Tag Archives: Cape Talk

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 4 March

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Cape Town’s South Peninsula remains under attack from numerous fires raging over the past four days.  Despite the most welcome rain earlier today, fires are still affecting the Tokai forest and Constantia wine farms, including Buitenverwachting, Klein Constantia, and Eagles Nest.  The lightning of this morning’s thunderstorm ironically ignited a fire at Cape Point, which had to be evacuated as a result.

*   Yesterday Cape Town was the hottest city in the world, at 42ºC, the highest temperature ever measured at Cape Town’s weather station at the airport.

*   The Stellenbosch Wine Route has been named the best in the world, and has won the Best Promotional Body for the second year running at the Wine Tourism Awards 2015 of Continue reading →

Feast at Cape Leopard Trust charity auction 10th anniversary lunch at Leopard’s Leap!

Leopard Trust cover Whale CottageYesterday The Cape Leopard Trust’s celebrated its 10th anniversary with a Charity Auction lunch at Leopard’s Leap, a perfect synergy between the good work done by the Trust, and the winery’s focus on leopards.  We were treated to a fine feast prepared by three chefs, and all left happy that R519000 was raised for The Cape Leopard Trust.

Barbara Lenhard and Florian Gast of Opulent Living are an amazing powerhouse couple in organising events, in addition to publishing their Opulent Living magazine.  They managed to attract 180 guests, at R1500 per head, to attend the Charity Lunch on a picture perfect day in Franschhoek.  Outside Marco Cianfanelli’s sculpture of a leopard welcomed arriving guests. We were offered a glass of Leopard’s Leap Culinaria Brut MCC on arrival, and were shown to our seats, where we were lucky to have great company, including Darryl from The Light House in Paarl, and Dr Tracey and Brett Garner.  Elana Afrika-Bredenkamp of the Expresso Show and her husband Ian Leopard Leap Elana and Ian Bredenkamp Whale CottageBredenkamp of Kfm and Cape Talk were the MCs, keeping a steady pace for the proceedings throughout the afternoon, interviewing chefs, the performers, and sponsors, which included Mercedes-Benz, FNB, and cennergi.

The outgoing CEO of the Cape Leopard Trust, and its founder, Dr Quinton Martins, became very emotional when he spoke, close to tears in seeing so Continue reading →

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 19 May

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The Dutch government is sponsoring World Design Capital 2014 with a R4,5 million investment through the ‘Department of Design’ event, to be held at Provenance Auction House in Vrede Street in Cape Town from 8 – 27 July.  A Dutch economic trade mission will visit Cape Town and the event, which consists of workshops, presentations, debates, and activity relating to sustainability, focusing on water management, transport and logistics, agriculture and farming, health and science, and the creative industries in particular.

*   R4,7 million has been spent to upgrade the facilities of the Department of Home Affairs’ passport control counter at Cape Town International, in the interest of improved service, reports The New Age.  Passport control has been moved closer to the Duty Free section of the airport.  An automated queuing system with turnstiles has been introduced.

*   Start-up Cape Town company Over has won first prize in the U-Start Conference in Milan, its app allowing one to place text and artwork over photographs. The app has been downloaded 8 million times since it was developed in 2012.  Western Cape Minister Continue reading →

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 16 May

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   British Airways has launched a You Tube video ‘On Top of the World’, which probably is a TV commercial for its A380 flights to South Africa (it does not say if they are flying to Cape Town too),  and was filmed exclusively in Cape Town, including on top of Table Mountain, on Camps Bay beach, with Lion’s Head as a backdrop, at Boulders Beach, and showing a Cape Town flower seller, a rugby player, and a cyclist.

*   SATSA (Southern African Tourism Services Association) CEO David Frost says that tourists should be encouraged to see more of South Africa than the Big Five, Cape Town, the Kruger National Park, Johannesburg, and the Garden Route. Attractions in other provinces are not known to travelers.  Repeat visits to our country should be increased, and the deceased time spent should be reversed, he added.  He encouraged SA Tourism to develop trade deals that draw visitors to lesser known attractions.  Travelers are not only visiting South Africa, but are also incorporating Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique into their itineraries.

*   Wellington Wines is planning to treble its sales of bulk wine to the UK to 6 million litres by next year, and projects Continue reading →

Tracy van Maaren Wines presents its portfolio of fine boutique wines!

Tracy van Maaren Tracy Whale Cottage PortfolioLast night I attended the first Tracy van Maaren Wines Trade Tasting, representing a handful of select fine boutique wine estates, held at Auslese. Each of the wine estate’s wines offered for tasting was personally paired with a canapé designed by Chef Harald Bresselschmidt of Aubergine.

Tracy started her wine career by working as PA to Dana Buys at Vrede en Lust.  She then moved into the clothing industry, but regretted this move.  She returned to the wine industry, working at Jordan.  Almost nine years ago she started her company, her first wine clients being Vriesenhof, Raats, and Catherine Marshall.   She represents her clients’ wines in the ‘mid to top restaurants’ and independent retailers (e.g. Caroline’s, Wine Concepts, and Vino Pronto) in Cape Town and Stellenbosch, with Paarl and Franschhoek.

Auslese is a renovated house, available to rent for functions, about two blocks from Aubergine.  It has a smallish kitchen, and the space was cleverly used to set up tasting tables for nine brands, with Pol Roger (Churchill’s favourite champagne) represented in the entrance hall by Great Domaines’ Derek Kilpin andTracy van Maaren Pol Roger Whale Cottage Portfolio their brand new French import Morgan Delacloche.

Arriving at about 18h30, there was no crush, and one could get to easily taste the wines and food pairings, chat to the wine representatives, and to the invited guests, which included John Maytham of Cape Talk, Mark Bland of Expresso, Mandi Jarman of Aquila, Chef Vanessa Marx and her colleague  Rumby of Dear Me, Catharina’s Manager Ronel Smidt, sommelier and consultant Jörg Pfützner, John and Lynne Ford, and Mike Duggan of Wine Concepts. Continue reading →

Franschhoek Literary Festival off this year, with poor aftertaste before it starts!

The organisers of the 7th Franschhoek Literary Festival have attracted negative attention to the 2013 event, taking place this weekend, before it has even started, with the announcement last week that no South African wine writer was good enough to win this year’s South African Wine Writers Award, sponsored by Boekenhoutskloof’s Porcupine Ridge to the value of R25000.

Organised by Franschhoek Wine Valley Tourism (FWV), the media release to announce this slap-in-the-face news to all local wine writers did not offer any further explanation. What is not known is which wine writers entered the competition and why the judges John Maytham of radio station Cape Talk and occasional wine writer himself; BBC radio producer and author Duncan Minshull, with no apparent wine writing experience or wine knowledge; and Canadian VINES editor Christopher Waters did not find any of the entries to be of a high enough standard.  The winner and first runner-up were to have been announced at Essence (hardy known for its winelist!) on Friday, as part of the Franschhoek Literary Festival.  In its fifth year of the Award, past winners are Joannne Gibson, Norman McFarlane, and Tim James (who won twice).  The Award recognises technical quality and literary quality, the Franschhoek Wine Valley said in its media release when calling for entries, having to do a reminder call, possibly due to too few or too poor quality entries received.  Oddly the media release regarding the outcome of the judging appears to have been removed from the FWV website, and has not been sent by the PR agency of FWV, Smart Communication and Events, nor by its CEO Jenny Prinsloo, nor by the publicist Claire Richards for the Franschhoek Literary Festival, when requested!  This may be due to the amusement with which wine whiner Neil Pendock has written about this state of affairs (e.g. ‘SA wine writers; From Bad to Bizarre’), the only wine writer who appears to have commented about the poor quality wine writing, as judged by the Franschhoek Literary Festival judging panel!  Pendock cheekily suggested a course in wine writing for the Literary Festival after this fiasco!

The programme for this year’s Literary Festival is disappointing in terms of the quality and stature of the Festival, given the great authors who were invited in the past. Part of the reason could be that other Book and Literary Festivals have sprung up in Cape Town and in Knysna, since the successful Literary Festival was first conceived in Franschhoek.  The organising committee too may be to blame, having become rather arrogant, as we noted last year when we provided feedback to Literary Festival Director Jenny Hobbs, which she responded to with a curt ‘noted‘, unlike previous years, when she welcomed and discussed feedback. Leaking information to her infamous daughter Jane-Anne Hobbs about a Blogging workshop proposal for the Festival we had discussed with Hobbs snr, and mocked on the now defunct Twitter abuse account by Sonia Cabano, further demonstrated the lack of ethics of the Hobbs mother and daughter. No surprise is the inclusion of Hobbs jnr on the Festival programme!   Nepotistically Hobbs snr’s brother David Walters features in the Literary Festival programme too, with a ceramics exhibition ‘Words on Pots’ at his gallery!  Noseweek editor Martin Welz has managed to organise the first ever Franschhoek Literary Festival side event, with a weekend workshop at the Protea Hotel addressed by ‘activist experts’ Richard Young on the arms deal, David Klatzow on criminal prosecutions, Shaheen Moolla on the destruction of our marine life, and Mariette Liefferink on acid mine drainage and radioactive fallout.

Going through the programme to plan my attendance, I found little to excite me on this year’s programme. Twitter has one session dedicated to the fast-growing 140 character communication form, with past speaker and Woolworths’ social media practitioner Sam Wilson (8550 followers), writer/editor Julian Rademeyer (3500 followers), and Business Report columnist Ann Crotty (6 followers and still has an ‘egg’ profile picture, demonstrating what a newbie she is at Twitter!).  Blogging still is not recognised as a writing form by the Literary Festival organisers.  Alexander McCall-Smith probably is the biggest name the Literary Festival offers, but its media sponsor the Sunday Times is offering Capetonians an opportunity to hear him speak in Cape Town later this week! Award-winning writers on the programme are Lauren Beukes, Christopher Hope, and Antjie Krog, with Jane Raphaely, Finula Dowling, Marguerite Poland, Hermann Giliomee, Tony Leon, and Melanie Verwoerd also being well-known.

Every year Christopher Duigan runs the Autumn Music Festival alongside the Franschhoek Literary Festival, and performs ‘Literary Liszt’ on Friday at 19h30, two Schubert-dedicated concerts on Saturday and on Sunday morning, and a free ‘Voices for Africa’ performance on Saturday evening, all performed in the Dutch Reformed church on the main road.

Despite the disappointing programme this year we are grateful to the organisers for putting on the event, and for most Franschhoek accommodation establishments and restaurants already being fully booked weeks ahead of this coming weekend.  Attendees of the Literary Festival do not only enjoy attending the sessions, but also like interacting with each other at guest house breakfasts, and at coffee shops and restaurants in Franschhoek.  Booking in advance is advised, as a number of sessions are sold out already.  Excellent weather is forecast for the weekend.

Franschhoek Literary Festival, 17 – 19 May. www.flf.co.za Twitter: @FranLitFest R60 per one hour session. www.webtickets.co.za

POSTSCRIPT 13/5: We have received the following statement, written by organisers Jenny Hobbs and Sheenagh Tyler and sent by Claire Richards, the Franschhoek Literary Festival PR consultant, to explain the lack of a 2013 South African Wine Writers Award:

‘STATEMENT ON THE WINE WRITER’S PRIZE

The FLF wishes to clarify a few points around the 2013 Wine Writer’s Prize, which was not awarded this year.

· The prize is funded by the Franschhoek Literary Festival and presented by the CEO of Franschhoek Wine Valley.

· The independent judges for 2013 were John Maytham (South Africa), Christopher Hope (a South African who lives in France) and Christopher Waters (Canada).

· 20 submissions were sent to the judges after the deadline was extended.

· In 2012 there were 23 submissions.  Several wine writers declined to submit entries this year, feeling that they had nothing suitable to offer.

· Submissions are sent to the judges anonymously.  Two in Afrikaans were judged as such by John Maytham and Christopher Hope and translated for Christopher Waters.

· No payment is involved.  The judges are thanked for their work with the offer of a case of South African wine.

· Their unanimous decision this year was that not one of the entries lived up to the expected literary and technical qualities of wine writing.

· The FLF is funded by Porcupine Ridge Wines and the Sunday Times, neither of which groups has any say in the judges’ decision, and ticket sales.

· A discussion will be held by the organisers and their advisers after the FLF about the parameters for the prize in future years.

· We warmly thank those wine writers who made positive suggestions in this regard and welcome further suggestions from wine writers.

· Contact details of more South African wine writers to add to our mailing list would also be very welcome.

Jenny Hobbs, FLF Director & Sheenagh Tyler, FLF Manager’

POSTSCRIPT 17/5: There appears to be confusion between the sponsor Porcupine Ridge and the Literary Festival organisers about the hashtag for the Festival.  It has been confirmed that it is #FLF13. Porcupine Ridge appears to have printed all its marketing material for the Festival as #FLF2013!  A much larger problem to befall the Festival is that one of its lead speakers Anthony Horowitz has withdrawn from the Festival in the very last minute!  Franschhoek felt very commercialised today, with a massive bottle of Porcupine Ridge and many Sunday Times banners outside the town hall, the marketing effort of its two sponsors!

POSTSCRIPT 17/5: Sadly the Christopher Duigan ‘Literary Liszt’ concert in the Dutch Reformed Church this evening clashed with a wannabee Cat Stevens singing outside the church at the Night Market!

POSTSCRIPT 17/5: Neil Pendock has written another attack against the Franschhoek Literary Festival and its Director Jenny Hobbs , for insinuating that no local wine writer is good enough to win the prize. He suggests that each of the twenty entrants should sue the Franschhoek Literary Festival for the prize money of R25000, a total of R500000!  What is ironic is that the Sunday Times is the media sponsor of the Franschhoek Literary Festival, yet its irreverent wine whiner Pendock is disparaging the Festival on the blog which belongs to the newspaper!

POSTSCRIPT 18/5: The Franschhoek Literary Festival is in further trouble – a documentary ‘Truth be told’, which Noseweek was to flight in a fringe event to the Festival this weekend, was stopped after the SABC lawyers served papers on its producer Sylvia Vollenhoven, who was to speak about her battle to get the documentary flighted.  Earlier this year Vollenhoven flighted the documentary to a number of Noseweek reader groups in the dungeons of the Baxter!

POSTSCRIPT 19/5: Wine writer and PRO Emile Joubert has written an Open Letter to the organisers of the Wine Writers’ Award!

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

How much does Bruce Palling really know about food and wine? Not much, it seems!

Speaking to some of the chefs whose Eat Out Top 20 restaurants were bashed by blogger Bruce Palling in the past few days, a new picture emerges, in that he appears to have enjoyed our South African wines so much that he seems to have made a number of errors in his ‘reviews’ of the restaurants, writing about them six months after visiting them, misspelling wine and dish names, and even getting the meat types he was served wrong!  He has done our country’s restaurant industry great damage and harm, and demoralised our country’s best chefs.

Palling had two bottles of wine per meal on average, and four bottles per day, on each of 15 days, a total of 60 bottles he blogged proudly, now an expert on South African wines too! Some of Palling’s faux pas were the following:

*   Ordering Steenberg at Planet Restaurant, which he called ‘Steenburger’!

*   He couldn’t spell Biesmiellah and denningvleis, even though he Tweeted about his (private) meal directly from the restaurant!

*   He got the Vriesenhof variety he BYO’d at Makaron Restaurant incorrect, mistaking Continue reading →

Home Brands Sweet Service and Groupon/Cape Talk Sour Service Awards!

The Sweet Service Award goes to Home Brands in Montague Gardens, and is nominated by Sue Coetzee: “I purchased an Aquaflosser about 2 years ago, and lost the receipt, so when I had problems with the charger, I bought a new one through a discount voucher. It stopped working after a few months, and as I no longer had any proof of purchase I thought that was it. I took a chance, and took them into their Cape Town office when we were there, and was very pleasantly surprised to receive two new units in the post not long after (person dealt with was Yumna)! Well done to them, no questions asked“.

The Sour Service Award goes to Groupon with Cape Talk, and is also nominated by Sue: “I purchased two vouchers early December, one for a Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 bluetooth keyboard and cover, and the other for a Salad bowl that keeps the items cold. Eventually i received the keyboard and cover, only to discover it was a generic, at the same price one can purchase off the shelf, it didn’t fit my Note, appeared to be second hand (the plastic wrapping had been opened), and the description on the outside box had been marked out with a koki pen.  I have had no reaction to firstly, finding out what has happened to the salad bowl, nor to my request for how to return the keyboard and get a refund. (What i did receive was a request to rate their service in relation to my request. Needless to say, i also did not receive any response to my answer!). Around the middle of January, I heard on radio 567 that John Maytham had interviewed a big shot in Groupon, who had promised to sort out all the outstanding queries, and if one wrote again to Groupon, and received no response, to forward the emails to his (John’s email address), and he would make sure they went directly to the guy he interviewed, It’s now nearly the end of January, and still no response! What now?”

The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog.  Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to Chris von Ulmenstein at info@whalecottage.com.   Past winners of the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be read on the Friday posts of this blog, and in the WhaleTales newsletters on the www.whalecottage.com website.

Was appointing Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant UK judge Bruce Palling a mis-steak?

Newly appointed Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards international judge Bruce Palling left Cape Town on Monday, ‘after stupendous fortnight of feasting and tasting in South Africa…’, he Tweeted.  His Tweets caused a stir when he arrived in Cape Town, and he left on a poor note, in criticising his meal at Belthazar at the V&A Waterfront with an unfair and misleading Tweet about his last dinner in Cape Town!

As we have written, food blogger Palling was invited to the country to restore Eat Out’s reputation after last year’s Awards were judged solely by its editor Abigail Donnelly, leading to controversial decisions.  Palling had to confirm Mrs Donnelly’s Top 20 finalist list, revealed yesterday after Palling had left Cape Town, assist her in the ranking of the Top 10 restaurants, and assist in the decision as to which restaurants would receive the category awards for Best Bistro, Best Italian Restaurant, Best Asian Restaurant, Best Country-Style Restaurant, Best Steakhouse, and receive the Boschendal Style Award.

Palling set about ‘feasting and tasting’ his way around our country, and seems to have done 26 lunches and dinners in Cape Town predominantly, with only a lunch at DW Eleven-13 in Johannesburg on Saturday, and Pretoria and Durban not appearing to have featured on his travel agenda, judging by his Tweets.  Anyone following Palling’s Tweets would have picked up that he was censored by his hosts, as he was revealing too much about the dishes he was eating, especially the Springbok, which he ate on at least three occasions and was less than complimentary about initially, so much so that he had to apologise to our national game dish: “Take back Springbok being boring/bland – had 2 non sous vide versions which lean + voluptuous helped along by Raats Cabernet Franc 08″‘!  One senses from his Tweets prior to his arrival in Cape Town that he loves to Tweet what he eats (we know the feeling!), but he must have been most frustrated in not being able to do so locally, so he had to resort to Tweeting photographs of wine bottles instead, which were clues as to his whereabouts in themselves.

Of his 26 lunch and dinner opportunities in Cape Town, only two were deemed ‘private’, which meant that he could provide their names, and Tweet about them.  His Tweet about Biesmiellah in Bo-Kaap was an a-palling example of poor journalism, riddled with typing errors: “Taking a break at Biedmiellah (sic) – Babotie (sic) and Denning Vleis (sic)”. Poor quality writing, not what one would expect from a ‘journalist’!  The photograph he Tweeted (right) was most unappetising.

It was his last Cape Town dinner at Belthazar that caused outrage, at the unfair attack in a Tweet on what is judged by most as the city’s best steak restaurant: “Private dinner @ Belthazar – first steak so dry had to send it back – then rare fillet still chilly inside – what’s problem? -v frustrating”. As Belthazar is not on Twitter, we contacted the restaurant to check what had happened, given its good reputation. We discovered an a-palling misrepresentation by Palling in the Tweet, reflecting his unprofessionalism. We spoke to Executive Chef Gracious Phakamani, the Sommelier Bantu Masseti, the junior manager Serge Kabuya, and the waiter Hassan, all of whom had been on duty that evening, and the following emerged about Palling’s dinner at Belthazar: Palling arrived alone, and the first thing he told the Sommelier was that he is a ‘restaurant reviewer’, but that he was not reviewing Belthazar, something no professional reviewer would do, and was unnecessary as he was eating there ‘privately’! He then showed the Sommelier a list of wines he was interested in tasting, and not all were available by the glass, so Sommelier Bantu suggested alternatives that were close to the ones Palling wanted to try.  Palling drank a glass of Tokara Director’s Reserve 2004 (yet Tweeted a photograph of the 2008 bottle) at R165, a glass of Bellingham The Bernard SMV at R150, and a glass of Waterford Kevin Arnold Shiraz at R110.  As a starter Palling ordered a 700g Chicago Cut steak (R310), which he ordered rare, but was advised by the waiter to order medium rare, which he was happy with. Not having eaten enough (despite an earlier two course lunch at a restaurant on the Top 20 list) and the 700g steak, he decided on eating a 250 g fillet steak (R169) too, which he ordered rare. He sent it back, saying it was cold inside. Chef Gracious put it back on the grill, and the now Medium Rare steak was returned, judged by Palling as still being too cold inside.  The Chef prepared a fresh steak for Palling, again prepared Rare, and the third time round he was happy with it. Chef Gracious has been at the Slick Group of restaurants (owning Belthazar and Balducci’s) for fifteen years, and rarely has had a steak returned, let alone two by the same customer, he related.  There was no feedback to the Belthazar staff about the steak being too ‘dry’.  Palling had such a good time at the restaurant that he gave his newly acquired Mount Nelson ballpoint pen to the waiter as a present, tipped the waiter R160 (15%) on the R1086 bill, and told the Manager Serge that he had an enjoyable evening, and that he would return to the restaurant in November, when he returns to Cape Town for the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards evening. All four Belthazar staff were shocked when they read Palling’s Tweet about his dinner, not reflecting the events truthfully, and he was even mis-steak-en about the sequence of the orders and the nature of his four steaks!

Palling also showed up Mrs Donnelly, in saying in a Cape Talk interview last week that two of the potential Eat Out Top 20 restaurants which he had to judge were ‘ghastly‘, although he did acknowledge that a ‘couple could rank in the top 10 -12 in the world‘. He admitted that he is ‘keen on wine’, and this seemed to be a greater focus of his eating than the food, reflected in his Tweets too.  In the radio interview Palling also said in general there was too much of a preamble about the dish when it was served, when ‘it is already described in detail on the menu’. He admitted that he had not understood springbok initially, ‘but now I like it’! He found that our restaurant dishes are too busy, with 6 – 9 ingredients on the plate, which he called ‘confusion food‘, and advised chefs to simplify their dishes, to ‘focus on what is good’.

Seeing the very safe and predictable Eat Out Top 20 Restaurant Awards Finalist List yesterday, despite some controversy, one can ask whether Mrs Donnelly made a mis-steak in involving Palling in judging the Top 20 Restaurants, as she could quite safely have chosen the same list without Palling’s help.  Palling has been a bolshy visitor to Cape Town, embarrassed himself and his host New Media Publishing in being a very rude and defamatory Tweeter, had to be reined in about his Tweeting so as to not give away where he was eating, kicked off his visit with controversy about his springbok and race-insensitive Tweets, and ended off his visit with a dishonest Tweet disparaging Belthazar!  No matter how much Eat Out has puffed up Blogger Palling’s profile to justify its choice of him as a judge, it appears to have been a mis-steak!

POSTSCRIPT 19/9: Mr Palling has retaliated nastily to this blogpost with a number of Tweets:  @GrandDedale @WhaleCottage @Eat_Out Belthazar sommelier nice guy, though only 1 of 10 wines I enquired was available but steaks the problem’; a more nasty one: @GrandDedale @WhaleCottage @Eat_Out Confucius say : Always let lying dogs sleep’; and even worse, disparaging both Belthazar and ourselves ‘Avoid Belthazar in Cape Town – not only are their steaks unrested tough + tasteless, they discuss your incompetent meal with cetacean trolls’; and the fourth insult Tks for sharing – Belthazar meal v depressing but even more that they reveal all details of guests dinner to serial trivialist’. Palling himself Tweeted the content of his Belthazar dinner! The fifth missile he fired was aimed at ourselves too, showing he does not understand the role of Social Media: ‘  Tks for sharing but must say the blogger so insignificant that her absurd mentions are never noticed by my Google Alert’. One wonders how New Media Publishing must be feeling about their offensive Eat Out judge!  The stream of Tweets is continuing from a-palling Mr Palling: ‘ A liar too – chides me for tweeting wrong wine pix when I spelt out that it was different one’; and Stalked by moronic lying troll while in SA – loves shit-stirring and will report this to my employers and demand retraction’.

POSTSCRIPT 19/9: Despite Mr Palling’s assistance in the compilation of the Eat Out Top 20 Restaurant Finalist List, it did not prevent Mrs Donnelly from showing her bias yet again, by having included The Pot Luck Club, a restaurant which has not been operating for a full year.   Chef Luke Dale-Roberts withdrew his newer restaurant from the Top 20 list today, which means that both Mr Palling and Mrs Donnelly, with Eat Out and its publishers New Media Publishing, have lost face completely, and that the Eat Out Restaurant Awards have become a farce! This is how Eat Out ‘packaged’ the announcement: ‘Our original communication listed The Pot Luck Club as one of the nominees. However, on discussion with chef Luke Dale-Roberts, we discovered the restaurant only opened in December 2011, and not in November 2011. (One month short of the cut-off.) Therefore, as per our judging criteria, The Pot Luck Club is not eligible for the awards this year. Luke fully supports our decision and we wish him all the best with the restaurant for 2013!’

POSTSCRIPT 21/9: We have been alerted to a glowing review of Belthazar, written by JP Rossouw in Business Day on 14 September, just two days prior to Palling’s visit to the restaurant, and which confirms the stature of this steak restaurant.

POSTSCRIPT 26/9: Michael Olivier conducted an interview with Bruce Palling via Skype, after his visit to South Africa, which he published on his blog yesterday. The interview provides some more insights into Palling. He has no culinary background, his first exotic food encounter being with the avocado pear. He emphasised that he is a ‘food writer’, and not a restaurant reviewer or food critic!  Palling looks ‘to have fun’ in a restaurant, ‘it’s not an intellectual exercise’. He likes to be ‘made to feel special’, recommending ‘make celebrities feel like ordinary people, and ordinary people like celebrities’. The 2005 and 2007 Vriesenhof Pinot Noirs were the most interesting that he drank whilst in South Africa, recommended to him by Majeka House.  He admits to eating burgers. The Platter South African Wines 2012 is one of the books on his bedside table, most others being food related, but none from South Africa.

POSTSCRIPT 5/11: It would appear that the question we asked in the headline of this blogpost was apt, as Bruce Palling Tweeted today that he will not be attending the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards Gala Dinner on 25 November: Sorry to announce that will not be attending Eat Out Awards ceremony – due to “unforeseen circumstances” New Media won’t provide me a ticket”. Eat Out and its publisher New Media Publishing have not responded, and the magazine website does not provide any information about this turn of events.  At all times blogger judge Bruce Palling was going to attend the Gala Dinner!  We have called Stephanie from Eat Out PR company Mango, and she said that they are in discussion with their client.   She could not confirm whether a media statement will be issued.  We have requested a statement from New Media Publishing MD Bridget McCarney.

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

Computicket Sweet and Cape Town Tourism Sour Service Awards!

The Sweet Service Award goes to Computicket at the Theatre on the Bay branch in Camps Bay, and its operator William, for his ever friendly service, who knows our seat requirements for theatre bookings, and will always make a plan to organise tickets, even if one cannot get to the branch immediately.  Other than on opening days of pop group bookings, the Camps Bay branch rarely has many customers, eliminating queues, and therefore the service generally is efficient and friendly. William knows Camps Bay, and will advise his customers on accommodation too, should they wish to stay over.

The Sour Service Award goes to Cape Town Tourism and its Communications Manager Skye Grove, who used her company Twitter account, in which her Bio denotes her position and provides a link to Cape Town Tourism’s website, to attack and defame lobbyist Errol Naidoo to fight a personal issue, writing that he needs a ‘brain transplant‘, amongst others, in response to a Cape Talk interview earlier this week.  This is the response from CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold when we questioned her about the policy of the tourism body regarding attacks made on Twitter by her staff, it not being the first time that Ms Grove has defamed others on her Twitter account, implying that the Tweeting by Ms Grove was out of line: Cape Town Tourism does have a communication policy which includes social media communication. Please be advised that the matter is being addressed in line with Cape Town Tourism’s HR policy and procedures”.

The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog.  Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to Chris von Ulmenstein at info@whalecottage.com.   Past winners of the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be read on the Friday posts of this blog, and in the WhaleTales newsletters on the www.whalecottage.com website.