From sandwiches for farmhands to making upmarket meals for anyone

2017-08-22 14:04
Tim Lander at his restaurant, La Vitae in Chatterton Circle. Lander worked in many restaurants across the globe before finally settling down in his home town to share his love of food with his city of choice.

Tim Lander at his restaurant, La Vitae in Chatterton Circle. Lander worked in many restaurants across the globe before finally settling down in his home town to share his love of food with his city of choice. (Chelsea Pieterse)

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With regular customers including Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande at his restaurant, La Vitae owner Tim Lander is adament that the City of Choice is still his number one.

“I was born in Old Grey’s Hospital and went to school at Harburg in Wartburg before studying a Bcomm in accounting at UKZN.

“I finished my degree in 1999 and in 2000 I travelled to Europe, where I was supposed to drive tractors on farms but ended up grading potatoes and making sandwiches. It was terrible.

“I was staying with another South African at the time and we went to work at a hotel. I also had experience working in nightclubs before I started working in restaurants and became a maître d’ (responsible for the overall dining experience).

“I stayed in 13 countries in three-and-a-half years before I moved back to South Africa and went to Pretoria and worked at one of the top 15 restaurants in the country, La Pentola, which means “international saucepan”.

“I had to work in the kitchen for two months so I knew the food and realised that I really enjoyed working with food.

“I worked there for seven years before I moved back to
Pietermaritzburg and opened
Olive and Oil.

“I then sold Olive and Oil and opened up a restaurant in Hilton called Luminate which I ran for two years before I closed it last year and bought La Vitae.

“La Vitae is the only restaurant in Pietermaritzburg to be rated five stars on Tripadvisor.

“We treat people like they want to be treated. We care about people and our overall aim is to make them happy.

“Some of our regulars include Blade Nzimande, former Maritzburg college head Keith Olivier, DA MP John Steenhuisen and Bill Lambert.

“With La Vitae, I tried to create an upmarket dining place where we cater for everyone.

“You can have duck or order pizza, there is something for every occasion.

“We work with small, local businesses in Pietermaritzburg.

“It is such a lovely area and there is so much happening with small businesses here.

“It’s an inspirational area for food because there is so much fresh produce right here and we like to make our food from scratch.

“Pietermaritzburg has everything here. We have the Berg, we have some of the best schools in the country.

“We really have everything.”


Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  pmb people

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