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KLEIN JAN is the latest culinary venture by South African-born Michelin-starred chef Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen.

The restaurant is located on the private game reserve, Tswalu Kalahari.

Van der Westhuizen hosted a soft launch for the restaurant over the weekend, showcasing the heart of the Kalahari.

"It's not only about the food", he tells CapeTalk Pippa Hudson. The culinary star says his new restaurant is more about experiencing a journey.

Van der Westhuizen says he fell in love with the open canvas of the desert region and he likens the KLEIN JAN experience to a painting.

The restaurant experience includes canapes in a 100-year old house that's been restored and a walk through a 25-metre-long root cellar with a delightful surprise on the other side.

Van der Westhuizen says his KLEIN JAN team has incorporated beautiful touches from the earth in the entire experience.

The restaurant will be exclusively opened to guests of the Tswalu Kalahari until the end of April.

From May onwards, KLEIN JAN will be open for bookings to the general public.

'Klein Jan' is actually what my grandmother used to call me because there were three 'Jans' on the farm. If my grandmother or my mother were to shout that lunch was ready, there was such confusion about who was being called.

Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen

I wanted to come back home, in a sense, to bring what we've been doing in France to South Africans. We decided that Tswalu is the perfect spot for that. The vastness is almost like a blank canvas.

Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen

You enter another world. That's the world of which the Kalahari is known for - the earth. You literally enter the earth.

Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen

You're almost blown away by a 25-metre crypt-like root cellar.... It's like a painting.

Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen

RELATED: WATCH: Michelin chef Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen gives us a taste of what's to come

In 2016, van der Westhuizen became the first SA chef in history to receive a coveted Michelin star after opening his own fine-dining restaurant in Nice, France called JAN.

The restaurant has been closed for seven months but fortunately, the French government has provided financial relief to the hospitality sector.

Van der Westhuizen says his team plans to pick up where they left off when the French food industry reopens in the coming months.

He says he's had a lof time to find inspiration during his extended stay in South Africa during the lockdown.

I always try to find the silver lining in the dark side of things. It's been a blessing that I could be here [in South Africa] and be with my KLEIN JAN team and the Innovation Studio in Cape Town.

Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen

You can watch the making of van der Westhuizen's new culinary project when Season 3 of his self-titled TV series returns in July on DSTV’s VIA Channel 147 and internationally on the South African streaming platform, ShowMax.

The story of the KLEIN JAN design process is also available to read in JAN the Journal Volume 6, available to order at janonline.com.

Check out Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen and KLEIN JAN on Instagram to stay posted on his journey.

Listen to the discussion on Lunch with Pippa Hudson:

This article first appeared on CapeTalk : 'It's another world' - KLEIN JAN restaurant shows off vast Kalahari landscape

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