In an exciting ceremony live streamed from Melbourne at midday, Eleven Madison Park was named as the best World’s 50 Best Restaurant, an accolade it last achieved seven years ago. A number of exciting restaurant rankings are reflected in the 2017 World’s 50 Best Restaurant list. I have been fortunate to eat at some of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants in New York, London, and in France, in the past ten months. Our reviews of some of these follow below. Continue reading →
I am not much of a television viewer, but whilst visiting my son in the UK he introduced me to the Netflix series ‘Chef’s Table’, a series of episodes each focusing on a world-renowned chef and his/her restaurant from across the globe. Continue reading →
It has been an exciting early morning, with the World’s 50 Best Restaurants announced from Cipriani Wall Street in New York from 2h00 this morning. The Test Kitchen has done our country and Cape Town in particular proud, by becoming the 22nd Best Restaurant in the World! Osteria Francescana in Modena in Italy, owned by Chef Massimo Bottura, is the World’s Best Restaurant. Continue reading →
Chef Luke Dale-Roberts’ The Test Kitchen was named the 28th best restaurant in the world and Best in Africa, at the 14th The World’s 50 Best Restaurants ceremony in London last night, a 20 place climb from his 48th position last year, and 61st position in 2013. El Celler de Can Roca was ranked as the Best Restaurant in the World, the second time it has received this honour. Regular winner Noma dropped to third place. Spain received the most 50 Best Restaurant Awards (7), followed by the USA (6), and France (5). Both The Test Kitchen and World’s 50 Best Restaurants trended on Twitter last night.
El Celler de Can Roca is based in Giron in Spain, and is run by the three Roca brothers Josep, Joan,and Jordi, who opened their restaurant in 1986. They pioneered sous-vide cooking, and are described as creating ‘magic without undue theatrics’. Brother Joan is the head chef, Jordi is the Pastry Chef, and Josep is the Sommelier and Front of House. In 2013 they were also named the best restaurant in the world. Continue reading →
The Kitchen and Tasting Room at Maison has been operating for almost three years, and during its recent two month winter break, a number of changes were made to the interior, to the menu, with further changes on the way.
Ten days ago I visited Maison after a long absence, mostly due to the winter closure, and my less frequent visits to Franschhoek in the winter months. In walking to The Kitchen and Tasting Room at Maison it was a delight to see that the uncomfortable stony entrance walkway has been replaced with very comfortable walkable wooden decking. Tables and chairs have been set up on the front lawn, to allow for overflow of unbooked guests. Inside, the ceiling near the pass has been redone with wooden cladding, as has a wall alongside the fireplace. New lamps have been hung, looking like seahorses to me. Lamps have been erected above the pass, with shelving above it, and the pass exterior has been wood-clad as well.
The biggest change is that a Deli is to be introduced in the winetasting section, on the right as one enters the building, with a bar counter, at which one will be able to taste six to eight Maison wines (the number is still to be finalised), each paired with two tapas-like bites reflecting some of the dishes which Chef Arno Continue reading →
The eagerly awaited 12th The World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards was held last night at The Guildhall in London, and the Top 50 Restaurants were announced. Restaurants ranked 51st – 100th were listed on the Awards website, which crashed just after the Awards ceremony!
The initiative of Restaurant magazine in the UK, and using 900 judges from around the world, a total of 6552 votes were cast to vote for the world’s best restaurants. The world was divided into 26 regions, chaired by an expert for that region. Tamsin Snyman heads the Africa panel of 36 members, who had to eat at 4 local as well as at 3 international restaurants to cast their vote. No score is required – the vote is purely for the best restaurants they ate at, and must be presented in ranked order. Every year 10 panelists step down per region, to be replaced by new ones. For the first time in seven years Snyman did not attend, for family reasons.
The biggest surprise was that Noma in Copenhagen went back to its number one Continue reading →
If it had not been for Cape Town urban farmer, eco-activist and food blogger Matt Allison addressing us at the Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club meetings in August and September, I would not have known about the MAD (means ‘food’ in Danish) Foodcamp ‘Planting Thoughts’ symposium, which he attended in August, as the only South African in an elite group of 250 hand-picked chefs, food scientists, foragers, microbiologists, and policy-makers. The workshop resulted in an important appeal to chefs to change the world, by going back to the roots of food growing and sourcing.
The MAD Foodcamp was held in Copenhagen, and was organised by Chefs Rene Redzepi and Claus Meyer, co-founders of Noma (food photographs below from this restaurant), the top S. Pellegrino World 50 Best restaurant for two years running. Concerned about the projected shortage of food, showing that food production must increase by 70 %, to feed an estimated population of 9 billion by 2050, Redzepi invited applications for attendees at his MAD Foodcamp. Fellow 50 Best Restaurant chefs who presented included Michel Bras from France, David Chang from momofuku Noodle Bar in New York, Alex Atala from D.O.M. in São Paulo, Daniel Patterson from Coi in San Fransisco, Yoshihiro Narisawa from Les Creations de Narisawa in Tokyo, Andoni Aduriz of Mugaritz in Spain, Gaston Acurio from Café del Museo in Lima in Peru, and Ben Shewry from Attica in Melbourne, reported the Sydney Morning Herald.
The following key recommendations resulted from the MAD Foodcamp:
* Sourcing food locally is paramount, and it is available to chefs from their purveyors, and can be grown by themselves too. The impact of rising petrol prices on food prices will ensure that chefs seek more local food supply. But local food is not always desirable, and nations should become proud of their culinary heritage again.
* There will be a move away from meat, as it was in past generations. Meat production impacts on the soil, energy usage, water supply, and carbon output, and therefore a new balance between proteins, cereals and vegetables needs to be found. Chef Michel Bras said that vegetables should be made to be as important and as desirable as meat in restaurants.
* Soil plays a role too, and Chef Yoshihiro Narisawa serves a soup made from organic soil. Ideally, food planted should not have to be irrigated and spayed with chemicals. Monocultures are destructive to the soil. Rice, wheat, corn and potatoes supply 60% of calories, and chefs are challenged to make something new with them, but should instead look at finding bygone varieties.
* Food foraging is all the trend, and edible plants could help make up the shortage of food. Ethnobotanist François Couplan has identified 80000 varieties of edible plants, documented in 65 books he has written. Many of these have greater health benefits than the foods that we know. Author of ‘The Forager Handbook’, Miles Irving said that wild foods are the ultimate in being seasonal, local and sustainable, and that ‘there is treasure in the woods and fields’. Chefs who forage need to know which plants and other foods are plentiful, and which are scarce and endangered.
* Urban gardens are an answer to food shortages too, and we have seen Matt becoming a local urban farmer, renting unused land from the City of Cape Town to grow vegetables. It is estimated that New York could produce 3 million tonnes of food per year on city rooftops, in parks and in private yards. City beekeeping is being encouraged, and this honey is cleaner and healthier than that from the countryside, less contaminated with pesticides.
* Insects are a valuable source of protein, and can also be used to address food shortages. Chef Alex Atala encouraged delegates to eat Amazon ants, tasting of lemongrass and ginger. Other edible insects include ant eggs, grasshoppers, and termites.
* Farmers should return to the old-fashioned way of hands-on farming. Chefs are encouraged to connect with farmers, and to buy directly from them, rather than via agents or suppliers.
* The focus should be on children and to re-introduce them to non-processed food, to teach them ‘what real food tastes like’, said Chef Daniel Patterson.
MAD Foodcamp: www.madfoodcamp.dk
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage