Entries tagged with “blogpost”.


Last year I was subject to an urgent interdict in the Western Cape High Court with a demand to remove a Blogpost about the misleading packaging which Le Chocolatier had used for its chocolate slabs, claiming them to be sugar-free and Banting-friendly. In a landmark case in terms of freedom of speech and defamation in digital Social Media, Judge Dennis Davis refused the demand for my Blogpost to be taken down, with only two sentences required to be removed from the Blogpost. The case sets a precedent for future cases regarding defamation on Social Media platforms. (more…)

wizardsThe Sweet Service Award goes to Wizardz at the Garden Center and its staff member Eddie Benjamin. Eddie assisted me with the short-run printing of a book, taking care of the technical challenges involved, to create a special gift. He regularly informed me about the status of the project throughout the one week production process. 

 

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imageTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The announcement last week of the discovery of a new hominid species Homo Naledi at The Cradle of Humankind at Maropeng, and its international media coverage by National Geographic in particular, could give Tourism to our country a much-needed boost.

*.  The 31st Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild will be held at Spier on (more…)

Jani ConfidentialThe launch of Jani Allan’s new book ‘Jani Confidential’ created no fireworks yesterday, as many attendees had expected at the Literary Launch lunch organised by Gorry Bowes Taylor for Wordsworth Books.  The low-key, almost hidden, A Tavola restaurant was a good choice, with a special lunch, and reflected Allan’s shy and coy nature as a speaker. Surprisingly few attendees bought books, maybe because Allan did not do a good job in marketing her book to her audience, not reading extracts from it nor providing tidbits which would intrigue one to buy the book.

Soon after we arrived at the fully-booked launch event, for which we paid R280 for the three course lunch, a selection of Antipasti was brought to the tables of ten to share: Bruschetta

 

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Hayden Quinn 11 Midlands More Cows

It was ironic that episode 11 of ‘Hayden Quinn: South Africa‘ last night focused on the Natal Midlands, and that a large part of the half-hour episode focused on farmer Kevin Lang’s Fairfield Dairy Ayrshire farm, given our Blogpost yesterday about the new defensive Woolworths ‘Good Food News’ supplement in the Sunday Times.  

The episode started off with Hayden having a cooling swim near the Howick Falls, which have a 105 meter drop.  Once refreshed, he met Chef Jackie Cameron, then Executive Chef of Eat Out Top 10 restaurant at Hartford House, but who has left toHayden Quinn 11 Midlands Jackie and Hayden at Market Whale Cottage establish her Jackie Cameron School of Food and Wine, which opens in Hilton in January.  Chef Jackie was identified as a WWF-SASSI Trailblazer Chef.  They met at the Karkloof Market, which is just outside Hayden Quinn 11 Midlands Rob SymonsHowick, and here Jackie introduced Hayden to farmer Rob Symons of Broadleaze Organics, offering unusual herbs such as Vietnamese coriander. Dutch cheesemaker MJ Mook of Just Cheese introduced Hayden to and allowed him to taste her special cheeses.  The market seemed a jolly space, with fresh vegetables, herbs, meat, flowers, cheeses, and more. (more…)

Woolworths Good Food News Front page Whale CottageWe wrote recently how Woolworths has been misleading consumers with claims about its Ayrshire milk, deceiving food labelling, and how it tries to create an image of healthy produce via its ‘Hayden Quinn: South Africa‘ series on SABC3. The group Grass Consumer Food Action has been persistent in its criticism of Woolworths, and appears to have hit a raw nerve in the Good Business Journey division at Woolworths, the retailer having launched a brand new ‘Good Food News‘ 16-page insert in the Sunday Times yesterday! It looks like a Taste magazine (the Woolworths sponsored magazine published by New Media Publishing) but printed in Tabloid format on recycled paper!

While the Tabloid has ‘headlines’ on page 1, to attract one’s attention to the content, it consists of a mix of ‘advertorials’ of its award-winning wines (since when are wines a food, as per the name of the publication?) in ‘Crowned as the best‘; ‘responsibly sourced‘ fish;  braai suggestions for ‘Ready Steady Braai’; and ‘Flavours of Home‘ (preparedWoolworths Good Food News Responsible Sourcing Whale Cottage foods with strong spices such as curries, and traditional foods such as koeksisters and milk tart); as well as editorial. It is obviously planned as a monthly insert, numbered ‘Issue 01′, and dated September 2014.  The focus of the first issue is ‘lovelocal‘:

*   ‘New on the shelf‘ (page 3) showcases new pack designs for wine boxes, braai tins, braai marinade, braai (more…)

Global Pizza Challenge winning pizza 2For the first time a vegetarian pizza has won the South African leg of the Global Pizza Challenge, Colin du Plessis from the Lady Grey restaurant in McGregor having been named as the local winner at Hostex at the Cape Town International Convention Centre last week.  He has won cash, as well as a trip to Melbourne in March next year, to participate in the Global Pizza Challenge, being one of 16 international finalists from countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, Namibia, Italy, UAE, and Thailand.

Pizza makers from around the country, working in restaurants, stand-alone pizzerias, takeaway outlets, and hotels sent in their pizza recipes. A panel of internationally-recognised chefs evaluated the entries, and judged them on originality, balance, creativity, as well as their ‘excitement factor’.   The finalists were selected on the basis of their recipes, and the top 30 were invited to prepare their pizzas in a three-day cook-off held on the Global Pizza Challenge stand at Hostex.  Pizza lovers could enter in one of five categories:  poultry or meat, seafood, vegetarian, speciality, and dessert Colin’s winning pizza is named ‘Mary Queen of Scots’, reflecting the Scottish theme of his Lord’s Guest Lodge, (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Virginie Taittinger is following in her famous Champagne family’s footsteps by launching her own label Virginie T, a non-vintage Brut, 67% Pinot Noir and 33% Chardonnay.  She has made 100000 bottles.  She has also made a Rosé, a blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier.  She sells her champagnes directly from her website at £25,90, which includes delivery.

*   Bouchard Finlayson is pairing its wines with a 4-course meal prepared by new Executive Chef Christo Pretorius at Azure at the Twelve Apostles hotel on 29 November, at R545. (via newsletter from Bouchard Finlayson)

*   Waterkloof is hosting a ‘Six Senses Evening’ at the 2013 Helderberg (more…)

Dear Charmaine

Your walk-out from our employment at Whale Cottage Camps Bay twelve days ago without resignation, on the day that you saw the salary in your bank account, is the worst blow to any employer, especially given the good relationship we enjoyed in the eight months in which you worked for us.  We appointed you when your previous employment at the White Lodge Guest House in Constantia had run out (they are shocked at your claim that they reneged on a contract, as there was none) due to the severity of the recession last winter.  We took a chance on you, despite the financial pressure on our business at that time, and you were an excellent receptionist, with the potential to grow into the rest of your job description of Manager.

As you left without notice, despite our meeting appointment for the day of your sudden departure, we have chosen to communicate to you via this blogpost how we view your behaviour, not deserved given how well we looked after you, with a salary increase after six months, giving you three days off to attend a family wedding in Queenstown when we were fully booked and couldn’t spare you but found a locum for you, and regular invitations to you, your family, and your boyfriend to the theatre and restaurants. You regularly expressed to us and to others how much you enjoyed your job. In retrospect, little signs of a recent change in your behaviour – your breaking of our rules, taking an afternoon off when we had guests checking in, wanting to delegate your duties to two unreliable housekeepers while you went to the wedding, and more – were evident.

You can imagine our shock when a guest house colleague in Camps Bay called a week prior to your walk-out to tell us that he had received your application for a job, as must have most hotels in Cape Town, and in which you dishonestly called yourself our ‘General Manager’. When you sent out your CV to more than 100 hotels last winter, no one except ourselves responded. We appointed you immediately.  At no time did you express any dissatisfaction or desire to grow your spectrum of tasks, which we would have happily delegated to you. On the day before your departure you asked me for copies of your salary slips, and lied as to the reason why you needed them.  We had thought that you were the most honest staff member until that day, and given the information from our guest house colleague, this request was a further confirmation about your job search.  We asked someone to call you on the pretense of inviting you to a job interview, and you announced that you had accepted a job that day at a hotel in Claremont.

Given this information, we met with you at the end of that day, and read through the employment contract with you, specifically the clause relating to the calendar month’s notice that you had agreed to, and we confirmed by additional contract in the meeting, which you signed, that your last day of employment would be 30 April, as per the contract.  Under pressure and in tears you told us that you were starting at your new employer three days later.  We discussed that you had made a mistake in accepting the new job on this date, and that you would have to tell them that you could only start on 1 May, and we even offered to try and find a replacement for you at the end of March to assist you, at our own expense.  We highlighted to you your dishonesty in lying to us, and your secretiveness in sending out the application for all hotels to see (not sending the application by blind copy), and in not honouring your employment contract.  You told us that the reason for the job search was the pressure from your boyfriend Ian Little, who had to drive you to and back from work every day as you do not drive, due to the increasing cost of the petrol between Plumstead and Camps Bay.  We promised to discuss with you the next day how we could enlarge your range of duties, for more pay, to cover the increased petrol costs.  You did not even have a letter of resignation to give us, and you promised to contact the new employer about the delay in starting with them.  The next morning you saw the salary payment, and dropped to the level of a housekeeper by sending us a text message saying that you had dropped your keys at the guest house and had left our employment (we were fully booked and you left the guest house management to the housekeepers, without even saying goodbye to them), giving yourself the weekend off, and causing chaos at the guest house, the staff bursting into tears when we had to tell them that you had absconded from our employment without notice, resignation, and farewell.  Only later that morning you sent an e-mail with a letter of immediate resignation, in breach of your employment contract.

Your parents in Queenstown were devastated to hear about your dishonesty, having seen you as a trustworthy and honest daughter, even though they had seen the negative influence on your behaviour since you moved to Cape Town with your boyfriend. Your father was ready to drive to Cape Town to come and fetch you, but didn’t have enough money for the petrol.  Your new boss and co-owner Nicolene Barrow at the 5-star The Andros Boutique Hotel in Claremont was speechless when we called her and told her about your breach of our employment contract, given that you had lied to her in saying that we had given your leaving us our blessing! We are surprised that you moved for a lesser position at the same salary that we were paying, to save a few Rands in petrol. It is shocking that a colleague in the hospitality industry could be so naive and opportunistic to expect the appointment of a new member of staff with two days notice to the previous employer.  For a person who moved to Cape Town from Queenstown last year, job hopping after 3 months and then 8 months for two jobs does not look good on your CV.

At 25 years you are relatively young, but we could not believe that you are so naive as to :

*  blatantly breach our employment contract and the additional contract which you signed about your date of departure, clearly showing that you have no respect for the law of contract, and have no business ethics and honesty at all, not being trustworthy for any future employer

*   expect our co-operation for paperwork from us

*   expect any positive future references for any prospective employer, given that we are one of your four hospitality employers

*   think that we would not have warned your new employer

*   think that we have not shared our experiences with your previous employers White Lodge Guest House, and the Heritage Guest House in Queenstown.

Any prospective employer should know that they are not only appointing you but also your boyfriend, manipulating you in the background. His invitation to connect on Linked-In, to ‘coffee dates’ and dinners, and his other attempts to become my ‘friend’ were totally inappropriate and unwelcome.  Even since your departure he is communicating with us, as if he is your manager or representative.  We did not appoint him.

Wanting to share the outcome of our subsequent negotiations, in which you admitted the breach of your contract, I called The Andros Boutique Hotel yesterday, and asked to speak to Ms Barrow.  Your new colleague Steyn Venter called back aggressively on behalf of Ms Barrow, threatening legal action should your hotel’s name be mentioned in this blogpost.  What a shame that we cannot share with her the final outcome of our negotiations with you, which should be of interest to her as your current employer.

You will pay the price of your dishonesty for many years to come, and you probably already regret your selfish and short-sighted action, which has cost you your reputation and a lot of money in paying out our contract, money which could have got you to Camps Bay for a number of years yet!

We are sharing this letter with the hospitality industry, not only as a warning about any potential future employment of you, but also to share with hospitality employers the rights that they have to have their employment contract honoured, even if it is financially after a departure, which we are happy to share with them privately.  It is also a reminder to hospitality employers that all staff are legally obliged to give and work out their notice, and there is a moral obligation to do so too, given that no business can operate with a sudden departure of a staff member without a hand-over and the replacement of that staff member, as we all know!

We salute our labour advisor Gerald Jacobs for his excellent advice, and the luck of finding locum Lily Lello, who came to our rescue two days later, allowing us to honour our guest bookings in Franschhoek, and to continue operating our Whale Cottage Camps Bay, both operations which could have been jeopardised by your walk-out.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage

Has blogging lost its charm and appeal, three years after taking off in a big way?  It would appear so, if the blogging habits of some of the longer-standing food and wine bloggers are analysed.  I have observed, for example:

*   Dax Villanueva, of Relax-with-Dax Blog, recently Tweeted about taking a blogging break.  Some food bloggers identified with the sentiment of the ‘blogging holiday’, but Dax does not appear to have reduced his frequency of blogging.

*   Spill Blog has reduced from one blogpost a day at its start last year, to infrequent blogging on weekdays, and does not blog on weekends.  Their infrequent Tweeting (@MackSpill) has rendered them almost invisible.  One wonders how advertisers view the reduced Blogging activity.

*   David Cope’s The Foodie Blog now sees one blogpost a month, compared to many more when he first started blogging.  He almost exclusively Tweets.

