This past weekend the Highcliffe Food and Arts Festival was held, the emphasis being on the Food, with Beverages, and gins in particular, of the New Forest area. Highcliffe is a small town down the road from Chewton Glen, the hotel at which my son works in the New Forest in southern England, an area well-known for its heathland, forest trails, and native ponies. And it surprised me at the variety of craft beverages and craft foods that were on offer to buy, in full size or as a tasting portion. Continue reading →
I have been to The Silo Hotel four times since it opened a month ago, and the best eating experience of the four visits thus far was the Afternoon Tea, which I enjoyed with Madge Kruger, a friend visiting from Pretoria, last week. It reflected the creativity of the talented Pastry Chef Devin Jones, formerly at Ellerman House. Continue reading →
Chef James Martin is a top UK celebrity chef, and has been connected with Chewton Glen over many years, having worked at the UK’s leading hotel as a pastry chef twenty years ago, and is now set to open the James Martin Cooking School, Bakery, and Relaxed Dining on 1 December. Continue reading →
Last night I was invited to the first media launch in the country of FitChef, a new service of healthy meals and smoothies delivered into one’s home, as per one’s chosen mealplan. A range of options is offered, including Banting/LCHF, detox and weight loss, vegetarian, and wellness. More than 50000 meal portions and 35000 smoothies are sold around the country monthly.
Developed by founder Wayne Kaminsky, who told us that he was a superfit fitness fanatic sportsman, participating in Ironman and Cape Epic challenges, and needing to find a more healthy eating pattern to lose weight. He was using antibiotics, and could let them go when the benefits of the ‘clean eating’ came to the fore. He moved more and more to healthy foods which he enjoyed cooking, making a batch of portions over weekends, and finding them selling well when he posted photographs of them on Facebook. He started FitChef three years ago, and the Cape region was opened a year ago. Wayne has tremendous energy, and his food preparation skills were impressive, preparing our dinner simultaneously at 10 food stations, at each of which a different dish was prepared. He had prepared some of the dishes, and talked us through each food preparation station, each containing a different set of ingredients for a dish to be made. I noticed that a lot of ingredients came from Woolworths, but Wayne said that they prefer to use Pick ‘n Pay products. I questioned Wayne about his use of some Robertsons products, and he said that it was just for our dinner, and that they use fresh herbs in the factory food preparation. Continue reading →
* Sales of alcoholic beverages in the UK have decreased by 6% in the last week of the five-week World Cup period compared to the same period a year ago, as interest in the soccer event has decreased in the last week of the tournament, despite reaching close to £ 1 billion in sales. Sales in the first three weeks of the tournament showed an increase, however. Champagne and sparkling wine showed the strongest growth in the past month. Cider sales decreased by 11% compared to a year ago. England’s early World Cup exit and better weather in July 2013 have been the cause of the beverage sales decrease.
* A Wine Intelligence study finds that UK wine drinkers almost equally accept cork and screw cap closures, at 40% each; Australians prefer screw cap wines (55%) to cork (38%); and in the USA cork is strongly preferred (64%) compared to screw caps (21%). The choice of closure is dictated by image and practicality, more than ‘scientific’ reasons of helping the wine to breathe, stifling ageing, or preventing spoilage.
1. No Grain, no Gain: grain products will make a comeback, especially traditional types such as quinoa, chia, and spelt.
2. Home Grown Goodness: locally grown food sourced from environmentally-conscious suppliers from close by is the focus
3. Fresh, fresh, fresh: fresh foods in preference to pre-packaged supermarket foods are the focus. with more made-to-order purchases.
4. Exotic meats: new cuts and artisanal meats in general will be the focus
5. Unusual Combos: creative combinations of ingredients will add fun to food, e.g. dessert pizzas and ice cream sandwiches, which Col’Cacchio plans to introduce.
6. Ethnic Inspirations: food favorites from different cultures will be combined to make meals more interesting, e.g. chorizo scrambled eggs and coconut milk pancakes.
7. Oodles of noodles: the wheat trend will influence pasta too, now made from quinoa, Continue reading →
American restaurant consultants Baum + Whiteman have predicted twelve food and beverage trends for this year, reports Fine Dining Lovers:
1: Restaurants in Retail Stores: restaurants will be used as a means of attracting more shoppers into malls, department stores, hotels, airports, and museums.
2: Tasting-Only Menus: Tasting menus are increasingly replacing à la carte menus in fine dining restaurants, the diners having a more exact idea of what they are in for in terms of cost.
3: The Rise of Fine Dining Chicken (Posh Chicken): Chicken is predicted to become as desired as a good steak when eating out, ‘cooked Sous Vide and served alongside foie gras, black mission figs or quail eggs’.
4: Out with Food Courts, In with Food Halls: Food Halls serving fine fresh foods in malls, even if more expensive, will replace the fare of fast food chains dominating shopping malls currently.
5: The Rise of Fish: Oily fishes such as anchovies, sardines, and mackerel are increasing Continue reading →
* SAA says it will not be making a profit before it takes delivery of more eco-friendly aircraft in three to four years time.
* A new app has been launched to guide tourists around the Cape Peninsula, and Cape Point specifically. Developed by Tourism Radio, the Cape Point Route app contains information about 80 tourism facilities on the route, including restaurants, accommodation, and cultural and historic attractions. (received via e-mail from Cape Point Route)
* World leading chefs Rene Redzepi, David Chang and Alex Atala will appear on the front cover of Time next week, in a story with the headline: ‘Gods of Food: Meet the People who Influence what (and how) you eat’. Chefs Dan Barber and Albert Adria also feature in the article, as well as ‘farmers, activists, bureaucrats and businessmen’.
* The Cape Times reports that the City of Cape Town Liquor By Law allowance to offer ‘champagne’ breakfasts in hotels and restaurants before 11h00 is ‘culturally discriminatory’, in not allowing ‘traditional’ drinks to be Continue reading →
The restaurant at 65 Main Road used to be one of Green Point’s most popular when it was called Miss K, but nose-dived when it was taken over by an Italian owner and he renamed it after his daughter Giulia a year ago. He lasted a few months before returning to his homeland, as his wife did not like Cape Town. This left the space for Whitney Wentzel to take it over and to open 65 on Main within two weeks, at the beginning of August. It was a surprise discovery, following a most mediocre Camps Bay experience earlier that day!
I underestimated Whitney on first appearance, and thought her to be the manager, as a waiter came out to greet me even though she was outside as well. I was left in the care of a second waiter Sheldon, who informed me that Whitney is in fact the owner. Whitney studied at the Hotel School in Granger Bay, having graduated just before the World Cup, and worked as F&B Manager at The Taj, The Cullinan, Zimbali, and the Arabella Kleinmond hotels since then. She had a dream to run her own restaurant, and told me that she dutifully saved as much as she could, having been taught by her portfolio asset manager mother. Although only 25 years old, I sensed that Whitney pays attention to detail, and knows exactly what she is doing, and that her establishment Continue reading →
Today is World Diabetes Day, celebrating the birthdate of Frederick Banting, who in 1922 discovered insulin with Charles Best. Until a year ago diabetes would have meant nothing to me, and I knew very little about this ‘disease’ which 346 million persons in the world have, it is estimated, and is known as the ‘silent killer’, as its symptoms are so subtle, and one does not feel ill.
I have drunk a lot of water out of choice for years, but did not realise that a lot of this was out of thirst, and this is one of the first signs of diabetes. It was itchy feet (and sometimes fingers) on alternate days that took me to my doctor, and he had me tested for thyroid and threw in a blood sugar test as well. The result was a surprise – no thyroid problem, but a blood sugar reading of 12,2 was unacceptably high, in that it should ideally be below 6. While I can be grateful that it is the far less threatening Type 2 Diabetes, which is treatable through eating and lifestyle changes and medication, without insulin injections, it was the horror stories that I was told that were a good incentive to take this ‘disease’ seriously and to get the blood sugar level under control.
The doctor prescribed Glucophage, the best known diabetes medication. I was also referred to Sea Point dietitian Heidi Lobel, and with Heidi’s help have lost 25 kg in the past year, and reduced the blood sugar level to 7 – 8, without suffering in any way!
Diabetes is largely rectified via weight loss, and therefore Heidi put me on a standard weight loss eating programme, and a change in the way of eating, eating six smaller meals per day instead of three bigger meals, and changing my haphazard irregular eating. Similar to Weight Watchers and Weighless style programmes, one is allowed an allocation (about a palmful) of food types per day: 6 carbohydrates, 3 fruits, 4 proteins, 2 milks, and 3 fats. It is not recommended that any of these groups are excluded. I cut out butter, margarine, white/light bread, yellow cheese, cakes, and chocolate bars immediately, and do not miss them at all. I changed my main courses choices from steak to kingklip. I have tried very hard to avoid desserts at restaurants, not always with success. Luckily wine in moderation is allowed, and dark chocolate is not ideal but healthier than milk chocolate. I enjoyed toasted rye and Low GI bread, and could not believe how good anything on this toast tastes, without a spread underneath. I received a blood sugar testing kit from my pharmacy in Bantry Bay, and test the blood sugar level every few weeks. I went to Heidi to be weighed every two weeks, and to discuss any problems with her, and this frequency has been relaxed to once a month. I enjoy eating out, but do so less often, and will ‘make up for it’ the days after. Doing exercise is another way to deal with diabetes, and is a challenge to do more often – the Green Point Urban Park is a wonderful space in which to walk. I have learnt to read pack labels, and Woolworths packs are excellent in providing a detailed breakdown of the food content. The fat and carbohydrate levels are the most valuable pieces of information on these, with maximum acceptable levels set.
In talking about diabetes, I was surprised to hear that Dear Me Foodworld Chef Vanessa Marx is diabetic, and this motivated her to design her daily menu with diabetics in mind, offering sugar-free options to some dishes, in addition to gluten-free and lactose-free dishes for those with allergies. This is the only restaurant that caters for diabetics. One would like to see more diabetes-friendly restaurants, reducing the salt and fat content of their foods, serving smaller portions, and offering rye bread. It is regular restaurant-goers that are more likely to be or become diabetic, and restaurants should be responsible in understanding this ‘disease’, and catering for it. Surprising too was to hear that Eat Out and TASTE editor Abigail Donnelly is diabetic too, a hard challenge for her, having to eat out so often in selecting the Top 10 Restaurants.
Being diagnosed with diabetes is a blessing in disguise, and has been an early warning to lead a more healthy lifestyle, and an eating pattern which is healthier, less fattening but still very enjoyable.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage