The mini bar is back in a big way, and hotels around the world are enticing their guests with unique treats that showcase the region, satisfy cravings and add an extra level to the guest experience.

Setting the trend in South Africa are chefs Liam Tomlin, Ivor Jones and David Schneider from Chefs Warehouse who have crafted a range of butler bar snacks for guesthouses, hotels and safari camps. The chef trio first created the Chefs Warehouse Essentials range during Covid in order to keep their restaurant teams employed during those tumultuous years. The product range of take-home spices and condiments proved to be a great success thanks to the many loyal patrons of the Chefs Warehouse restaurants and hence, ‘Temptations’ by Chefs Warehouse presented itself as the next logical progression.

The initial range of eight snacks, which will change on occasion to ensure guests return for more, include:

Biltong Snapsticks – 70g (R70)
Cranberry and Almond Nougat – 45g (R40)
Sunflower Seed Shortbread – 80g (R45)
Mixed Spiced Nuts – 80g (R45)
Chocolate Coated Almonds – 90g (R50)
Rooibos Fudge 80g – R50
Trail Mix – 100g (R30)
Sweet Potato Crisps – 40g (R20)

Over 90% of the Temptations packaging is biodegradable and recyclable, and printed material is also kept to a bare minimum. The Chefs Warehouse in-house design team can personalise the packaging to suit personalised brand bible guidelines.

We chatted with Chef Ivor Jones about the behind-the-scenes process, what makes the treats special and his top picks from the range.

Was there any research done into what hotel guests are looking for in their mini-bars and how does the range meet that need?

We are fortunate enough to have close relationships with luxury hotel brands such as Tintswalo and Singita. We looked at all their offerings and used that as a basic guideline to build upon. Liam is also a serial globe-trotter and provided us with a wealth of knowledge based on his stays in fine hotels.

How did you develop the recipes and where are they produced?

All the recipes have been developed between us and carefully selected local producers – after Covid, supporting local is a big focus of ours. As a restaurant group, we identified early on that without a factory-like facility, we could not sustain the scalability of this business. Expanding our footprint to the benefit of local, trustworthy businesses is not only sensible, but also ethical.

Is there a ‘golden thread’ that runs from the Chef’s Warehouse restaurants to the goodies?

Supporting local producers and suppliers and using the best quality produce at all times. We have tried to produce a range that conjures up a sense of nostalgia, indulgence, and fun, with no preservatives. We also offer a service to custom design the labels to represent the brand of the hotel or guest house.

What has the response been from the market so far?

We have had the most amazing response. We have been inundated with meeting requests from many of South Africa’s most iconic hotels, lodges, and guest houses. We are already taking orders and stocking some very unique mini-bars.

What’s your favourite in the range?

It’s a close call between the fudge and the nougat… oh, but the spiced nuts are SO good! This is too hard, I can’t!

For information on the Temptations range, contact Emma-Claire Peter via orderessentials@chefswarehouse.co.za