Entries tagged with “Dalla Cia”.


imageOpenWine ‘Taste Pair Shop’ opened on Wale Street in a chic less-is-more venue a month ago. Yesterday Seth Shezi and I visited OpenWine, and found two very friendly Italians who are passionate about promoting and drinking South African wine.

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imageThe Dalla Cia family of Stellenbosch, synonymous with Grappa, has launched a 10 Year Celebration Grappa, which was distilled in 2004 and has been barrel-matured for the past ten years. The launch of the special Grappa celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Dalla Cia Wine & Spirit Company.

Father and son Giorgio and George Dalla Cia created the anniversary Grappa, and continues a tradition started by Vittorio Dalla Cia, father of Giorgio, in Friuli in Italy in the ‘Twenties. George Dalla Cia is the (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   FlySafair took off for the first time last week, offering permanent low-cost flights between Johannesburg, Cape Town, George, and Port Elizabeth.  Extras are charged, including meals, luggage in addition to two pieces of hand luggage, pre-booked seats, travel insurance, and extra-space seats. Base airfares between Cape Town and Johannesburg cost R 499 per direction.

*   The City of Cape Town has launched a Mobile Transport TCT App.  Developed by ‘Where is my Transport’, it is unique in Africa, and will guide commuters as to which form of transport they can use to get to their destination, incorporating the MyCiTi Bus, Golden Arrow Bus, Jammie Shuttle bus, city sightseeing buses, and Metrorail trains.  In addition information relating to shops close by, and directions in getting there, is also provided.  The app can also guide users of private transport, providing travel times, as well as informing them about traffic hold-ups such as accidents, roadworks, and more.  Locals can use the app to report potholes, faulty traffic lights, and bad driving to the City.

*   Award-winning wine blog Terroirist sings the praises of the ‘Swartland‘ generally, and of the wines (more…)

Chalk & Cork logo Whale CottageI was bombarded with a barrage of Tweets when the new owners of Mozzarella Bar on Kloof Street first opened in July, having bought the business from ‘Mr Charm’ Giorgio Nava.  Nava must have sold the owners Amy and Marc Botes a good dose of rudeness and cheek too, which is what I experienced when I popped in at the now renamed Chalk & Cork, waiting for my car to be washed at the Engen garage nearby, earlier this week. I enjoyed going to the Mozzarella Bar, with its charming Italian manager Simone, previoulsy.

I photographed the counter as one enters (there is no signage at the entrance, but only on the low wall of Chalk & Cork Interior Whale Cottagethe outside seating, visible to all passing on Kloof Street (the patrons that is, and not the branding)!  The waitress could not tell me why the restaurant is named Chalk & Cork, other than to say that they have a lot of wine on the winelist!  She could not explain the ‘Chalk‘ part.   There is a cork collection building up on both sides of the front door.  The downstairs entrance doesn’t appear to have changed much, although there is more equipment against the back wall behind the counter compared to the Mozzarella Bar.  The Pizza oven is still there, as is the drinks fridge. They are no longer selling Mozzarella, which will be available at Piazza Italia, up the road on Park Road.  Upstairs they can seat 30 patrons.  On a rainy day they have next to no business, the upstairs seating not being visible nor known.  (more…)

Maison Interior changes Whale CottageThe Kitchen and Tasting Room at Maison has been operating for almost three years, and during its recent two month winter break, a number of changes were made to the interior, to the menu, with further changes on the way.

Ten days ago I visited Maison after a long absence, mostly due to the winter closure, and my less frequent visits to Franschhoek in the winter months.  In walking to The Kitchen and Tasting Room at Maison it was a delight to see that the uncomfortable stony entrance walkway has been replaced with very comfortable walkable wooden decking.  Tables and chairs have been set up on the front lawn, to allow for overflow of unbooked guests.  Inside, the ceiling near the pass has been redone with wooden Maison wooden deck Whale Cottagecladding, as has a wall alongside the fireplace.   New lamps have been hung, looking like seahorses to me.  Lamps have been erected above the pass, with shelving above it, and the pass exterior has been wood-clad as well.

The biggest change is that a Deli is to be introduced in the winetasting section, on the right as one enters the building, with a bar counter, at which one will be able to taste six to eight Maison wines (the number is still to be finalised), each paired with two tapas-like bites reflecting some of the dishes which Chef Arno (more…)

Holden Manz Chef Julia Hattingh Whale Cotatge PortfolioJulia Hattingh is the fourth chef at Franschhoek Kitchen since Holden Manz bought the previously named Klein Genot wine estate, and it was renamed after the owners’ surnames.  She is a breath of fresh air, and the restaurant will attract back customers, as Chef Julia settles in and takes the restaurant to a new level.

Security is stricter now, one having to fill in a sheet at the boom, but friendly.   One walks through the downstairs tasting room to get to the upstairs restaurant, and I chose the smaller room with the fireplace. Front of House Manager Cobi Bosch is new, and he and I did not gel at all.  He previously worked at Rhapsody’s at Cape Town International and in Bloemfontein.  I knew that Manager Wayne Buckley would pop in, and I did want to meet Chef Julia, which made me stay.  Cobi also served as the waiter on Monday.   He recommended to a neighbouring table what his favourite dishes are, in guiding them what to order (they ordered a cheese platter to share in the end), but did not offer me this service.   He brought two wine lists, one with Holden Manz wines, and the other with wines from their ‘friends’, being other wine estates in Franschhoek and one in Stellenbosch, telling me that the Chardonnay on the list was sold out already.  He seemed most put out when I requested butter instead of the bottles of Willow Creek extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, for the slices of olive oil bread which he had brought to the table. (more…)

Franschhoek has shown the wine industry that it is a serious wine destination, winning the Platter’s 2013 Winery of the Year a second year running, the accolade going to Cape Chamonix wine estate, and its winemaker Gottfried Mocke.  The Mullineux Family Wines of Riebeeck Kasteel also performed excellently.

Publisher Andrew McDowall announced that the blood orange colour of Platter’s South African Wines 2013 is ‘West Coast Sunset‘ this year. Published for the 33rd time, the publication has started a ‘relationship’ with and has become ‘engaged’ to Diner’s Club, the credit card brand appearing on the wine guide cover for the first time.  McDowall hinted that a ‘marriage’ may follow!  For the new Guide, 900 wine estates and 7300 wines were evaluated, 54 of the wineries being new.  The largest number of 5 stars was awarded ever, to 62 wines. The theme of the publication this year is ‘Backstories’, showcasing the dreams, passions, challenges, and successes of the wines featured in the Guide.

Michael Fridjhon opened the proceedings, and spoke about his first involvement with the Guide 30 years ago, when it was owned by Erica and John Platter, who had just moved to Delaire at that time.  He shared that Erica Platter was very strict, and a word such as ‘mouthfeel’ was banned by the tasters.  He said that 30 years later, ‘the guidelines for the tasters have become far more rigorous, but that the editors are gentler’. Fridjhon was congratulated for having been announced as the International Wine Columnist of the Year 2012 in the Louis Roederer International Wine Writers’ Awards.

The motivation for choosing Cape Chamonix as the 2013 Platter Winery of the Year, in addition to winning four 5 Star Platter Awards for its Greywacke 2010 Pinotage, Pinot Noir Reserve 2011, Chardonnay Reserve 2011, and White Blend Reserve 2011, is ‘Kaizen’, Platter’s editor Philip van Zyl said, the process of continuous improvement, and the seamless integration of viticulture and winemaking by the same team. This has made Cape Chamonix one of the top wine growers in the country, he said. Winemaker Gottfried Mocke has worked at Cape Chamonix for eleven years, and proudly shared the honour with his assistant winemaker Emul Ross, who has worked with him for just over a year.

The husband and wife team of Chris and Andrea Mullineux did well last year, and repeated its performance this year, winning three five star Platter awards for its Mullineux Family Syrah 2010, Straw Wine 2011, and Schist 2010, and was recognised for Red Wine of the Year for its Syrah.  Nederburg (Ingenuity 2011, Winemaster’s Reserve Noble Late Harvest 2011, Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon Private Bin D252 2012) and Fairview (La Beryl Blanc 2011, Nurok 2011, Jakkalsfontein 2009) also received three five stars each.

The White Wine of the Year went to Paul Cluver Noble Late Harvest 2011. Superquaffer of the Year, selected out of 12 candidates in a 2,5 – 3 Platter star band and costing R 50 – R70 a bottle for reds and R40 – R60 for whites, was selected as the Muratie Melck Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon 2011.  Three of the Platter’s winners could not be present, being stranded in America due to Hurricane Sandy: Ken Forrester, Pieter Ferreira, and Kathy Jordan.

The 5 star Platter 2013 wines are the following (first time 5 star recipients marked with an asterisk):

Cabernet Franc

Raka 2009
Von Ortloff Quintessence 2008*
Warwick 2009

Cabernet Sauvignon
Delaire Graff Laurence Graff Reserve 2009
Pinotage
Cape Chamonix Greywacke 2010
Kanonkop 2010

Pinot Noir
Cape Chamonix Reserve 2011
Newton Johnson Family Vineyards 2011

Shiraz/Syrah

Boschendal Cecil John Reserve 2010
Cederberg CWG Auction Reserve Teen die Hoog 2010*
Delheim Vera Cruz 2009
Fable Bobbejaan 2010
Fairview Jakkalsfontein 2009
Mullineux Family Schist 2010
Mullineux Family Syrah 2010
Raka Biography 2010
Saronsberg 2010*
Simonsig Merindol Syrah 2010

Red Blends

Dalla Cia Wine & Spirit Company Giorgio 2007*
Fleur du Cap Lazlo 2008
Keets First Verse 2010*
Ken Forrester The Gypsy 2009
La Motte Pierneef Shiraz-Viognier 2010
Mvemve Raats MR De Compostella 2009*
Nico van der Merwe Mas Nicolas Cape 2007
Sadie Family Columella 2010

Chardonnay
Boschendal Reserve 2011
Cape Chamonix Reserve 2011
Hamilton Russell 2011
Jordan CWG Auction Reserve 2011
Jordan Nine Yards 2011

Chenin Blanc

Alheit Cartology 2011*
Beaumont Hope Marguerite 2011
Botanica 2011
DeMorgenzon Reserve 2010
Jean Daneel Signature 2011
KWV Cathedral Cellar 2011
Sadie Family Skurfberg 2011
Spice Route 2011

Sauvignon Blanc
Fryer’s Cove 2011*
Graham Beck Pheasant’s Run 2012
Tokara Walker Bay 2012

White Blends

AA Badenhorst Family 2010*
Cape Chamonix Reserve 2011
Cape Point CWG Auction Reserve 2011
David Aristargos 2011
Fairview Nurok 2011
Flagstone Treaty Tree Reserve 2010
Miles Mossop Saskia 2011
Nederburg Ingenuity 2011
Nederberg Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon Private Bin D252 2012
Nitida Coronata Integration 2011*
Rall 2011
Tokara Director’s Reserve 2011

Méthode Cap Classique

Bon Courage Jacques Bruére Brut Reserve 2008*
Villiera Monro Brut 2007

Dessert Wine Unfortified

Fairview La Beryl Blanc 2011
Fleur du Cap Noble Late Harvest 2011
Mullineux Family Straw Wine 2011
Nederburg Winemaster’s Reserve Noble Late Harvest 2011
Paul Cluver Noble Late Harvest 2011

Fortified Wine

De Krans The Last Cape Vintage Reserve Port 2010

Catering was by the Vineyard Hotel, and one of the waiters said that each of their canapés was planned to be paired with a wine varietal.  An unusual combination was the strawberry Turkish delight dessert.

It would appear that Franschhoek’s reputation as the best wine destination in South Africa will receive another boost on Saturday, when it is likely that Marc Kent of Boekenhoutskloof will be announced as the 2012 Diner’s Club Winemaker of the Year, judging by the posters on lamp posts throughout the village, announcing that ‘Franschhoek home to the Diner’s Club Winemaker of the Year 2012‘, without mentioning his name.  Kent is the only finalist from Franschhoek. Discussing this with Christian Eedes at the Platter function, he expressed his disappointment, in saying that it takes the ceremony out of the award evening if the result is known up front.

POSTSCRIPT 31/10: This blogpost received an honourable mention from Neil Pendock on the Times Live blog today, quoting our last paragraph about the Diner’s Club Winemaker of the Year Award in full. The question he raised is how Boekenhoutskloof managed to not receive any 5 stars from Platter yesterday, yet was named Winery of the Year 2012, and how anyone could know the results of the Diner’s Club Winemaker of the Year 2012 accolade, as the wines were tasted blind!  We have heard that the Diner’s Club awards function will be held in Franschhoek, and the poster headline may have referred to this, yet that would make the wording misleading.

