The Sweet Service Award goes to Checkers in Hermanus, and its supervisor Anita. I called a number of outlets in Hermanus earlier this week, to check their price of HTH, and that sold by Checkers was by far the lowest. Anita answered the phone promptly, unlike the other outlets. Having struggled to open the difficult-to-open security closures on the buckets in the past, I asked Anita whether she could assist in getting someone to open it. I arrived ten minutes after the call, and the HTH bucket was open, and ready and waiting for me! Continue reading →
An unusually high number of new restaurants has opened or will do so in the next month or two. There have never been so many chefs leaving their employers to start their own restaurants, or to join other employers! This list of restaurant openings and closings and restaurant staff movements is updated continuously, as we receive new information:
* Borage Bistro has opened in Portside, with Chef Frank Marks, previously of The Fat Duck, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, La Colombe, The Test Kitchen, and The Pot Luck Club
* Chef Chris Erasmus has opened his own restaurant Foliage in Franschhoek, having previously been at Pierneef à La Motte.
* Idiom Wines is said to be opening a restaurant.
* The Butcher Shop & Grill has opened next to Sotano in Mouille Point.
* Michael Townsend (La Parada, Lucky Fish, Harbour House emporium) is opening a steak restaurant in Muizenberg in November.
* Neil Grant and his business partner Barry Engelbrecht (of Burrata) are opening a new restaurant Bocca on the corner of Bree Continue reading →
* South Africa, and the Cape specifically, has two The World’s 50 Best Restaurants on the top 100 list: The Test Kitchen at 48th position, and The Tasting Room at 72nd position.
* A Schengen-type visa may be introduced for the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) countries, to make travelling easier for tourists. This suggestion is on the agenda of the WTTC Global Summit, and it is planned to increase the tourism market share of the continent to a double-digit one by 2020, from the current 4%. Our country is pushing for such a visa, but only a handful of the other SADC countries Angola, Botswana, Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe is expected to sign the visa agreement initially.
* Surprising is to read that Distell ad agency The Bester Burke Slingers Group is closing its doors in July, the partners saying that they have had enough of the advertising industry, and that they are no longer able to guide clients in their marketing.
Yesterday I was invited to attend the judging of the Cape Finals of Season 3 of Ultimate Braai Master held in the parking area of The Lookout at the V&A Waterfront. Not only was it a good way to catch up with a number of chefs who judged the Cape Finals, but it was also an opportunity to meet Cooked in Africa Films producer Justin Bonello.
Justin chatted to blogger Thuli Gogela of Mzansi Style Cuisine Blog (she appeared in the Bloggers episode of season 2 of MasterChef SA) and I as the judging came to an end at the Finals. One sensed his overriding passion for food, which has grown into TV production, with 21 productions to date, including two previous Ultimate Braai Master seasons, two seasons of Charly’s Cake Angels, as well as ‘Seasons at Terroir‘, which was launched last week and focuses on Chef Michael Broughton, and his restaurant Terroir at Kleine Zalze. Justin denied that Terroir not making the Top 20 Eat Out restaurant list last November was a blow to their production, saying that Chef Michael’s food is beyond Top 10 competitions, clearly a fan of the chef’s food. He is fascinated by the revolution of growing one’s own vegetables and herbs, and proudly showed me a photograph of his vegetable garden at home, out Hout Bay way, which will become the subject of a TV series ‘Green Time’ at the end of 2015, with seven pilot projects of vegetable gardening at schools being developed. Continue reading →
* The theme song ‘Ordinary Love’ of ‘Mandela; Long Walk to Freedom’ won a Golden Globe last night for Best Original Song, written and performed by Bono and U2, reports The New Age.
* SA Tourism USA has launched a new website, with the theme ‘What’s Your Big 5?’, highlighting the top travel experiences our country offers in addition to safaris. The focus now is on ‘Big 5 Ambassadors’, focusing on ‘celebrities, tastemakers and travel influencers’. The website accessibility has been improved, making it easier to search, navigate, and book the next South African holiday. The website also provides travel itineraries by theme: Adventure and Exploration; Culture and Heritage; Safari and Nature; Entertainment and Lifestyle; and Luxury and Romance.
* Western Cape Minister of Tourism Alan Winde is delighted by two top accolades for Cape Town, being top listed by the New York Times and The Guardian. He reacted as follows: ‘This is great news for our city’s tourism sector and excellent publicity for our destination. These awards will no doubt help to elevate Cape Town to the top of Continue reading →
* The Garden Route has been named as the best golf destination in Africa and the Middle East.
* Solms-Delta is one of only 15 recipients (one of three from South Africa – Bushman’s Kloof Wildlife Reserve and Camp Jabulani) of the Travel + Leisure Global Vision Awards 2013, ‘all of which ‘embody the extraordinary ways that travellers can give back to the places we visit’. Solms-Delta empowers its workers through profit-sharing, equity, land-ownership, educational scholarships, music-based heritage projects, and other socially and culturally uplifting programmes. (received via media release from Paula Wilson Media Consulting)
* Tim James of Grape blog has won the inaugural Du Toitskloof Wines Wine Writer of the Year competition, of which the theme was Climate Change and its effect on the South African wine industry. The prize value is R30000. (received via media release from De Kock Communications)
The ‘Going Whole Hog‘ campaign not only communicates the health benefits of eating pasture-reared or free-range pork, where pigs graze in a paddock, and are treated better than mass-reared pigs, but also communicates the benefit of farm-to-table.
Nutritional therapist Sara Bilbe said: ‘Factory farmed pigs live in concrete cells with no outside exposure and no entertainment. Pigs are fairly intelligent animals and this lack of stimulation in these cells leads to high stress levels and therefore high illness. A naturally foraging pig would not just be feeding on grain and legumes but insects, grubs, leafy greens and grasses which are all high in omega-3 oils and would change the composition of the pork fat that we eat’. Such naturally foraging pigs are healthier and are not force-fed to gain weight abnormally, making the pork less fatty, and healthier in that it does not contain hormones nor antibiotics.
Mass-produced pigs are fed cheap soya, corn, and grain, disadvantageous to the digestive system of a pig, which cannot stomach such large quantities of food, hence requiring antibiotics. Pig’s feed can contain hair, skin, blood, intestines, and hooves of other dead animals. Stressed pigs release hormones, which will be contained in mass-produced bacon. The health benefits of pasture-reared animals include its high levels of vitamin A, D, E, and K, and omega-3’s. Pork chops are leaner, contain less sodium, and have more vitamin B.
Pick ‘n Pay is stocking free-range pork at some of its outlets, and is raising Continue reading →
Despite one of the worst winters ever experienced by the Cape hospitality industry, most restaurants appear to have survived it. A surprise trend is the number of Mediterranean style restaurants opening, with true Spanish and Italian owners and/or staff. This list of restaurant openings and closings is updated continuously, as we receive new information:
* The Harbour House group has opened La Parada Spanish Tapas restaurant on Bree Street, with a subterranean bar/nightclub (above).
* Café Puerto Cabo has opened on Loop Street, a Spanish eatery and men’s clothing shop.
* The House of Machines has opened on Shortmarket Street, building motorcycles, offering good Evil Twin coffee, and serving very healthy food.
* Orphanage Cocktail Emporium is opening Orphanage Club upstairs, with 1920’s style music by live performers, later this year.
* The Free World Design Centre in Cape Town is hosting trendtalk#6 on 3 September, with the theme ‘the colour of the times’. It forms part of National Colour Week, which runs from 1 – 7 September. Key presenters will share the latest design and décor trends. Entry is free of charge. The trendtalk#6 speaker panel includes journalist Les Aupiais, fashion stylist Catherine Bowen, and colour trend forecaster Anne Roselt. (via media release from Free World Design Centre)
* The Table Mountain Cableway re-opens tomorrow, after a five week closure.
The Macaroon, sorbet, and Panna Cotta dessert, which top Chef David Higgs of Five Hundred restaurant at the Saxon Boutique Hotel prepared for the Pressure Test on MasterChef SA’s 14 th episode last night, was a tough one to replicate, and cost two of the Finalists their aprons in the competition, the final 10 being whittled down to the winner in the next six weeks.
Chef David was introduced by Chef Pete Goffe-Wood as one of our country’s top chefs, who was named as Top Chef and Rust en Vrede Top Service and Top Restaurant in Eat Out’s Top 10 Restaurant Awards in 2010. Chef David introduced his dish, which he said he had made with one of the country’s top pastry chefs, but the name was not mentioned. He said that dining is more than about food, and preparing food for it can be tricky and technical too. A chef is more than just someone cooking, he or she is an artist too. His dessert of liquorice macaroon with a litchi sorbet and litchi panna cotta on black crumble was exquisite in its presentation. The Finalists were warned to follow the recipe carefully. A macaroon must be crunchy on the outside, yet soft and chewy on the inside. It’s all in the timing, he added. His dish ‘is difficult but not impossible’, he said. The five Finalists in the Pressure Test had 2 hours in which to replicate the dish, and Chef Pete made the shock announcement that two Finalists would be eliminated. In doing the rounds at the work stations, Chef David had a kind word for each Finalist, telling them to ‘relax’, and to ‘not get carried away‘, i.e. to not be nervous. Continue reading →