I had the luck to have enjoyed a 16 course Tasting Menu dinner soon after the opening of Gåte Restaurant at Quoin Rock outside Stellenbosch, in November. I was blown away by the creativity of the dining experience, and its experiential nature, with Molecular Gastronomy, something I had not experienced at this international level in my dining experiences locally and internationally. On Tuesday a week ago I returned to Gåte, to try the new dishes on the Tasting Menu, as well as those that have changed in the past three months, while my friend from Paris ate the Tasting Menu for the first time, at her invitation. Continue reading →
Whilst I wrote SwitchBitch 2 in Apricale in Italy last year, I saw JAN the JOURNAL Volume 1 lying in the Apricus Locanda B & B in Italy. I was intrigued by its look and feel, and content, knowing Chef Jan-Hendrik van der Westhuizen, Chef and co-owner of the one star Michelin restaurant JAN in Nice to be highly creative and meticulous in everything that he does. Continue reading →
A three-week writing focus at Apricale in Italy saw me complete the writing of a book within the time period I had allocated to this first-ever writing challenge. As the catalyst for The Book was Chef Jan-Hendrik van der Westhuizen, in that I met a special man at his book launch in March last year, and that The Book tells the story of the transformational effect of the meeting, there was no better restaurant to eat at on Saturday, to celebrate the completion of The Book, than at JAN Restaurant in Nice! It felt like Christmas, it being exciting to experience JAN Restaurant again, my third visit in two years! Continue reading →
From number one in the New York Times ‘52 Places to go in 2014‘, Cape Town has fallen right off the list of ‘52 Places to go in 2015‘. In its place, Durban has made 7th on this prestigious list this year! Cape Town too has lost out to Los Angeles as the home for filming the German reality series ‘Der Bachelor’.
The South African stories for the New York Times are written by Sarah Khan, an American writer who now lives in Cape Town. Having become proudly-Cape Town, Khan has written many articles about Cape Town, even though her restaurant recommendations for Cape Town in Travel + Leisure left much to be desired Continue reading →
Chef Benny Masekwameng was the fourth Chef to have an episode in the M-Net mini-series ‘Feast’ dedicated to him last Thursday. The mini-series has already featured Chefs Pete Goffe-Wood, Marco Pierre White, and Reuben Riffel.
The episode started with Chef Benny sitting at the coffee shop Croft & Co in Parkview, to plan the ‘Feast’ he was preparing for his Continue reading →
‘Chopped South Africa’ was launched at Giggling Gourmet Jenny Morris’ studio in De Waterkant yesterday, to publicise the 10 programme Food Network series on DStv channel 175, commencing on Wednesday 23 July at 21h00.
‘Chopped South Africa‘ is the first professional chef reality TV competition in South Africa, based on the American ‘Chopped‘, but with a South African flavour. It is the first international adaption of the programme, and was created due to the series’ very strong following in our country, with 25000 viewers per programme, I was told by Nikki Cooper, the Commissioning Editor of ‘Chopped South Africa‘, based in London and working with programming for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. She said that she was ‘blown away by the talent and graciousness’ of our local chefs. Due to the strong support of South African viewers, Food Network is investing in creating content for our country, but with appeal to its international viewers too.
We were welcomed by Jacques Verster. He introduced the four judges, being Jenny Morris who has hosted programmes on Moroccan and on Mediterranean cooking for Food Network (and who turned out to be a tough judge, explaining that she wanted to be honest with her feedback, and for it to have integrity); David van Staden, the Executive Chef of the Tsogo Sun Group; Siba Mtongana, who has her own ‘Siba’s Table’ program on Food Network; guest judge Rebecca Hurst, who runs the Hurst cookery school; and guest judge and Chef Lindsay Venn of Tsogo Sun The Cullinan (not in the photograph). We were told how strongly the judges believed in their standards, and fought for their point of view in deciding which chef would be ‘chopped’. Heinz is the main programme sponsor, while Shoprite-Checkers provided all the ingredients for the cooking on the program.
Nikki explained how the series works, with each of the ten programmes having four contestants, 40 selected from many applications received from young professional chefs in South African kitchens. Shot in Johannesburg, hosted by Denvor Phokaners, produced by Sue Nel from Snelco in association with Continue reading →
Last year we saw ‘Der Bachelor‘ on RTL German TV for the first time, and were excited by the fantastic coverage which Cape Town and its surrounds generally and Camps Bay specifically achieved in the show, the contestants all sharing a house in Camps Bay for the duration of the filming. Season 4 began flighting last week, and last night I watched episode 2 of the new series. With a promotion offered by SA Tourism to visit Cape Town, as well as by Amarula, and the filming of our beautiful city and beach suburb, the reality TV series should make Cape Town a talking point in Germany for the next few weeks.
Christian Tews is the newest ‘Der Bachelor‘, and is not endowed with such good looks as his predecessors Jan and Paul had. His biggest disadvantage is his bald head, and dress sense, or lack of! He seems very nice, has beautiful blue eyes, and has already developed soft spots for some of the 22 finalists. Continue reading →
* Angola and Nigeria will be the two African countries on which Wines of South Africa (WOSA) will focus its attention, says new CEO Siobhan Thompson
* Jancis Robinson chose two South African cultivars, out of a total of seven, at a New York tasting of ‘unusual grape varieties that typify an ongoing trend in wine to re-visit traditional grapes in their historical homes around the world‘, being Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc.
* The price of petrol has decreased by 28 cents a liter.
* Huffington Post Travel recommends ten wine destinations around the world, and includes ‘Cape Town’, but elaborates that the Cape Winelands is meant, and Stellenbosch, Paarl, and Franschhoek in particular. Groot Constantia is recommended for a visit. The other destinations are the Yarra Valley in Australia, Napa and Sonoma in the USA, Okanagan in Canada, Bordeaux in France, Finger Lakes in the USA, Mendoza in Argentina, Willamette Valley in the USA, Tuscany in Italy, and Barcelona in Spain.
* New World wines from New Zealand, Australia, Chile, Argentina and South Africa make up 30% of world wine exports, states the Morgan Stanley report.
Yesterday I spent a most entertaining afternoon at the Grande Roche hotel in Paarl, to observe the last phase of the Wines of South Africa (WOSA) Sommelier World Cup competition, the announcement and evaluation of the Top 3, and the awarding of the prize to the winning sommelier Will Predhomme.
The invited guests were the twelve finalists for the Sommelier World Cup, media representatives from the USA (I sat next to Rebecca Canan from the Terroirist Blog), Sweden, and Belgium, local writers, the local and international sommelier judges, and WOSA staff from its international offices as well as from its head office in Stellenbosch. After a welcome glass of wine, we sat down for lunch at Bosman’s, and it was clear to see why this Continue reading →
* Siobhan Thompson has been appointed as new CEO of Wines of South Africa (WOSA). She moves across from Distell, where she was Global Marketing Head, having had past responsibilities for Liqueurs, Amarula, and Brandy and Cognac. She headed Baby Foods at Colman Foods, and Consumer and Retail Research at Gilbeys, marketed the UCT Graduate School of Business, was a brand manager at Yardley, and a researcher at Nielsen and TNS Research Surveys.
* Comair has taken delivery of four new Boeing 737-800 aircraft, which will help the airline to reduce its carbon emissions and to drive down costs for its British Airways service, similar to its kulula fleet replacement. A threatened carbon tax will drive up costs for airlines, said Comair CEO Erik Venter, already under pressure from the weak Rand. This could have a negative impact on tourism, he said.