Reuben Riffel: A Culinary Journey

Reuben Riffel: A Culinary Journey

Reuben Riffel, born on December 23, 1974, in Franschhoek, South Africa, developed a passion for cooking from a young age. Growing up in Groendal, Franschhoek, he was surrounded by an environment where cooking and savoring good food were deeply valued.

Reuben Riffel

Born 23 December 1974 (age 49)

Franschhoek, Cape Province, South Africa
Spouse Maryke Riffel
Children 2
Culinary career
Cooking style South African cuisine

His early exposure to his mother’s occasional culinary delights from the restaurants she worked in ignited his palate for fine cuisine. Despite his initial career interest in the building trade, Riffel found his true calling in the hospitality industry, starting as a waiter and later transitioning to the kitchen, where he honed his culinary skills.


Riffel’s culinary journey began at Chamonix Restaurant, where he worked under the mentorship of chefs like Christoph Dehosse and Richard Carstens. His dedication and talent propelled him from sous chef to executive chef, earning him acclaim for his innovative dishes. In 2004, he opened his first restaurant, “Reuben’s,” in Franschhoek, quickly establishing it as a culinary landmark renowned for its exceptional cuisine. Over the years, he expanded his restaurant empire, opening establishments across South Africa, each reflecting his philosophy of simplicity and balance in cooking.


  • Reuben’s Restaurant, Franschhoek (2004)
  • Reuben’s Restaurant, Robertson Small Hotel, Robertson (2009)
  • Reuben’s Restaurant, One&Only Hotel, Victoria & Alfred Waterfront (2011 – 2019)
  • Reuben’s Restaurant, Abalone House, Paternoster (2013)
  • Racine (now Arkeste), Chamonix, Franschhoek (2013)
  • Reuben’s Restaurant, The Capital Ivy, Sandton, Gauteng (2018)
  • Let’s Frite, Franschhoek and Allee Bleue Wine Estate, Franschhoek, Western Cape (2021)

Television and Media

Riffel’s culinary expertise transcended the kitchen onto television screens, where he hosted cooking shows and served as a judge on popular cooking competitions. His appearances on international platforms like The Martha Stewart Show and The Today Show showcased his talent to a global audience. As a brand ambassador for Robertsons Herbs and Spices and Samsung Home Appliances, he continues to inspire aspiring chefs through his television advertisements.


Riffel’s passion for sharing his culinary creations led to the publication of three cookbooks, each offering a glimpse into his diverse repertoire of recipes:

  • Reuben Cooks: Food is Time Travel (2008)
  • Reuben Cooks Local (2011)
  • Braai: Reuben on Fire (2013)


Throughout his career, Riffel garnered numerous accolades, including the SA Chef of the Year Award and the Eat Out Restaurant of the Year Award for his flagship restaurant in Franschhoek. His commitment to excellence and culinary innovation earned him recognition both locally and internationally.

Personal Life and Philanthropy

Outside the kitchen, Riffel is a devoted husband to his wife Maryke and a loving father to their two children. He is actively involved in charitable initiatives, supporting organizations like the Peninsula School Feeding Association and Hospice, among others. Through his charity events and social activities, he continues to make a positive impact on his community.

Reuben Riffel’s culinary journey is a testament to his passion, creativity, and unwavering commitment to the art of cooking. From humble beginnings to culinary stardom, he has left an indelible mark on South Africa’s gastronomic landscape.


Reuben Riffel’s culinary journey is a remarkable tale of passion, perseverance, and culinary excellence. From his humble beginnings in Franschhoek, South Africa, to becoming a renowned celebrity chef and restaurateur, Riffel’s dedication to his craft has earned him widespread acclaim and admiration.

Through his innovative approach to cooking, emphasis on simplicity and balance, and commitment to using locally sourced ingredients, Riffel has not only delighted the palates of diners across South Africa but also inspired aspiring chefs around the world. His culinary empire, comprising a string of acclaimed restaurants, television appearances, bestselling cookbooks, and brand endorsements, stands as a testament to his extraordinary talent and entrepreneurial spirit.

Beyond the kitchen, Riffel’s philanthropic endeavors and commitment to giving back to his community underscore his compassionate nature and desire to make a positive impact on the world. Through his involvement in various charitable initiatives, he continues to uplift and support those in need, embodying the true spirit of generosity and compassion.

As Reuben Riffel continues to push the boundaries of culinary innovation and creativity, his legacy as one of South Africa’s most celebrated chefs and culinary ambassadors will undoubtedly endure for generations to come.

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