The Oak Leaf family is expanding

30 October, 2021

30 October, 2021

When we opened Oak Leaf Café 2 years ago, we recruited enough staff to only operate Tuesday to Saturday 9am – 2pm. This has worked perfectly for us but we feel the time has come to stretch our wings and fly a bit higher!

We will be launching Oak Leaf Evenings in November 2021 and hope to launch Oak Leaf Sunday Brunch in January 2022.

In order to support these plans, we needed to expand our family and implement rotating shifts to ensure enough rest for each staff member during the week.

Please welcome these new faces:

Oak Leaf Knysna Restaurant - Kyra - Chef de Partie

Kyra Barnard

Kyra joined our family in June 2021 and has been training in the Oak Leaf kitchen for the past 4 months. Kyra has found her niche in the kitchen and has hit her stride. She now provides excellent support to the Chefs and is a joy to work with.

Oak Leaf Knysna Restaurant - Sania - Front of house

Sania November

Sania previously worked for Ile de Pain as a waitress for 9 years and Front-of-House for 4 years and most recently, for Totties Farm Kitchen as Front-of-House for the past 5 years. She brings with her a wealth of experience and we are so excited and proud to have her join our family.

Oak Leaf Knysna Restaurant - SaOak Leaf Knysna Restaurant - Jade - waitress

Jade Oelf

Jade was recruited after her matric graduation by Totties Farm Kitchen and trained as a waitress. Jade has worked at Totties Farm Kitchen for the past 5 years. She is extremely good with customers, fluent in both English and Afrikaans and we are so pleased to have her join our family.

Meet our original core team:

Oak Leaf Knysna Restaurant - Nono - Barista

Nono, our fabulous “boss baby” and barista extraordinaire!

Nono joined our team when we opened Vegan Kitchen in the Knysna Mall. She was employed as a professional waitress but started showing a keen interest in learning to make specialty coffees

She started teaching herself by practising with the barista at Vegan Kitchen and by watching YouTube tutorial videos. When we closed the Vegan Kitchen and reopened it as Oak Leaf Cafe, both Nono and Leeanne attended a barista training course with Brothers Coffee, and then we made Nono our barista!

What a great decision that was – she took to the challenge like a duck to water and exceeded all our expectations!

Oak Leaf Knysna Restaurant - Ariel - Waitress

Ariel – our distinguished gentleman!

The qualities that impressed us most about Ariel in his interview were his impeccable manners, his “old world” charm, graciousness and his sense of calm

Ariel’s warm, welcoming smile, his eagerness to please and the warmth that he exudes ensure that he is well-loved by both customers and colleagues alike!

Oak Leaf Knysna Restaurant - Zae, Sous Chef

Zae – our Sous Chef and all-around “Jack of all trades!”

Zae first approached us while we were still in the process of preparing to open the Cafe in October 2019 – she was the perfect fit for us as she is a Belvidere local and is a super talented & passionate cook. Zae’s favourite place to be: the kitchen 🙂

During lock-down April-June 2020, Zae was integral in working with Sandy and myself to service the Belvidere / Brenton residents with hearty home-cooked meals delivered to their doors.

Zae’s latest triumph is the exquisite preparation of the new “Steak Frites” on the Oak Leaf menu – feedback from a customer “that was the best steak I’ve ever eaten in Knysna.”

Oak Leaf Knysna Restaurant - Christelle - Waitress

Agnes – simply irreplaceable!

When we opened the Oak Leaf Cafe in October 2019, we asked around for referrals for an outstanding cleaning lady in Belvidere, and we were fortunate enough to find Agnes – she is an absolute power-house!!

We have never met anyone with a work ethic like Agnes has – no job is too big or too much. As a single mom of two, she is no stranger to hard work and sets a high bar for the rest of the staff at Oak Leaf

Always laughing and in high spirits… we’d be lost without our sweet Lady Agie

Oak Leaf Knysna Restaurant - Christelle- Assistant Manageress

Christelle – our Assistant Manager

Our fabulous bubbly personality and my right-hand in the restaurant – she thrives on working with people and loves interacting with customers and colleagues alike. Christelle is Knysna born & bred and is a well-loved stalwart in the hospitality industry

Oak Leaf Cafe would not be the same without her wide welcoming smile and her warm, caring heart.

Oak Leaf Knysna Restaurant - Vanessa - Chef de Partie

Vanessa – our rock!

Mother of two and whose favourite thing in the whole world is playing with her kids!

Vanessa has been with us for seven years. She started working with Sandy as a housekeeper and then started helping us at our vegan food stall at Wild Oats Market. She demonstrated a keen interest in learning food preparation, so Sandy took her under her wing and tutored her… a few years later, Vanessa is now Sandy’s “right-hand” in the kitchen and has a natural flair for food presentation.

We’re all about finding good people and helping them learn new skills and grow as an individual.

Oak Leaf Knysna Restaurant - John - Waiter

John – our energiser-bunny!

The saying” dynamite comes in small packages” applies to John – he’s an energetic fun-loving bubbly personality with 12 years experience in the hospitality industry – he easily fills the role of either waiter or barista.

If you’re a soccer fan, you will have plenty to discuss with him! His favourite teams are Kaiser Chiefs and Arsenal.

Join us for brunch!

We invite you to come and experience our hospitality, great coffee and delicious food!

Oak Leaf Knysna Restaurant - Garden Route
I couldn't be prouder being the Owner of the Oak Leaf Café in beautiful Belvidere Knysna. My sister Sandy (our Head Chef) and I have spent the last 2 years growing this business into a thriving destination restaurant on the Garden Route. I relocated to Knysna in 2015, bringing with me many years of experience in Cape Town in a highly creative online travel space. Both Sandy and I are "avid foodies" and once we joined forces in Knysna & followed our passion... magic happened! The result is Oak Leaf Café today!