As an adventurous child, Elamarie Kasner spent most of her time outdoors. From hunting to hiking, she made most of the surroundings of her hometown, Bothaville in the Free State. However, one activity that did keep her at home was cooking. There, in the family kitchen, she quickly learnt the ins and outs of preparing meals and how food is responsible for bringing people together.
Fast forward to her studying days, and it is no surprise that she has undertaken Nutrition, Accounting and Business Administration as her fields in which to excel.
Of course, her culinary business journey doesn’t end there: she’s currently the Head Waitron at Damhuis, a position for which she was appointed by the late renowned author Reinet Nagtegaal.
GETTING TO KNOW HEAD WAITRON ELMARIE KASNER A LITTLE BETTER…
1. How would you describe your role as Head Waitron to anyone who isn’t familiar with the service side of the restaurant industry?
The position is really an all-encompassing one, and there are many balls to juggle. From training junior staff and evaluating customer satisfaction to guiding the service staff and solving customer complaints, it’s a role that is crucial to the running of a restaurant.
2. What would you say are the most challenging and the most rewarding parts of your job?
I would say the biggest challenge is always having to be on top of your game and setting the right example for the team. It’s all about instilling the right work ethic and avoiding micro-management. The most rewarding part is seeing the staff acknowledging your leadership skills and performing optimally as a result of it.
3. The Damhuis team is often referred to as a family- how do you keep that spirit alive?
Yes, there is definitely a strong family vibe at Damhuis. I think I help keep that spirit going by persisting in my “role” as the Mother!
4. Do you have a specific strategy when it comes to dealing with demanding customers?
No, I don’t have a specific strategy because I think that kind of premeditation can set you up to fail. In those instances, I approach people with an open mind, to seek to understand, with a firm, fair and friendly attitude always keeping goodwill in mind. There is no copy-and-paste tactic.
5. Quite a few famous faces have popped in for the Damhuis experience. Any favourite celebrity encounters?
Yes, I would say encountering Albert Maritz was quite remarkable. He is best known as “Herman” in the TV series “Konings”, which just happens to be my favourite show of all time.
6. If you could curate a 3-course meal for a first-time Damhuis customer, which menu items would you recommend?
For starters, I would highly recommend the stuffed calamari tubes, and either mash or rice as a side because you do not want to miss out on the delicious sauce at the bottom of the bowl!
Then, for the main course, I would go for the slow-braised and crispy pork belly. It’s paired perfectly with oven-fried potato wedges and vegetables.
And then you can’t miss out on a slice of lemon meringue as your sweet treat. It features Italian meringue, which is almost like a toasted marshmallow!
7. How would you describe the energy in Melkbosstrand in three words?
Forced to Admire (Chutzpah)
8. What do you appreciate the most about Damhuis Restaurant?
The sense of belonging! We are a family, after all.
9. Complete this sentence: Happiness is…
…being dedicated to service. I have a genuine interest in the livelihood of my customers, as well as the people close to them. My careful and attentive approach towards them is what makes them feel comfortable at Damhuis. It compels them to come back.
Enjoying getting to know Damhuis Restaurant and our brilliant team? Read more about our Chef de Cuisine Hein Botha.