POSTSCRIPT 3/11: The Diner’s Club Winemaker of the Year posters in Franschhoek were certainly misleading. Razvan Macici, Cellar Master of Nederburg, has been named Diner’s Club Winemaker of the Year 2012.  Interesting is the Tweet from Llewellyn Lambert, who attended the event, that finalist Marc Kent of Boekenhoutskloof did not attend the Awards dinner.

Platter’s Wines of South Africa 2013. Available at book stores, retailers, and wine estates from mid-November. R169.95. www.wineonaplatter.com www.sawinesonline.co.uk Twitter: @WineonaPlatter

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

At the Bouchard Finlayson tasting at the Twelve Apostles Hotel last week ‘Wine Tourism Handbook’ publisher Monika Elias gave me a copy of her 2012 edition.  It is a very handy guide to the wine estates of the Western Cape in particular, but also in the Northern Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal.  It is ideal for tourists wishing to get a quick overview of our wine routes and regions, and for staff working in the hospitality industry.

‘The Wine Tourism Handbook‘ introduces the topic by painting a picture of the 350 year history of South African wine, as well as the making of the first wines in the world up to 10000 years ago!  It tells the story of South African wine-making by Jan van Riebeeck, in February 1659 for the first time, the establishment of the KWV in 1918, the creation of Pinotage in 1941, and the launch of the first wine route, in Stellenbosch, in 1971. From these early beginnings South Africa has become the 7th largest wine producer in the world.  It addresses equitable issues of winemaking via Fairtrade, which promotes ‘greater equity for small producers in the international trading arena. The ethos of their work is that trading partnerships should be based on transparency, respect and a sustainable and ethical system of production and purchase’.   The growing trend to sustainability led to the development of the Biodiversity & Wine Initiative, with land of wine farms set aside for conservation, eradicating alien vegetation, and protecting endangered species such as the Cape Leopard, Geometric tortoise, the Cape Leopard toad, and the Riverine Rabbit.

A chapter is dedicated to winemaking, starting with viticulture, and describing the white and red wine making processes.  The value of the label, in communicating the region and farm from which the wine comes, the alcohol content, the vintage, the variety, the origin of the grapes is explained.  Details about the origin, cultivar and vintage are certified by a seal from the Wine and Spirit Board.  Just more than half of vines planted are for white wine production, and Chenin Blanc is the single largest varietal, at 20% of planting. The methods used to make Fortified wines, Rosés, and sparkling wines are also described.  A ‘South African Bubbly Route’ lists 69 producers of MCC sparkling wine. The best way to store wine is shared, and companies through which one can order South African wines in other countries are listed.

Brandy production is addressed separately to wine production, and the types of brandy, and tasting it, is covered.  Two Brandy Routes are described – the R62 Brandy Route, and the one including Stellenbosch, Paarl, Franschhoek, Wellington, and Elgin. Twenty brandy producers are listed.

Most of the book is dedicated to the wine routes of the Western Cape, categorised as Central Region, Inland, East Coast, and West Coast. The Central Region consists of Cape Town wine production in Constantia and Durbanville, and also in Franschhoek, Paarl, Stellenbosch, Stellenbosch Berg, Bottelary Hills, Greater Simonsberg, Helderberg, Stellenbosch Valley, Tulbagh and Wellington.  Advice is provided on getting around on the wine routes, and drinking and driving is strongly  advised against. Tour guides specialising in wine are recommended.  A Top 10 ‘Things to do’ list is presented, which includes lunch at Jordan wine estae, Staying in a tented camp at Clara Anna Fontein Game Reserve, seeing a show and eating at Die Boer Theatre Restaurant, viewing the Hess Collection at the Glen Carlou art gallery, tasting Jorgensen Distillery’s ‘artisanal drinks’, visiting the first biodynamic farm Bloublommetjieskloof, making wine at Stellenrust, enjoying a braai at Midddelvlei, and going on a game drive at Villiera Wildlife Sanctuary.

Highlights of the Constantia Region include Groot Constantia, Klein Constantia, Buitenverwachting, Eagle’s Nest, Constantia Glen, Constantia Uitsig, Steenberg, and Cape Point Vineyards, and the restaurants La Colombe, Bistro Sixteen82, and Buitenverwachting.  Some top Durbanville wine estates include De Grendel, Durbanville Hills, Meerendal, and Nitida.  The Franschhoek wine route includes Allée Bleue, Boekenhoutskloof, Boschendal, Cape Chamonix, Colmant Cap Classique & Champagne, Morena, Graham Beck, Grande Provence, Haute Cabrière, Holden Manz, La Motte, Rickety Bridge, Solms-Delta, Stony Brook and Vrede en Lust. Restaurants on this Route include Pierneef à La Motte, Fyndraai, Haute Cabrière Cellar Restaurant, and Babel.  The Paarl wine route includes Babylonstoren, Backsberg, Fairview, Glen Carlou, KWV Wine Emporium, Laborie, Landskroon, Nederburg, Noble Hill Wines, Perdeberg Winery, Scali, Veenwouden, Val de Vie,  and Vondeling.

Stellenbosch is the oldest and largest wine region, and has a number oif wine routes. Some of the best known estates on these routes include Waterford, Blaauwklippen, De Trafford, Flagstone, Kleine Zalze, Neil Ellis, Stark-Condé, Beyerskloof, Hartenberg, Hazendal, Villiera, Delaire Graff, De Meye, Bartinney, Kanonkop, Mont Destin, Rustenberg, Slaley, Thelema, Tokara, Uitkyk, Warwick, Alto, Dombeya/Haskell, Graceland, Ken Forrester, Longridge, Rust en Vrede, Vergelegen, Waterkloof, De Toren, Dalla Cia, Jordan, Meerlust, Spier, and Vilafonté. Recommended restaurants are the Postcard Café, Terroir, Delaire Graff, Towerbosch, Overture, and Jordan Restaurant by George Jardine.

The Inland region consists of the Breedekloof, Klein Karoo (Boplaas is one of the best known), Swartland, Robertson (dominated by Graham Beck, but also with Zandvliet, De Wetshof, and Van Loveren being better known) and Worcester wine routes.  The Swartland wine route is growing in stature, and very fine wines are being made in this region, including Mullineux, Sadie, AA Badenhorst, and Allesverloren.

Agulhas and Elim (Jean Daneel and Raka are best known), Bot River (Beaumont is best known), Elgin (a wine route with increasing recognition for Almenkerk, Paul Cluver, Shannon, and Iona), and Walker Bay are the wine routes classified under East Coast in the book.  The new Hermanus Wine Route has excellent wineries, including Creation, Hermanuspietersfontein, Ataraxia, Bouchard Finlayson, and Hamilton Russell.

The West Coast region consists of the Darling (Cloof is best known) and Olifants River (Cederberg and Stellar better known) wine routes.  The Garden Route is not well-known as a wine region, and Bramon makes an organic sparkling wine in Plettenberg Bay.  In KwaZulu-Natal Abingdon and Meander wines are made.

Twenty-seven wine-related festivals are also listed, with dates for the year ahead.

The Wine Tourism Handbook is a wealth of wine information, and should ideally be given to all tourists arriving in Cape Town, as compulsory reading about the excellent and extensive wine range on its doorstep.

Wine Tourism Handbook 2012: Enjoying Wine at the Source, World Focus Media, Tel 083 631 3393 www.winetourismhandbook.co.za

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

The shock discovery that Abigail Donnelly awarded the Eat Out Boschendal Style Award to her client Makaron Restaurant at Majeka House in Stellenbosch is still being talked about, and it appears that Mrs Donnelly did not obtain permission to do consulting work from her bosses at New Media Publishing.  The conflict of interest in this award must have caused the publishing company, the Eat Out staff, and Mrs Donnelly severe embarrassment, and it has severely dented the credibility of the Eat Out restaurant awards, which determine chef reputations and shape restaurant incomes for the year ahead.

There has been a deafening silence from New Media Publishing generally and from Abigail Donnelly specifically since we wrote about her Majeka House involvement, and no one in the industry has dared comment publicly, for fear of being victimised (this happens, a chef telling me that he provided feedback some years ago, and never made the Top 20 list again!).  Until the Eat Out Awards ceremony on 20 November I had nothing but the highest regard for Mrs Donnelly and her integrity, and even defended it when I heard mutters about Mrs Donnelly being the sole Eat Out Restaurant Awards judge this year.  We thought she could pull it off without controversy, but it appears we were wrong.

