Entries tagged with “Chef PJ Vadas”.


Bertus Basson at SR Interior doilies Whale CottageWinter is on the way, and the rate of new restaurant openings has slowed down dramatically, as has the move of chefs between restaurants, which was dramatic in 2014.  This list of restaurant openings and closings and restaurant staff movements is updated continuously, as we receive new information:

Restaurant Openings

*   Bertus Basson at Spice Route has opened as a ‘modern South African restaurant‘ at Spice Route, the kitchen run by Chef Alistair Lawrence, previously from Roots and Overture (photograph).

*   Bacon on Bree has opened at 217 Bree Street, a bacon-inspired restaurant by charcuterier Richard Bosman and (more…)

GWCGN Vergelegen Sharon Hosking AndreYesterday was the second time that I had the privilege to attend the Best of Wine Tourism Awards, the 2014 awards presented to the winning wine estates at Vergelegen’s Stables restaurant.  The wine estate representatives were advised to not neglect the booming Chinese tourism generally, as well as wine tourism market specifically.

Cape Town/Winelands is one of ten members of the Great Wine Capitals Global Network, and within each of these geographic regions the wine estates compete for the honour to be named the best in the category.  Winners for 2014 were awarded as follows: Wine Tourism Restaurant (won by Camphors at Vergelegen), Art & Culture (Vergelegen), Accommodation (Babylonstoren), Architecture and Landscapes (Babylonstoren), Wine Tourism Services (Delaire Graff), Sustainable Wine Tourism Practices (La Motte), and Innovative Wine Tourism Experiences (Spice Route).  Vergelegen was named the overall South African winner for 2014, with two first places and four second places out of the seven awards (it did not enter the Accommodation category, not offering any).

I was lucky to sit next to Bradley Brouwer, SA Tourism Regional Manager GWCGN Vergelegen Bradley Brouwer Whale Cottage Portfoliofor Asia Pacific, who was the keynote speaker, especially as I had missed his talk, driving through from a function at Jordan Wines at that time. Bradley is very entertaining, and shared that he was first appointed to head up the Japanese SA Tourism office eight years ago. and on arriving at his hotel and offering a generous tip, the taxi driver threw the money back at him, the hotel explaining to him that is regarded as an insult to be given a tip, as the (more…)

As a member of Slow Food Mother City I received an invitation to attend the Green Renaissance workshop on ‘Be Inspired… to forage in your city’ last Thursday in an unusual venue: Heaven Coffee Shop inside the Central Methodist Mission on Greenmarket Square.  It was a most inspiring workshop, and impressed in that other than paying for the hot chocolate, marshmallows and other snacks as well as the talks by the four speakers were all free of charge. It was hosted by Green Renaissance to encourage Capetonians to forage foods on their doorstep, having noticed that foreigners are much more likely to forage in our city.

One would have wished every restaurant chef in the city to have been present, and Chef PJ Vadas of Camphors at Vergelegen expressed regret on Twitter that he had not known about it.

Green Renaissance is a ‘little production company that wants to be inspired by nature’ , its co-owner Michael Raimondo said when he introduced the ‘Be Inspired’ workshop series, its second in two months, and wanting its attendees to leave the workshops inspired to implement what they have learnt, in connecting with nature.  A lot of material was covered, and many botanical names were used, without notes provided, so its was speed writing to take notes.  In between each speaker’s talk, Green Renaissance played a short video it had produced to tie in with a theme, e.g. mussel hunting and cooking, waterblommetjie collecting and stew preparation, mushroom collecting and cooking, the preparation of nettle soup (which is rich in proteins, calcium, and iron, and helps to detoxify the body), and chestnut gathering and preparation. Each one of the videos was short and to the point, using titles only, beautifully shot, each ending with the pay-off line ‘Go Gather’!

(Bruno) Julian Mori, a winemaker, told us that there are so many edible species of sea food on our 2500 km coastline but that little use is made of it.  He warned that one should be careful, never turning one’s back to the sea, one should identify what one eats, and one should be careful about red tide, the mussel growers in Saldanha being the most qualified to provide information on this toxic effect on sealife, which is only safe to eat three weeks or longer after the end of red tide.  Any seafood with a smell should be left in the sea, one should not take risks, and one should harvest at low tide, below the water mark. All food removed from the sea requires a ‘bait’ licence, bought at a Post Office.  He raved about sea lettuce, periwinkle, whelks, ‘alikreukel’, limpets, brown, white and black mussels, sea urchins (which are high in zinc), and clams.  He said that Cape Point and the West Coast are the best places to forage sea food. Contact: julianmori@yahoo.co.uk

Loubie Rusch (right) was a passionate (and fast) speaker, referring to a host of bushes and trees in Cape Town (focusing on the Claremont, Newlands, and Kenilworth area where she appears to live), showing photographs of Wild Plum, Water Berry, Num Num (Natal Plum), and Eugenia, all of which she uses to make jellies and cordials under the KOS brand.  She also gathers ‘spekboom‘ for salads, ‘surings’ for stews (have a fresh sourness), ‘veldkool’ (for soup and stews), wild rosemary, wild sage, ‘suurvye‘, wild fig, geranium flowers, nasturtium (‘kappertjie’) leaves and flowers, nettles, dandelions, many of these ingredients going into pestos or salads.  Making KOS, cell 082 314 7200.

Gary Goldman is known as ‘The Mushroom Hunter’, who has been foraging for eight years, supplying Italian restaurants (Il Leone, Constantia Uitsig) in the main.  When he sees chestnuts fall, he knows it is time to forage mushrooms, to be found in a 50km radius around Cape Town.  He spoke about poisonous mushrooms, saying that those with a sponge (porcini in the main) are safe while those with gills are poisonous. He explained that one should twist the mushroom out of the ground, and push back the soil to close the hole, to allow new mushrooms to grow.  One should not cut the stem with a knife.  Gary was not very complimentary about South African mushroom guides, saying that the original ones with drawings were more reliable than the later ones with photographs.  Porcinis can only be found under oak trees, and sometimes under chestnuts, conifers, and beech trees.  Not all species of oak trees look like oak trees, but they all have acorns, which helps one to identify mushroom growing areas.  He advised that one can air-dry mushrooms, and then place them in the deep freeze, where they can be kept for up to 30 years, maintaining their flavour.  One can keep mushrooms in a brown box in the fridge at 4°C for a few days, but one must not remove the soil until one uses them.  Truffles are problematic, in that it takes 40 years to grow the oak trees that are inoculated with truffle seeds.  Our soil also does not freeze over in winter, which truffles need.  He added that plants surrounding truffles die off.  Contact Gary: gary.goldman@cybernet.co.za.

Bridget Kitley specialises in medicinal herbs, having a nursery outside Stellenbosch from which one can buy a number of plants (she spoke quickly and mentioned mostly botanical names), including sage (which stimulates memory and therefore is good for Alzheimer patients, is used for hot flushes, can whiten one’s teeth, is good for hormonal problems, and heals sore throats). Wilde Els is also used for Alzheimer patients, and can be drunk like a buchu tea, helping to reduce temperatures, and to treat coughs and flu.  Wormwood is good for stomach pain, and helps prevent or heal malaria.  Comfrey heals cuts, chilblains, arthritis, bruises, and prevents migraines. Pennywort helps with ADD, lack of concentration, and stimulates the growth of collagen of the skin.  Potager Gardens, Cell 079 499 2209. www.herb-nursery.co.za

Slow Food Mother City has circulated details of two forthcoming foraging events:

*   Olive picking at Francolin Farm, Alphen Drive, Constantia, tomorrow at 14h30.  Cost is R13 per kg.  Book: leeleith@mweb.co.za

*   Delheim Wild Mushroom Forage on 17 and 18 June at 10h30, at R250 per person inclusive of lunch, led by Gary Goldman. Book: restaurant@delheim.com

The speakers at the Green Renaissance workshop enthused the audience to do their own foraging of free and healthy foods, which are abundantly available in Cape Town and the Winelands!

Green Renaissance, 73 Rose Street, Cape Town. Cell 082 290 0197. www.greenrenaissance.co.za Twitter: @GreenRenaissanc

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

I never experienced Cheyne’s when it operated from a small space on Bree Street after the World Cup, but was very impressed when I sampled Chef Cheyne Morrisby’s cooking at the Franschhoek Kitchen at Holden Manz. Now Capetonians can enjoy Chef Cheyne’s Australasian-infused South African cuisine in Hout Bay.

Having only opened five days ago, Cheyne’s was already fully booked for lunch yesterday, all customers choosing to sit outside on a lovely sunny autumn day.  All the inside furniture was taken outside, so it is difficult to judge what the restaurant will look like when it is set up inside.  Comfortable cream chairs are set at white topped tables, without tablecloths, but with material serviettes, salt and pepper grinders, Fortis Hotelware cutlery, and good glassware.  A smallish sign on the Pam Arlene Place building is the only indication of where the new restaurant is, but the tables filled with happy diners attract attention of the traffic passing by.  About thirty diners can be accommodated at this stage, Chef Cheyne only launching the restaurant officially later this month.

It is heartening to see Chef Cheyne with his trademark cap in the kitchen, being absolutely hands-on, at the cost of regular customer contact, but it was impressive that Chef Cheyne did come to greet each table.  I overheard a table debating Cheyne’s name and how to pronounce it.  Chef Cheyne is Cape Town born, worked at Blues for two years, and a planned one year job in London became an eleven year one, working at the Conran Group restaurants. In this time he cooked for Kate Moss, Kylie Mynogue, and Robbie Williams.  He traveled to the East, including Thailand and Indonesia, and he said that his cooking style is that of the Pacific Rim.  He loves their cooking methods, their simple approach to ingredients, and keeping food simple, fresh, clean; and uncomplicated. They use base flavours to give food a good foundation.  He decided to return to Cape Town with his family, wanting them to ‘feel’ Africa, and also wanting to give back to his home country. He has two waiters, Simon being an ex-advertising industry executive, having worked at a post-production company. He wanted to switch career direction to work in a more social environment. Confident Clayton worked with Cheyne’s at his restaurant on Bree Street, whereafter he went to The Roundhouse, and then followed Chef PJ Vadas to Camphors at Vergelegen.  The traveling to Somerset West became too much for him, and when he received Chef Cheyne’s call, he decided to return to work with his old boss again.

The menu is printed on brown board and will be changed monthly. It is attached to a clipboard with a small winelist.  It carries an introduction by Chef Cheyne, describing his approach to cuisine: ‘I am passionate about influences and unique flavours from the Pan Asian/Pacific Rim region that stretches across South East Asia, Japan, Singapore, to Australia and New Zealand. I hope that you enjoy the food journey‘. There are about six starter and main course options, and three dessert choices.  Everything sounds special yet unusual, one not finding the combination of ingredients offered by Cheyne’s elsewhere on a local menu.  From the starter list there was no hesitation in ordering the crispy Crayfish tempura, miso, garlic chive wonton, and sauce shumai (R55), the added chive flower making it a most attractive starter.  Other starters (ranging from R40 – R55) are Roasted rice cakes, Red Dragon sauce, toasted sesame, and coconut flakes; Beef Tataki, miso, mirin and English mustard, and Tempura onion crown; Pork belly ssam, crisp baby gem leaves, Chinese mustard and XO sauce; Keralan spiced squid, green chilli puree, red kimchi and coconut jelly; and sticky duck, pear noodles, star anise and ginger glaze.

The main course choice was an easy one too, Chef Cheyne’s speciality being pork belly, and it was tender and filling, topped with the most delicious crackling, served with an unusual corn and cumin purée, Fuji apple tempura, coconut dumplings, and soy and maple sauce (R90).  Other main courses, none costing more than R95, are 48 hour Beef Short Rib, confit fingerling potatoes, braised daikon with a dashi reduction; Malaysian Laksa, grilled linefish and tiger prawns, warm cucumber noodles, and nori dust; Ramen noodles with Korean BBQ pork, bamboo shoots, spring onion, and poached egg; and Ramen noodles with white sesame and ginger chicken, prawn dumpling, and poached egg.  The dessert list is short and sweet, each item costing R45: Fried apple pie, kaya paste, sticky miso, sour cream ice cream; white chocolate and toasted sesame semi freddo, with banana tempura; and a delectable pear cinnamon and ginger tarte tatin with tamarind ice cream.

The winelist contains two brands per major wine varietals, and almost all are available per bottle and by the glass. Corkage is charged at R30 per bottle.  Pongracz costs R195 and Graham Beck Brut Rosé R215. Brampton Shiraz costs R35/R130, Madonna Shiraz R40/R185, La Motte Sauvignon Blanc costs R35/R140, and Durbanville Hills R30/R130.

Cheyne’s exterior and modest interior decor is unpretentious, and does not reflect the excellent creative cuisine prepared by Chef Cheyne.  Service could be a little smarter, especially from Clayton, given his background.  Prices are extremely reasonable, for the quality of food served.  Cheyne’s will become a challenge to Hout Bay restaurants, especially Kitima.  A nice touch was bringing two coconut ice bonbons with the bill.

Cheyne’s, 1 Pam Arlene Place, Main Road, Hout Bay (near Caltex garage).  Cell 079 067 4919. Website under construction. Twitter: @Cheyne_Reaction. Open Tuesday – Sunday Lunch, Tuesday – Saturday dinner.

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