills at Monneaux before making a move to Cambridge, England. Once there, he joined up with some friends to open Bruno’s Brasserie, which saw the young chef add another host of rave reviews to his growing following. Most recently, he decided to move back to South Africa to start his own restaurant (suitably named Reuben’s!) with partners.

Only 6 months into this new venture, Reuben scooped top honours at the 2004 Eat Out Johnnie Walker Restaurant Awards, winning both Chef of the Year and Restaurant of the Year. The restaurant has inspired return visits from locals and visitors alike and is quickly becoming a Franschhoek fixture.

Reuben’s cuisine is eclectic with a concentration and focus given to the best local and seasonal produce available. Chef Reuben feels the restaurant owes its success to the emphasis on simplicity, value for money and the modern yet classic décor. Reuben’s philosophy on food is to keep things simple by bringing out the natural flavours of the produce and when combining flavours, to strive for perfect balance.


2004 - Eat Out Johnie Walker Restaurant  CHEF OF THE YEAR & Eat Out Johnie Walker Restaurant  RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR in the country
2005 – Eat Out Johnie Walker Restaurant TOP TEN in the country
2006 -  Eat Out Johnie Walker Restaurant TOP TEN in the country
2007 – UNILEVER CHEF OF THE YEAR – by invitation only

2008 - More recently Reuben added author to his list of achievements having published his first cookbook.
Reuben Cooks, food is time travel – launched nov ’08, just awarded best chef’s book in south Africa as announced by Spain based Edouard Cointreau, the president of the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards

2009 – opened a small Reubens @ The Robertson Small Hotel in Robertson

2010 – opened a Reubens Restaurant @ The One and Only Cape Town

2011- published his second cookbook – Reuben Cooks Local

2013 – first cooking programme

2013 – 3rd cookbook – Reuben on Fire

2013 – opening another small Reubens @ Abelone House Paternoster