The new Chefs’ Warehouse and Cookery School has opened in a renovated Victorian building in New Church Street, off Buitensingel Street in Cape Town.
Chef Liam Tomlim, previously operating in Sydney where he ran the highly rated Banc restaurant (see our previous story on Liam Tomlin here), has opened a Cookery School, where he and local chefs will present cooking courses in a small intimate studio not holding more than 20 persons. It has a hi-tech look, with lots of stainless steel. But the little touches make the venue special – against a wall different coloured glass tiles form an interesting pattern, with glass bottles of spices on a shelf in front of each tile.
In the Cookery School Tomlin is planning to host a 20-lecture “The Basic Techniques and Methods of Cookery” course, with the start date now 8 May. The course, with four hour lectures every second Saturday, has not yet been fully subscribed, and it may be the R10 500 price tag, the start of the quieter and tighter winter season, or the World Cup that falls in the period, that may be causing the slow booking commitment. Tomlin is passionate about food, being the author of two cookery books, and he is likely to make an interesting cookery lecturer, with his Irish sense of humour.
Guest Chef classes can also be booked, with Neil Jewell of Bread and Wine in Franschhoek talking about “The Pig” on 5 May; Peter Tempelhoff, Executive Chef of the McGrath Hotels, will do a course on 11 May (title not yet confirmed); Alexander Mueller of Pure at Hout Bay Manor will talk about “Pure Food” on 24 May; and Carl Penn of Carne will talk about “Basic Lamb Butchery” on 27 May. Classes cost R 575 each, and are held from 6.30 – 9.30 pm in the evenings.
A 12-part winetasting course will be presented by Caroline Rillema of Caroline’s wine shops in the city center and in the V&A Waterfront. Sommelier Mia Mortensson, now with the Winery of Good Hope in Stellenbosch, and Paul Cluver Jnr will also be presenters. The course starts on 8 June, and costs R 7000 for all 12 lectures, but can be booked in sections as well.
A 6-part Artisan Baking course “Knead to know” will be presented by Tim Faull of the Professional Vision Group consultancy, from 2 June – 14 July, and costs R 3 000.
Tomlin’s wife Jan rules the roost in the front section, which is the Chef’s Warehouse, which contains a treasure trove of beautiful kitchen and dining items such as glassware, crockery, cutlery, serving dishes, aprons, carving knives, utensils, massive wooden stirring spoons (must get one!), Le Creuset pots, copper pots, cookery books, coffee machines, wine racks and many more products. The Chef’s Warehouse will give Core Catering and Banks a good challenge, stocking far more beautiful and many imported products, offering better service, and being located in a far more desirable area. It would be the perfect place to buy a gift for a food or a wine lover.
While the name of the shop implies that it is a massive shop, it is not at all, but the available space has been cleverly used. Two smaller rooms lead off the Warehouse, the one being a cold room with interesting products which need to remain chilled, and the other being a food shop, which sells Willow Creek and Hamilton Russell olive oil, 100% pure cocoa powder, Spanish and Iranian saffron threads, Calleebaut & Valrhona chocolate, flavoured oils (white and black truffle, pistachio, hazelnut, porcini, walnut), vinegars (12 year Italian balsamic, Willow Creek Cabernet Sauvignon vinegar, Neil Jewell’s smoked red wine vinegar), Nfuse spices, Lavazza coffee, Von Gesau chocolates, Tea Emporium teas (organic Rooibos, Moroccan mint, Kyoto cherry rose, lemon caipirinha, even a chocolate flavoured one!), Khoisan salts (fleur de sel, salt caviar, sea pearls, smoked salt, truffle salt), and products of the Verjuice company (verjuice, vino cotto, preserved ginger in verjuice). Vanilla syrup, sugar, husks, pods, paste and seeds are also sold, as are vanilla, coffee, rose water, peppermint, almond and orange blossom pure essences.
A beautifully made unit displays 50 fresh spices and dried herbs (including Iranian dried limes, Brazilian pink peppercorns, Indian and Romanian coriander) in small quantities, which will be restocked as they run out, to keep them fresh. Another display unit contains a wide range of dried fruits, nuts and seeds. An eye-catching design element is a photograph of Tomlin’s recipe book collection, which he photographed in his home, and had made as a poster for the shop.
What I missed was a brochure of the Cookery courses to be offered, to take home, and the smell of food. A coffee machine, and the smell of freshly brewed coffee, would signify what the Chef’s Warehouse and Cookery School is all about. Its little veranda would make an ideal spot for some tables for customers to sit at, as The Warehouse does not allow much space for customers to move around in.
The Chef’s Warehouse and Cookery School is an exciting new addition to Cape Town, and enhances the city’s reputation as the food capital of South Africa.
Chef’s Warehouse and Cookery School, 50 New Church Street, Cape Town. Tel 021 422 0128. www.chefswarehouse.co.za
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com