Being able to exchange their corporate clothing for a pair of island shorts and an apron is part of a new dream come true for young restaurant owners Guillaume and Karine Kapfer and their daughter Gabrielle.
After officially receiving the keys to their new promising futures in the food and beverage industry here in Rarotonga yesterday, the Kapfer family is excited to bring to the island for the first time in a long time a fresh and healthy cuisine with a little French twist.
“We are from France, we love our French food and we want to offer something different for the local people.
“We understand that not everyone will have the chance to travel the world, so we want to give them the experiences we have had right here in their home town, says Kapfer.
The familiar restaurant known to all for many years as “The Nu Bar” will now be called “Le Rendez-vouz” the French word for “meeting or gathering” and if all goes to plan, becoming the hottest new restaurant on the island.
With construction and renovations happening right now, Kapfer is determined to have Le Rendez-vouz open for full service to the public in late March of this year.
“We want our customers to see the new Le Rendez-vouz as being a place where they can gather and meet with their families and friends, feel comfortable and assured that their experience with us will be a great one,” says Kapfer.
“My goal is to make everything ourselves and to serve each meal that comes out of our kitchen fresh, tasty and homemade, from the breads to the pasta and sauces, working alongside the island producers to keep up with the seasonal delicacies on and around the island.”
Asked how the couple’s new venture came to be, Kapfer told CI News it all started when he and his wife decided on a lifestyle and career change. For many years they travelled the world learning about the different and unique things each destination had to offer.
Then in 2015 Kapfer landed in Rarotonga for a surfing experience, and after just one day, he knew in his heart that the island was the place for his family.
Within just a few short months, his family was uplifted and relocated to tropical Rarotonga.
Joining Kapfer on his restaurant journey is Cook Islander and head chef Mike Lewis, wife Anna and their two children.
“We are excited to have Mike as our head chef; he has a lot of experience with European and French cuisine. He is a local so he knows what the people want, how to best use local produce and on top of all that, he is not afraid to try something new,” says Kapfer.
Lewis has a buffet of experience behind him. After graduating with a Diploma in Cooking from a UK university, Lewis spent three years traveling around England working in local hotels, restaurants and takeaway establishments learning the essence of English cooking.
Expanding his cooking range, Lewis also spent seven years in Brunei, two years in France and 11 years in Rarotonga working at various restaurants.
Lewis says he could not be any happier to have the opportunity to share his experiences and skills with his people here in Rarotonga.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my experiences around the world, and am thankful for all the skills I have learnt from some great world-renowned chefs, however it’s time to come home, as there is no place like home,” says Lewis.
Another element of surprise for the public to look forward to will be Rarotonga’s first “drive-through” takeaway facility located at Le Rendez-vous.
“I am still working on the menu, however I can tell you now, you will not get things like Big Macs or fish and chips. But I can guarantee you that whatever we serve will be healthy and tasty and it will all have a French twist,” says Kapfer.
“The aim of this side of the restaurant will be to cater to those who are in a hurry, as you will be able to order from one window and pick up at the other without getting out of your car.”
Kapfer says that you can expect quick service to fit a meal into your lunch break, but if time permits, they will be more than happy to serve you at a sit-down breakfast, lunch or dinner with your friends and family inside the restaurant.