Tag Archives: Masterchef

Netflix ‘The Final Table’: Cape Town Chef Ash Heeger competes in world chef cooking competition!

An exciting and what is described as the most challenging chef competition to date, will be aired on Netflix on 20 November, and will project Cape Town Chef Ash Heeger, of recently renamed and relaunched Riverine Rabbit, onto the world cooking stage!  Continue reading →

Shimmy Beach Club keeps chill outside, warms up with chili inside!

On a cold winter evening a number of invited guests was kept hot and spicy at Shimmy Beach Club, with a chili-themed evening of eating foods containing chili, drinking Bloemendal wines and Sir Thomas beers, tasting tequila, and having an Eat Out ‘MeetOut’, a novel event concept, the first of four ‘MeetOut’ events planned for the next few months.  Continue reading →

Restaurant Review: La Sosta offers ‘Italian cuisine with a twist’, service lags!

imageLast Saturday evening my friend Giulio Loggerian and I dined at La Sosta restaurant in Swellendam, which won Eat Out Best Italian restaurant in 2014. It was an unusual experience in a number of respects, especially in that the owners themselves describe La Sosta as an ‘Italian restaurant with a twist’! Continue reading →

‘Burnt’ chef movie a must-see for restaurant fans, full of stars!

imageI enjoyed seeing ‘Burnt’, a movie about an American chef chasing the third Michelin star for his London restaurant, but I was as anxious as his staff about winning the additional star! It provides an excellent perspective on what happens in top restaurant kitchens and dining rooms, and how Continue reading →

Chef Reuben Riffel: 2014 was a very busy year! More MasterChef to come!

Reuben Riffel Whale CottageYesterday I met Chef Reuben Riffel for a Day of Reconciliation coffee at Crisp in Franschhoek, around the corner from his Reuben’s restaurant, a follow-up from our reconnection at the Mercedes-Benz Eat Out Restaurant Awards.

As he sat down, Chef Reuben apologised for not feeling 100%, starting a cold, and expressing that he is exhausted after a very busy year, but seems to have enjoyed every minute of it. Ironically he and his wife Maryke had planned 2014 last year, wanting it to be a less busy year than 2013, but looking back, he said it was even busier. In the past year he has done the following:

*   filmed MasterChef SA Celebrity Edition, a series we are yet to see, in January 2015, in which he cut his MasterChef judging teeth, apologising that he was still new at being a TV cooking show judge.  Food24 reports that the 10 celebrities, cooking for a prize to be donated to  charity, are Singer Patricia Lewis, Comedian Chris Forrest, Comedian TolAss­Mo, Continue reading →

2014 Mercedes-Benz Eat Out Top 10 Restaurants: who will make it tonight?

Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards logo 2It’s the highlight of the restaurant industry tonight, and 1000 restaurant staff, food lovers, suppliers, and media will be at Thunder City to salute and celebrate the Mercedes-Benz Eat Out Top 10 Restaurants.

It must be one of the most oddball years for the Mercedes-Benz Eat Out Restaurant Awards 2014, the goalposts changing in August and September, as more and more Top 20 calibre chefs left their restaurants of employ, to join other restaurants, or to open their own establishments. Some Eat Out judges had already been sent to evaluate potential Top 20 candidate restaurant before the chef departures were announced, wasting time and money for New Media Publishing and its judges Abigail Donnelly (Editor of Eat Out), Andy Fenner (Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants, supplier to a number of Top 20 restaurants, a Continue reading →

Are there enough top chefs left to make up a credible 2014 Eat Out Top 20 Restaurant list?

Chenin Blanc Top 10 Huguenot Cheese Brulee Whale CottageIn the past week three further Top 20 Restaurant candidate chefs have announced their resignation, making the restaurants at which they work ineligible to be nominated for the 2014 Eat Out Top 20 Restaurant shortlist.  This year is the most volatile we have ever seen as far as top restaurant chef departures go, opening up the opportunity for a fresh 2014 Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards list.

