Category Archives: Chopped South Africa

Opulent Living Concept Store & Gallery shows off best of Cape Town art and design!

opulent-living-concept-store-interior-with-lampsOpulent Living and its owners Barbara Lenhard and Florian Gast have established themselves as creative and dedicated in everything they touch, be it their former Opulent Living print magazine, or the annual ‘Chefs who Share – the ART of Giving’ charity Gala Dinner, which they have organised for the past four years. Now they have opened the colourful Opulent Living Concept Store & Gallery on trendy Kloof Street.  Continue reading →

Eat Out announces its 2015 Top 10 Restaurant judges, WhaleTales Blog spot on!

Eatout-lockup-merc1 2015Earlier this month we announced our prediction for the Eat Out Top 20 Restaurant shortlist (with difficulty, out of thirty contenders), as well as the judges who have been seen at our local restaurants. Yesterday Eat Out announced the four judges in a silly video, and our judges prediction was spot on!

Three of the four judges are brand new, Eat Out having let go the services of Andy Fenner (judged the past two years, and a conflict of interest as he himself has a – very poor – ‘restaurant’ in his butchery! Another conflict of interest is that he supplies top restaurants with meat!); of Garth Stroebel, a veteran chef who has been in the kitchen and co-run a chef school; and of Chef Reuben Riffel, with five restaurants and most recently having been a MasterChef SA judge in Season 3.

The new judges are as follows:

*.  Abigail Donnelly is the head judge, no surprise at all, yet some restaurants still have her Continue reading →

Cape Town Tourism celebrates 10th anniversary with colourful, fun, and festive AGM!

CapeTownTourism AGM Cake Whale CottageLast night Cape Town Tourism held what many say is the best AGM ever, with a dynamic and funny keynote speaker Vusi Thembekwayo, and a very entertaining Anton Groenewald from the City of Cape Town  Tourism, Events, and Marketing Directorate, being the highlight of the event held at the Tsogo Sun Cape Sun, which celebrated the 10th anniversary of Cape Town Tourism since its re-invention in 2004.

I arrived late, returning from Franschhoek, as Groenewald was speaking.  He kindly gave me his notes, for use for writing this blogpost.  His Mayoral Committee member for Tourism, Events, and Marketing, Councillor Garreth Bloor, was present, and many a joke was at his expense.  Groenewald started his talk by reflecting on the past three years in which he has headed up theCapeTownTourism AGM Anton Groenewald Whale Cottage Tourism Directorate of the City, and has spent R1,5 billion.  He confirmed the three-year agreement signed with Cape Town Tourism, which came with a promise of R120 million over the next three years.   Reflecting on the successes of the past year, Groenewald presented its highlights as being World Travel Market Africa, a collaboration with Thebe Reed, which attracted 4500 trade visitors and 220 media, and for which the city has signed for another two Continue reading →

What has happened to Woolworths? Misleads consumers, no link between TV shows and stores!

Woolworths LogoI have no idea who heads up Woolworths’ Marketing department, but it seems that the retailer has lost the plot!  Once the darling of all, seen to be above reproach in the quality of the products it sells and the lengths that Woolworths will go to find the most organic and animal-friendly produce for its customers, it is being lambasted for copying other brands, for importing tomatoes, peas and more, and for making misleading claims about its products. In addition, it seems to have lost the link between its expensive sponsorship of TV food programmes and its stores!

Let’s start with ‘Hayden Quinn: South Africa’, a programme which has been running on SABC3 for the past 9 weeks, a travelogue of our beautiful country, and documentation of Woolworths’ sourcing of sustainable and ethical produce, or so it is presented.  We have been exposed to Woolworths suppliers of tomatoes in Stellenbosch, organic wines made in Franschhoek, apples and pears grown in Grabouw, SASSI-friendly fish sourcing, and theHayden Quinn SA 8 Sunflowers Nortehrn Cape trestle table Hayden plus 2 pasture-fed lamb from the Karoo.  Criticism has been leveled about the use of an Australian surfer who came third in MasterChef Australia in 2011, as the tour guide to our country and the guide to its sustainable food and wine treasure chest, a self-confessed ‘cooker’ and not a chef!  The dishes in the eight episodes to date have been as basic as salads, pizzas, and sandwiches, with a mussel pot and an Eton Mess too.  In some episodes the Woolworths punt has been so strong (i.e. the tomato growing) that it has become irritating, but of late the strong Woolworths promotion has been toned down. Surprising is the low-key advertising for Woolworths in its half-hour episodes, and is nothing as mouthwatering as the Woolworths’ commercials we have seen on MasterChef SA Seasons 1 and 2.  Nedbank is the other Continue reading →

‘Chopped South Africa’: Chef contestants prepare dishes chop-chop!

Chopped SA TitleHaving attended the launch of Food Networks’  ‘Chopped South Africa’ at Jenny Morris’ Chef’s Playground a week ago, we were shown most of the first episode of the programme, so the four contestants for the first episode last night were familiar to us.   Feedback on Social Media was varied, Chef Jenny Morris being praised for her supportive yet honest feedback to the chef contestants.

Packaging the preparation and evaluation of a three-course meal into a 45 minute programme was a tough challenge, which meant that everything had to be prepared chop-chop, the contestants being given 20 minutes to prepare their main course, and 30 minutes each for their main course and starter, being very tight and unrealistic timing deadlines.   The time pressure made it hard to follow which chef’s dish was being evaluated at times.  There also was little time for the contestant chefs to explain which additional ingredients they had chosen from the pantry, in addition to the mystery basket of ingredients.  The local ingredients such as mebos, putu pap, and koeksisters were not well explained to foreign viewers.

Chopped South Africa‘ follows the format of the American ‘Chopped’, and is broadcast on Food Network on channel 175 on Monday evenings at 21h00.    It is the first professional chef reality TV competition in South Africa, and the first international adaptation of the programme.  The local version was created due to the series’ very strong following in our country, with 25000 Continue reading →