Our Team

Our Team

LOUISE POTGIETER
HEAD CHEF 

“As a student I worked at Havana Grill at Suncoast Casino during in-service training and fell in love with the restaurant and the people.Martin and Jose are so passionate about that they do that you can’t help but want to bepart of their team and vision,” says Chef Louise Potgieter who has been grilling award-winning steaks since 2010.

Little Havana’s award for Best Steakhouse in South Africa at the annual Wolftrap Steak Champs is a huge coup for Chef Louise, Martin and Jose.

“Winning such a prestigious award means we are now constantly pushing and striving for continued excellence,” beams Chef Potgieter.

The ribeye steak is this chef’s favourite quick-cooking cut.“It has a lot of fat marbling and that fat is where the distinctive flavor of beef comes from, making rib eye one of the richest, beefiest cut available.”

Chef Potgieter is proud of Little Havana’s “field to fork traceability”.

“It is important to support local farmers and most often with locally sourced food they are not sprayed with chemicals. Sourcing locally is best for the environment because less transportation reduces the carbon footprint. Customers want to know where their food comes from and are the animals well treated. For me a happy cow is a tasty cow!And nothing makes me happier then customers walking away with a smile and full belly!”

Little Havana’s in-house butchery boasts processed and agedfree-range, hormone-free meats.

MARTIN LOMBAARD
OWNER-PATRON
Martin Lombaard has been on the Durban restaurant scene for as long as anyone can remember, launching the trend-setting el Cubano, el Turko and el Guappo in the early 90s. Havana Grill at Suncoast followed in 2003 and Little Havana was launched in 2012.

Martin’s always been something of a legend in the kitchen but his knowledge of cuisine really grew and developed when he was travelling the world in his early twenties. For four years he worked in and studied restaurants in places as diverse as Israel, Turkey, Greece, Austria, Thailand, New Zealand, America, before returning to SA to conjure up his own magic.

Martin is passionate about the world class grill standards that Havana sets, and loves entertaining big and generously.

JOSE GONCALVES
OWNER-PATRON
A master at meat, amongst other things, Jose Goncalves grew up in a household where meals were like religion. Even though his father worked long and late, he’d come home, whip up a fabulous dinner from whatever he’d brought with him, and wake his young sons to eat.

Jose started his career, fresh from school, in Ch’amigo, an Argentinean restaurant in Durban where ever steak was dry aged and cooked on a charcoal grill, and there his passion for meat was born. After managing Mike Kitchen’s at Mhlanga for around 10 years, Jose took off, with his wife and son, and went sailing round the world for 7 years.

Back in Durban in 2003, Jose joined Martin as a partner in Havana, happy to be able to share his passion for meat again.

 

 

Contemporary & Stylish Dining in Umhlanga Village