The latest chef resignations are the following:

*   Chef Oliver Cattermole left Mondiall Kitchen & Bar two weeks ago, today joining the Leeu Collection as its Executive Chef for its five star Dassenberg Estate hotel and Leeu Restraurants Oliver CattermoleRusthof Country House in Franschhoek, both opening next year.  Chef Oliver has worked locally at Dash at the Queen Victoria Hotel, the Le Franschhoek hotel, and Mondiall, as well as internationally at Ivy Restaurant, La Gavroche, Novelli, and at Cannizaro House hotel.

*   Chef Brad Ball, who helped open Bistro Sixteen82 at Steenberg, leaves in two weeks to start up what sounds like a collective of three restaurants at Pedlars on the Bend in Constantia

*   Chef Christiaan Campbell leaves Delaire Graff Estate, after opening up the main restaurant more than Continue reading →

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 24 July

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   SA Tourism CEO Thulani Nzima seems to have making a rare visit to Cape Town, the jewel in the tourism crown, where he has come to attend the Mercedes-Benz  Cape Town Fashion Week at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.  He is upbeat about tourism to our country, saying it is ‘the new mining!  It is good to hear him compliment our city, which receives the bulk of international tourists to our country: ‘It is endowed with natural beauty. No matter how other provinces want to compete, they don’t have Table Mountain, Robben Island, the wine routes’.  Good media coverage for Cape Town, as well as its conference facilities benefit Cape Town.  When asked about the new Immigration Regulations he said that he would wait for the Ministers of Tourism and Home Affairs to discuss the impact of the Regulations on tourism.

*   Lovers of the MasterChef cooking series can now join a MasterChef Cruise around the Caribbean from 8 – 15 November, passengers being put through their paces in a  number of challenges including Pressure Tests and Mystery Boxes.   MasterChef judge Graham Elliot, and past winners of the series will be taking the passengers through the cooking programme, which includes blind taste tests, making macaroons, sushi, pasta, cocktails, all leading to a winner chosen as the MasterChef Cruise Champion.

*  The Bacardi Legacy Global Cocktail Competition 2015 has kicked off, seeking the best cocktail in the country.  The competition Continue reading →

‘Restaurant Babylon’: are SA restaurants snorting, spitting, and swearing too?!

Restaurant Babylon 2The ‘Babylon’ book series by Imogen Edwards-Jones, written on the basis of interviews with staff from the relevant industries, has become highly popular for its depth of behind the scenes insights told in a 24 hour operating day.   Her latest book is ‘Restaurant Babylon’, which was published last year, sharing the ‘saucy secrets of the world’s finest kitchens’.

The fictional Le Restaurant,  brasserie Le Table, and Le Bar are located within close proximity of each other in London, Le Restaurant being Michelin-starred.  The narrator is the restaurant owner.  For her book the writer interviewed sommeliers, chefs, maître d’s, owners, and ‘insiders’ working in the restaurant industry in the UK.

As Valentine’s Day is around the corner, it is apt to start with this event, being one of the most lucrative for the restaurant industry, with mark-ups and heavy drinking generating good profits for restaurants.  Christmas Day lunches and New Year’s Eve events are equally profitable.

Some of the key insights into restaurants are the following:

*   restaurant staff survive on extremely little sleep, as they enjoy a drink or more after they finish service, being hungover the next day.  Alcoholism is rife.

*   chefs burn out, due to the long hours, the stress, and lack of light in closed kitchens.  This leads to absenteeism, temper tantrums, and inconsistent cooking.

*   drug-taking is rife, to cope with the pressure and to stay awake, to cope with the hangover, or to be ‘sharp’ for service!  ‘Cocaine is everywhere‘ said the author in an interview.

*   claiming ‘organic’ ingredients ‘just makes the place look amateur‘.   The origin of one’s fish, meat, and vegetables is far more important to patrons.

*   some chefs over-order, and sell on their surplus, pocketing the income.

*   theft by staff is common, especially in the bar, selling bottles out of the back door and pocketing the income,  or pocketing cash income.

*   mark-ups are better on pizzas than they are on 7-course tasting menus!   Side dishes of chips, Continue reading →