The Makaron Restaurant consulting non-disclosure by Mrs Donnelly is completely unacceptable, and therefore I contacted the Managing Director of New Media Publishing, but the e-mail to Bridget McCarney was returned, stating that she is on a sabbatical for a few months.  I was advised to send the e-mail to the two directors Irna van Zyl and John Psillos, and it was Ms van Zyl who quickly and honestly answered, having sought Mrs Donnelly’s input too.  We publish the communication between ourselves and Ms Van Zyl below, and one can read Mrs Donnelly’s anger in her reply.  My last and the ultimate question which Ms van Zyl did not answer was if Mrs Donnelly had sought permission to do the consulting work, this being the New Media Publishing policy.  The non-response is a deafening admission that this did not happen:

From: Whale Cottage Portfolio

To: bmccarney@newmediapub.co.za

Sent: Wednesday, December 07, 2011 1:40 PM

Subject: EAT OUT

Dear Bridget

I want to ask you what the policy is about your staff, and Abigail Donnelly specifically, consulting for restaurants? I am very perturbed about Abigail’s position as sole Eat Out judge, and the conflict of interest that has arisen with Makaron Restaurant having made the Boschendal Style Award shortlist, as well as it winning this category.  I have also picked up that its owner won the Review of the Week on the Eat Out newsletter last week.  Can we expect Makaron to be the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant next year? Can we please receive a declaration of all the restaurants to which Abigail consults?

From: Irna van Zyl

To: Whale Cottage Portfolio

Cc: Anelde Greeff ; Abigail Donnelly ; John Psillos ; Bridget McCarney

Sent: Wednesday, December 07, 2011 4:29 PM

Subject: Re: EAT OUT

Dear Chris

I’ve discussed your concerns with Abigail Donnelly in her capacity as Editor of Eat Out and Anelde Greeff, Content Director of Eat Out. As you have probably gathered Bridget, our MD, is on a mini-sabbatical but I will endeavor  to reply to your questions as well as I can.

Here are the facts:

Abigail did a once-off consultation with Makaron before the restaurant was opened and made it clear to the owners at that time that because of her involvement the restaurant would not be eligible for any of the Eat Out Awards that involved food. At the time the chef that she was consulting to left the restaurant without implementing Abigail’s menu. The Style awards was not judged on the food. It was judged, as Abigail explained at the Eat Out Awards, on the setting, the detail in the wallpaper, the underfloor lighting of the bathrooms, the beautiful chairs, handmade crockery and the overall beautiful look of the restaurant, to which she had no input as a consultant.  In terms of the Review of the Week Anelde Greeff explains that in order to be representative countrywide they choose a review from a specific area each week as the “winner”. It is their policy that the “winning” review should be one with a positive slant. It is unfortunate that the review was the one written by the owner but completely coincidental. The choice of Review of the Week has nothing to do with Abigail, who is not involved in the website in an editing capacity.  Just one last comment: the Top 20 shortlist of restaurants is decided on after careful consultation and consideration of the input of all Eat Out’s 20 countrywide reviewers, reader opinions throughout the year and other opinions from foodies. At Eat Out we were just following the example set by Lannice Snyman years ago as the founder of the restaurant guide, who acted as the only judge of the awards for several years before Sam Woulidge became the editor and a panel was appointed to assist her.  I hope this clarify things for you.

From: Whale Cottage Portfolio <whalecot@iafrica.com>
Date: Wed, 7 Dec 2011 17:09:56 +0200
To: Irna van Zyl <irna.vanzyl@newmediapub.co.za>
Subject: Re: EAT OUT

Dear Irna

I appreciate your speedy and detailed reply. My information is that Abigail

*    designed the current menu at Makaron, which has been inherited by the new chef, who told me this directly

*   called a supplier just a few days before the Eat Out Awards on 20 November, requesting a specific type of product from the supplier for Makaron Restaurant.

In general, if you go to Makaron, you will not see what has been written about it to justify it winning the Style Award.  Most of the description relates to the M Lounge (their bar), which is across the passage, and is not part of Makaron restaurant, with a different name and a vastly different decor style.  The accolade is completely over-written, in my opinion, and one senses that it was written by Abigail, gushing to please a client. I have always held Abigail in high esteem, but I think that it is absolutely not acceptable that she consults to any restaurant in any capacity at all whilst she is editor of Eat Out and the sole judge of the Award winners.   She, Eat Out, New Media Publishing, as well as Majeka House have lost credibility through this. You have not answered as which other restaurants she consults to.

From: Irna van Zyl

To: Whale Cottage Portfolio

Cc: John Psillos ; Anelde Greeff ; Abigail Donnelly ; Bridget McCarney ; Claire Buchanan

Sent: Thursday, December 08, 2011 11:43 AM

Subject: Re: EAT OUT

Dear Chris

Herewith Abigail’s comments as requested by me. I think it’s quite clear from her replies that Makron (sic) did now implement her original menu and is changing it. She also does not consult to other restaurants. Thanks for your feedback, we always welcome it. Best regards

Irna

Hi

I am not sure where she gets her facts. I called Angus from Spier when the ex chef was still at Makaron requesting beef cheeks well before the Eat Out Awards. The new chef has taken it off the menu and replaced with oxtail and I mentioned yesterday is already putting her own menu together. If I showed favouritism then I would have judged them but the owners knew this when I consulted. They are also aware that I am unable to judge them next year until Tanya has her own menu. I have never written anything about the style award for Makaron only the comment I wrote was for the magazine which was about the chairs, crockery and the feeling of the restaurant. I am not consulting for any other restaurants. There is absolutely no favouritism I awarded a restaurant with the best style.

Thanks
Abigail

From: Whale Cottage Portfolio <whalecot@iafrica.com>
Date: Thu, 8 Dec 2011 14:06:21 +0200
To: vanzyl <irna.vanzyl@newmediapub.co.za>
Subject: Re: EAT OUT

Dear Irna

One question remains: What is the policy of New Media Publishing about its staff consulting – e.g. Abigail/Makaron, Etienne Hanekom/Makaron? Thank you

From: Irna van Zyl

To: Whale Cottage Portfolio

Sent: Thursday, December 08, 2011 7:31 PM

Subject: Re: EAT OUT

Dear Chris

The policy is quite simple: staff members have to ask permission to take on any freelance work and it then is in the discretion of their manager to grant the permission or not. Etienne Hanekom is on a freelance contract and the same rule does not apply to freelancers. But it is something that you have highlighted now and we will look at this carefully in future.

From: Whale Cottage Portfolio

To: Irna van Zyl

Sent: Thursday, December 08, 2011 7:34 PM

Subject: Re: EAT OUT

Thank you Irna.  Apologies for belabouring the point – did Abigail have permission to consult to Majeka House?

No reply was received to the last e-mail, sent a week ago!  Two weeks ago I was astounded to see in the Eat Out newsletter that Majeka House owner Karen de Quecker won the Eat Out Restaurant Review of the Week for her review of Pane e Vino, a lightweight four-line feedback about how much she enjoys eating there, a restaurant which belongs to her friends the Dalla Cias, and so the conflict of interest continues!

Mrs Donnelly has been under severe observation from chefs and restaurants this year, after she announced her decision to let go her judging committee, and to become the sole Eat Out judge.  I have heard how early or late she came to judge candidate Top 20 restaurants, how much and what she ate, and the glowing praises she heaped on each chef.  Many chefs were disappointed when the Eat Out Top 20 Restaurant shortlist was announced.  I am sure that the industry would join me in insisting that Mrs Donnelly cleans up her act, to become squeaky clean, and to not create any conflict of interest by consulting to restaurants!

POSTSCRIPT 18/7: It is heartening to see that the Eat Out Boschendal Restaurant Style Award judging will be done by VISI magazine’s editors, the magazines being sister publications at New Media Publishing.

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

I have had my moments with Giorgio Nava, but must salute his bravery in zealously opening restaurants in Cape Town, in addition to the two established restaurants 95 Keerom Street and Carne.   Last month he opened Down South on Long Street and the Mozzarella Bar on Kloof Street, and on Saturday Café Milano opened, higher up on Kloof Street.  The Mozzarella Bar is run by charming Italians, and all its dishes, except the bakery items and desserts, contain a soft creamy mozzarella, offering good value for money.

Co-owner and interior designer, and friend of Nava, Matteo Amatruda, explained that Nava is trying to educate Capetonians about true Italian cuisine, and each of his restaurants, with the exception of Down South, focuses on a specific Italian aspect.  Café Milano, for example, will focus on baking, and bakes the bread and makes the croissants for the Mozzarella Bar. Nava runs between all his properties, we were told, and we saw this, as he popped in as we were about to leave, having been there earlier in the morning already.

The manager Simone explained that special equipment was brought out from Italy (more…)