Entries tagged with “French Riviera”.


A visit to Europe became more exciting when I decided to add a visit to France, dining at one Michelin star JAN restaurant in Nice, and continuing my World’s 50 Best Restaurants journey, eating at Mirazur in Menton (6th best), and at L’Arpège (19th best) and Septime (50th best) in Paris. Mirazur is the most highly ranked French restaurant, and has two Michelin stars. Mirazur means ‘look at the blue sea’. Last year I ate at the World’s 50 Best Restaurants in New York, and in London.  (more…)

Today I depart on a two-week eating tour of France, continuing my World’s 50 Best Restaurant journey I began in New York and London in July last year. There is no more exciting start to my culinary trip than dinner at JAN restaurant in Nice on Wednesday, given that it has just been awarded the 2017 Michelin one-star rating. In February 2016 owner Jan-Hendrik van Der Westhuizen did our country proud, in becoming the first South African chef to own a Michelin-star restaurant.  (more…)

imageLast Friday my life changed, when I had the pleasure of meeting the nicest possible Chef Jan-Hendrik van der Westhuizen in the world, and eating at his Nice-based Jan Restaurant, which opened almost two years ago. To my knowledge it is the imageonly South African chef-owned restaurant listed in a Michelin Guide!

I first heard about Chef Jan from the Facebook page of Errieda du Toit, and was granted a Friend request!  I loved his photographs, and the Michelin Guide listing achievement for one of our locals made me determined to visit (more…)

There is regular talk of a Grand Prix coming to Cape Town.  The latest bid, one of three, proposes a Monaco-style street Grand Prix in September 2013, to be held in Sea Point, Green Point and Mouille Point, reports the Cape Argus.

The Cape Town Grand Prix Bid Company (Pty) Limited was invited by Formula One’s Ernie Ecclestone to present a proposal before the beginning of the new Formula One season in March.   A 5,3 km route is proposed, which will have Table Mountain, Lion’s Head and the Atlantic Ocean as a backdrop, with magnificent benefits for tourism, given the TV coverage that the event would attract.  The route includes the Cape Town Stadium, which is proposed as the start and end to the Grand Prix route.

The Bid Company’s Chief Communication Officer, Esther Henderson, said of the bid: “Green Point is ideal for a street circuit like the one in Monaco because we have so many beautiful sights in the area.  So while Monaco is the “French Riviera” we can have the “African Riviera” in Cape Town”.    

Western Cape Minister of Tourism Alan Winde said he had not yet been approached by the Bid Company to endorse the proposed Grand Prix, but said :”…..generally, I think this is something we could put within the strategy of attracting major events.  We would support that as a city and a province, absolutely.  A Grand Prix would profile the city very well”.   If the streets in the area were to be used (at a cost of R100 million to adjust them according to the international rules), instead of building a costly new track (at R4 billion), it would inconvenience locals, as the Argus Cycle Tour does, but the race would be good for the city, Winde added.   A Grand Prix race usually spans a period of Thursday – Sunday, with  practices and qualifying phases, and the actual race on the Sunday.

Last year Ecclestone told the BBC: “(Africa) is another continent where we should be.  Hopefully, now people will think what the World Cup has done for Africa would be good for Formula One.  It would be nice to think we had then more or less covered the world”

The last time South Africa hosted a Grand Prix event was in 1993 at Kyalami in Johannesburg.

POSTSCRIPT 1/2: The People’s Post reports today that the Grand Prix bid is “pie-in-the-sky”, as the ratepayers’ associations of Mouille Point and Sea Point have ‘slated’ the proposal, but have stated that they cannot comment until they have seen more concrete plans.  However, the City of Cape Town’s Executive Director for Economic Social Development and Tourism, Mansoor Mohamed, disagrees, says the report, and he visited China in November to study their Grand Prix circuits.   He has presented the proposals from the Cape Town Grand Prix Bid Company and the South African Grand Prix Corporation to the mayoral committee, and has been given the go-ahead to commence with an economic impact assessment and event viability study.   The two companies will present their bids to F1’s Bernie Eccelstone later this year.  The bid by the South African Grand Prix Corporation proposes a newly built race track on the West Coast. 

Last week it was reported that Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold had spoken out about the Grand Prix bid, fearing for the environmental impact of the event.  One wonders what pipe Mrs Helmbold was smoking in making such a comment, given that her organisation assisted the Cape Town Grand Prix Bid Company with its choice of month to host the event, and that the event would be a valuable tourism catalyst in such a quiet month (September).

POSTSCRIPT 7/7: The Formula One head Bernie Ecclestone has been quoted as saying that Cape Town could host a Grand Prix within two years, the Cape Argus reported yesterday.  Of the three Cape Town Formula One bids, the Monaco-style one going through Green Point appears to be the favoured one.  The Formula One was last held in South Africa almost twenty years ago.

POSTSCRIPT 9/7:  Cape Town Stadium may be incorporated in the Cape Town Formula One course if Grand Prix SA’s bid is accepted, reports the Cape Argus.   Cars would be driving in and out of the Stadium via the street-level gates, and it would allow up to 60000 motor racing fans to sit in the stadium, to enjoy the action.  The grass would have to be lifted, and the area would have to be tarred, the pitch returned after the three-day event.   The cost of adapting Cape Town’s current roads for the race is estimated at R670 million, compared to R 4 billion to build a brand new track.  Two further bids have been prepared for the race – one near the airport, and another on the West Coast.  Grand Prix SA is quoted as saying: “I’ve said that Cape Town is a very sexy location, it’s a gateway location… for broadcast.  No matter where you position a camera, you will capture the city’s landmarks, marketing Cape Town”.  City of Cape Town Mayoral Committee member for Tourism, Grant Pascoe, said that the Grand Prix supports the city’s bid to ‘establish Cape Town as the events capital‘ of South Africa. He qualified his support, by saying that the City and the province had not yet received an official proposal to host the event.  The financial benefit for the city is vast, and the City’s Mayoral Committee member for Finance, Ian Neilson, has estimated the value at R770 million in tourism value, based on Singapore Grand Prix figures.

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