*   The Jamie Who? Blog is interesting, as blogger Andy Fenner closed down his blog by this name last year, and incorporated it into a joint lifestyle blog called Aficionado, with two other bloggers.  Its clean and neat design, and top level brand endorsements, did not attract enough advertising revenue for the three partners to live from, Fenner blogged honestly, and therefore it was closed down last week.  Now Fenner will have to start from scratch in building readership, an expensive price to pay.  Even Fenner’s blogging frequency on Aficionado dropped significantly, only blogging once in the past month.  Fenner may have lost interest in blogging generally, announcing that he is opening Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants in the next month.

*   Matt Allison of I’m No Jamie Oliver Blog has not Blogged since the beginning of this month, and will be moving to a new blog he will call ‘Planting Thoughts’, reflecting his new passion for urban farming.

It would appear that Blogging Burn-out may be occurring amongst more established bloggers.  Either they are making good money out of their blogs (or not), or they are making money from other sources.  Those bloggers who do not accept advertising on their blogs, blogging for the love of it, appear to be more frequent bloggers.  Serious bloggers spend a good two hours in writing a post, and it is the posting of the photographs that is time-consuming, especially those taken with a better quality camera.  Attending the function that one blogs about, driving there, and then writing about it, can take almost a full day, a luxury for bloggers who have a ‘day job’.

Recently a ranked list of lifestyle blogs and websites, some incorporating food and/or wine, and almost all accepting advertising, was published by Wyncc (linked to Spit or Swallow and Winetimes), based on daily page views (on 17/10):

  1. food24.com126 592
  2. 2oceansvibe.com104 158
  3. winetimes.co.za47 539
  4. watkykjy.co.za – 25 105
  5. capetownmagazine.com19 763
  6. imod.co.za16 558
  7. wine.co.za14 956
  8. bangersandnash.com14 422
  9. lifeissavage.com8 546
  10. jhblive.com6 944
  11. missmoss.co.za – 6410
  12. cooksister.com5 341
  13. capetowngirl.co.za4 807
  14. winemag.co.za – 3 739
  15. aficionado.co.za3 205
  16. relax-with-dax.co.za – 2 671
  17. whalecottage.com2 671
  18. kimgray.co.za2 671
  19. whatsforsupper-juno.blogspot.com 1 068
  20. spill.co.za1 068

Using The South African Food & Wine Blogger Directory as a guideline, I checked the Blogging frequency of a number of blogs.  Pendock Uncorked and Sommelier Miguel Chan Wine Journal Blogs post daily or even more frequent blogposts in general, while Cook Sister, Just Food Now, Food & the Fabulous, Hein on Wine, Batonage, Cape Town by Mouth, Betty Bake, and Scrumptious South Africa blogposts appear more than once a week, on average. It is a shame that Sardines on Toast blogger Kobus van der Merwe last blogged in August, and that Pete Goffe-Wood, with a sharp wit, only blogs once in six months on the Kitchen Cowboys Blog.

The annual S A Blog Awards entries closed at midnight, and appears to be a non-event this year, if the low-key Tweeting about it, and the large number of Bloggers who could not be bothered to enter, is an indicator.  Every year the SA Blog Awards attracts criticism, and this year is no exception.  The biggest surprise is that only ten Blog categories will be contested, compared to 24 categories last year, benefiting more focused Bloggers, and not those writing more generally about a diversity of topics:

  • Best Business / Political Blog
  • Best Entertainment / Lifetstyle (sic) Blog
  • Best Environmental Blog
  • Best Fashion Blog
  • Best Food & Wine Blog
  • Best Music Blog
  • Best Photographic Blog
  • Best Science and Technology Blog
  • Best Sport Blog
  • Best Travel Blog

There is very little consistency and comparability with the SA Blog Awards of 2010. Noticeable by their absence this year are the Most Controversial Blog, Best New Blog, and Micro-Blogging (Tweet) categories. The rules have changed too, and for the first time the Blog entries are limited to Bloggers residing in South Africa, automatically excluding regular past-winner in the Food & Wine category, London-based Cook Sister Blog, and the Indieberries Blog winner of last year. Only two categories may be entered per Blogger.  Voting will be limited to one vote per Blog, and closes on 9 November.  Judges will only evaluate the top three publicly-voted Blogs per category.  Judges will choose the Blog ranking in each category.  The judges vote will decide the overall winner of the SA Blog Awards.  Radio sport presenter JP Naude will be running the organisation, not being a blogger himself, with support of last year’s Award’s organiser Chris Rawlinson.

It will be interesting to see how Blogging evolves over time, and whether the rate of new Blog start-ups will reach saturation.   Loyal Blog readership remains at a high level, readers being more active supporters of Blogs than their writers, it would appear.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage