Castle Framers‚ the shop that Bolters’ grandfather opened in 1959‚ is situated in Woodstock at what is now the popular Old Biscuit Mill market. Following the death of his father 21 years ago‚ Bolters took over the reins of the company and has been designing some of South Africa’s most creative framing designs ever since.
His latest design has caught the attention of Cape Town’s foodies and conservationists alike: a framed plate design that requires no washing and no water.
Luke Dale Roberts of the Test Kitchen‚ one of the Cape’s award-winning‚ premium dining experiences‚ has taken Bolters’ design and made it the central concept of his new pop-up restaurant‚ the Drought Kitchen.
“I was working late one evening when Luke Dale Roberts walked by and asked about what we could possibly do to create a plate that didn’t require washing‚” said Bolters.
“He had approached me about a year before this‚ too‚ to try and develop something innovative to plate food on. This was when ‘Day Zero’ wasn’t in our vocabularies.
“I showed him some concepts‚ and we looked at how we could get around some of the challenges. The concept had to be durable‚ be able to withstand high temperatures‚ and also be resistant to water.”
Bolters initially came up with a concept that used plastic framing and a plastic base‚ but found that‚ ultimately‚ “the last thing you want to do is eat at a fancy restaurant and then eat on plastic”. So he looked at other options.
In order to create a plating concept that would be both aesthetically pleasing to the often finicky customers of a place with such a high reputation as the Test Kitchen‚ as well as functional in reducing the amount of water the restaurant would need to produce‚ Bolters and Roberts came up with a use for the many off-cuts of wood from other projects.
“We had a gazzilion pieces of ‘obeeche’ wood from another project‚” he said. “We used this wood for the frame‚ and then a decorative mounting board for the base. This base can be slid into the frame and once the meal is complete‚ the kitchen can simply discard the base and slide a new one in.”
The bases come in a variety of colours and the whole product is coated in a nitrocellulose sealer that ensures that it is water resistant. With a satisfying weight and intriguing look and feel‚ the design accomplishes both its aesthetic and functional goals. “We pride ourselves on our innovative designs‚” Bolters said. “I can frame just about anything. Once we framed a cake lifter in a jewel encrusted case for the Dutch Embassy.”