Entries tagged with “Michelin stars”.


Yesterday I had the goosebump experience of being introduced to the new-in-the-making Gåte at Quoin Rock restaurant at the Quoin Rock winery outside Stellenbosch, which is destined to become a superlative Fine Dining dinner experience, probably the best this country has ever seen!  (more…)

World's 50 Best Restaurants logoChef Luke Dale-Roberts’ The Test Kitchen was named the 28th best restaurant in the world and Best in Africa, at the 14th The World’s 50 Best Restaurants ceremony in London last night, a 20 place climb from his 48th position last year, and 61st position in 2013.  El Celler de Can Roca was World's 50 Best Test Kitchenranked as the Best Restaurant in the World, the second time it has received this honour.  Regular winner Noma dropped to third place. Spain received the most 50 Best Restaurant Awards (7), followed by the USA (6), and France (5).  Both The Test Kitchen and World’s 50 Best Restaurants trended on Twitter last night.

El Celler de Can Roca is based in Giron in Spain, and is run by the three Roca brothers Josep, Joan,and Jordi, who opened their restaurant in 1986. They pioneered sous-vide cooking, and are described as creating ‘magic without undue theatrics’. Brother Joan is the head chef, Jordi is the Pastry Chef, and Josep is the Sommelier and Front of House.   In 2013 they were also named the best restaurant in the world. (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   South Africa’s 2014 Eat Out Chef of the Year, Chantel Dartnall of Restaurant Mosaic at The Orient, is participating in the Audi Chef’s Cup SüdTirol in Italy, commencing next Monday, as part of her prize, with a total of 70 chefs from Italy and other countries, many whose restaurants have Michelin stars.  Chantel’s dish for the competition is ‘Treasures on the Beach’, with scampi tails and rooibos in a tomato risotto. (received via newsletter from the Restaurant Mosaic).

*   It is speculated that SAA may drop its Johannesburg – Beijing route, its worst performing route with losses of more than R300 million per year, especially given the introduction of AirChina flights to Johannesburg from March onwards.

*   Chef David Higgs of five hundred at The Saxon has been selected as one of three chefs to judge the S.Pellegrino (more…)

Feast ep 2 Title Whale CottageAt the conclusion of Season 3 of MasterChef SA, M-Net filmed a four-part series ‘Feast’, focused on Christmas.  Each MasterChef SA judge has his own program, and visiting chef Marco Pierre White had one too, which was screened on Thursday evening.

The MasterChef SA judge episodes of ‘Feast’, taking the first one which focused on Chef Pete Goffe-Wood a week ago, gave an overview of the chef, his favourite outlets from which to source supplies, and a Christmas feast prepared for friends and family.  The episode for last night was filmed in July, but the studio at which the episode was filmed was decorated for Christmas.  Coincidentally it rained on the day of filming as it did in Cape Town on Christmas Day!

As Chef Marco did not have any friends or family in Cape Town, he was ‘loaned’ some, being MasterChef SA finalists: Deena (more…)

MasterChef 17 RoxiAs we predicted in our blogpost yesterday, Roxi Wardman was crowned MasterChef SA Season 3 winner last night, and has waved her career at Transnet as an assistant train driver goodbye.  While her ‘opponent’ Sipho Mdlankomo is widely liked, there should be no debate about the fairness of the result, as the scoring was shared at every step of the three-stage challenge which the Top 2 had to go through last night.

It was a shock to see the transformation in Roxi’s appearance, from always well-MasterChef 17 Roxi Red pink hairpresented in terms of make-up and bling bling jewellery while she was in the MasterChef SA kitchen, to her red/pink hair, heavy make-up, and proudly-visible tattoos which she did not have as a Finalist.  We had only seen one piercing above her lip in the past.  It seemed as if Roxi could not believe that she had won the competition.

The Top 2 finalists met up in the MasterChef SA kitchen for one last time, and were delighted to see the other 10 Finalists there too, coming in support of the Top 2.  An even bigger surprise was the surprise arrival of Roxi’s parents and her boyfriend Byron, as well as Sipho’s ‘boss‘, as she called him, his wife, and their (more…)

Chefs who Share Lanzerac 7 chefs 2 Whale CottageIt was a unique experience to meet seven chefs who have worked or are currently working at Michelin star restaurants (10 Michelin stars awarded in total) in Austria and Germany for breakfast at the Lanzerac on Tuesday.  While it was an early morning start, it was energizing being in the company of the ever-bubbly Barbara Lenhard and Florian Gast of Opulent Living, who had extended the invitation to a number of writers.

We were seated at one long table intermingled with the chefs, and a half way swopping of seats was clever too, so that we could get to chat to at least three of the seven chefs for a longer period of time.  Opulent Living, organisers of the charity Gala Dinner ‘Chefs who Share‘ in the City Hall this evening,  Chefs who Share logowelcomed the seven chefs, who had all flown in from Europe to Cape Town on Monday.

Tonight seven teams of two local chefs each, a local sommelier, and one of the German-speaking chefs, will prepare a four course dinner for 36 guests who have paid R3000 each to attend, a total of 250 guests not only eating delectable food, but also drinking excellent local wines, and interacting with the three chefs looking after their tables.  Last year Opulent Living raised R1,2 million through the charity Gala Dinner, and decided to raise the bar this year by flying in the seven German-speaking (more…)

Good Food & Wine ShowCarlo Cracca. Antonio Carluccio. Gennaro Contaldo. Katy Ashworth. Emma Dean. Vichit Mukura. These are the ‘top international chefs’ Cape Town food lovers are being exposed to at the Good Food & Wine Show at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, augmented with a handful of light-weight (with the exception of Chef David Higgs) mainly TV cooking program local cooks!   As Cape Town is the centre of gourmet gastronomy, surely exhibition organisers Fiera Milano could have done better?

Christine Cashmore has organised the Good Food & Wine Show for years, and sold her company to Fiera Milano last year.  She is certainly still involved, as I saw her at the show yesterday.  She is tough to deal with, changing PR companies every year!  Every year the criticism about the Show has grown, the big food producers no longer bothering to participate, and sample their products.   The emphasis this year was clearly TV cooking shows, and the invited chefs (mainly) had a link to a TV program, in cooking at the Celebrity Chefs Theatre (how did Kamini Pather slip in here, as controversial winner of MasterChef Season 2?), the kykNET Kook Teater, the Spar Food Theatre, and the Selati Sweet Treats Theatre. (more…)

Food Hospitality World logo Whale Cottage PortfolioIt was by chance that I saw a programme for the ‘Food Hospitality World Conference’ when I registered for the Good Food & Wine Show.  With the e-mail from Wired PR came the Conference programme, with a fascinating list of talks by local and international food and wine speakers, bringing the world to Cape Town, and giving our industry a taste of what lies ahead for the Good Food & Wine Show running at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from 29 May – 1 June. What was unbelievable was the poor attendance in the exhibition hall in general and in the ‘Conference’ venue too, tiny in taking about 50 attendees, many of them hospitality students.

Yesterday’s list of talks was food and wine focused, and due to guest house commitments I arrived right at the end of Miguel Chan’s talk on Chenin Blanc, which ‘has gained a surge in popularity recently’, the programme notesFood Hospitality World Miguel Chan Whale Cottage Portfolio revealed. Chan is a wine buyer and sommelier at the Tsogo Sun group of hotels. He has promised notes about his talk, which I will add to this blogpost when received.

Very surprising was the talk by Michelin 2 star Chef Carlo Cracco from Italy, where he owns Ristorante Cracco in Milan.  He is unable to speak a word of English, so fired away in Italian, without it being explained to us that his colleague (we think) would translate batches of sentences for us.  On the TV screens photographs of his book, his (more…)

Today Prince Albert and Princess Charlene will wed religiously, after they wed in a civil ceremony in the Throne Room of the palace in Monaco yesterday afternoon.  Their marriage is an exciting marriage for South Africa too, with Princess Charlene proudly bringing her South African pride into interviews and profiles published about the dream royal couple. The streets of Monaco are lined with South African flags, and those from the Princess’ new home country.

Gracing the pages of Vogue for the first time, and Bunte in Germany regularly, as well as the subject of regular TV programmes on European TV stations, including ZDF, Germany’s largest TV channel, as well as The Guardian, New York Times, and Associated Press, the couple and their dream wedding are being widely profiled around the world, the first royal marriage in 55 years in the principality.  The wedding media hype and interest increased dramatically earlier this week, when a French on-line agency reported that Charlene Wittstock had almost become a ‘run-away bride’. 

VIP attendees at the religious wedding ceremony today include the German Chancellor Christian Wulff, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni, President Pal Schmitt of Hungary, President George Abela of Malta, King Carl Gustav of Sweden, King Albert of Belgium, Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, Crown Prince Frederik from Denmark, Prince Edward, Prince Faisal bin al Hussein of Jordan, models Naomi Campbell and Karolina Kurkova, Sir Roger Moore, President Michel Sleimane of Lebanon, President Mary McAleese of Ireland, Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk representing the South African government, Jeff Radebe, Johann Rupert, Leruo Molotlegi of the Kingdom of Bafokeng, King Letsie of Lesotho, Karl Lagerfeld, Giorgio Armani, Roberto Cavalli, Yves Piaget, Gerard Butler, Nadia Comenici, Bernard Arnault, Renée Fleming, Ryk Neethling, Roland Schoeman, Francois Pienaar, Elana Meyer, Terence Bray, as well as Sarah Poewe, ex-Cape Town fellow Olympic swimmer with Princess Charlene, and now resident in Germany and swimming for the German team. 

The royal couple impressed with its care for the environment, their bridal hybrid Lexus car having been especially made by Toyota, driven only under electric motor power, reported the Sunday Times.  More than twenty years ago Princess Charlene expressed her care for the environment, in a school composition she wrote about the ozone layer.  She loves Blushing Brides so much that 500 stems have been flown in from Citrusdal for her wedding flower arrangements.

South  Africa’s cuisine is also in the spotlight, with Chef Dean Uren of Zimbali Lodge and his colleague Peter Mtshali being part of the team which catered for 6000 guests attending the civil ceremony yesterday, and will head the preparation of a special South African meal for 200 guests on Monday, before the royal couple head for Durban, to attend the 123rd session of the International Olympic Committee, the first time that it will be held in Africa.  Chef Dean’s menu is still a secret, but will include pastries stuffed with ostrich bobotie, and kudu prepared with typical boerewors spices, including kameelhout spice, coriander, pepper and cloves, reported the Sunday Times.   The main wedding meal, served in the Opera for 850 guests today, will be prepared by top chef Alain Ducasse and a team of 350.   He owns 20 restaurants, opening two more this year, in Russia and in Doha.  He has 19 Michelin stars in total across his collection of restaurants, and three of them have three stars.  Chef Alain has not revealed what’s on the menu yet, but he will represent the smell, colour and taste of the Mediterranean with fresh line-caught fish, vegetables and fruit for dessert, all ingredients coming from within 10 km of the principality.  Perrier-Jouët champagne will be served, alongside the Haskell Vineyards’ Dombeya Chardonnay and Shiraz, the owner Preston Haskell being a long-standing friend of Prince Albert, and the royal couple have partied at Haskell’s Fresnaye home in the past.   The wedding cake will link to South Africa’s national flower, the protea, reports Bunte.

Although Princess Charlene is now married to the 9th richest person in the world, her tastes are simple, and she longs for Mrs Balls chutney and rooibos tea.  South African music talent was also represented in the wedding celebrations, with Idols co-winner Jason Hartman, who was chosen by Princess Charlene to be the supporting act to an open air concert by The Eagles on Thursday evening. Local boy band Romanz will perform ‘With all my Heart’ tonight, and do a duet with Italian pop star Umberto Tozzi.   Jean-Michel Jarre put on an electronic music show last night, to which all Monaco residents were invited.

Princess Charlene is turning into a style icon, and the most recent Bunte had a feature of beautiful dresses photographed by Karl Lagerfeld.   Her wedding dress has been designed by Giorgio Armani, her favourite designer, an honour shared with designer Albert Kriemler of Akris.  Increasingly Princess Charlene is wearing bold Africa-inspired jewellery with her outfits, reinforcing her heritage.  She looked beautiful in the blue pants suit she wore for the civil ceremony, which she had designed herself and had made by Chanel, reports Associated Press.

Next week the Royal couple leave for their honeymoon in Durban, where they will be hosting a reception at The Oyster Box in Umhlanga next Thursday 7 July, for 300 local friends, family and VIP’s.

We congratulate Prince Albert and Princess Charlene on their marriage, and wish them lots of happiness and a large family.

Ex-Miss South Africa and Top Billing presenter Jo-Anne Strauss will be covering the wedding on SABC3 today, from 14h00 – 20h30.

POSTSCRIPT 2/7: The Weekend Argus has reported that Princess Charlene will be in Cape Town next Friday 8 July, attending a function of the Giving Organisation Trust with Archbishop Desmond Tutu in Noordhoek, and visiting the Cotlands HIV/AIDS hospice in Somerset West, and the Fynbos Project at Lourensford.

POSTSCRIPT 2/7: Princess Charlene looked very serious, if not sad, at her religious wedding ceremonyin the palace this afternoon, crying when she left her bridal bouquet at the Sainte Devoté church, as the late Princess Grace did too.  Talk about a third child of Prince Albert is not going away. 

POSTSCRIPT 2/7:  Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk attended the wedding on behalf of President Zuma and the South African government, reports the Weekend Argus:“And as tourism minister he’s really happy there is such a big South African influence in the wedding.  The name of South Africa will be all over the world again as it was a year ago at the World Cup. That will be very good for tourism and for the country”, said the Minister’s spokesman Riaan Aucamp. 

POSTSCRIPT 5/7:  Interestingly, the wine selection at the wedding appears to have caused a swirl in a wine glass!  It would appear that Dombeya wines were not the only South African ones to have been featured at the Royal wedding on Saturday.  Neil Pendock of The Times wrote that Vins D’Orrance claimed that their Chardonnay 2009 Cuvee Andis was the ‘only South African wine chosen for the wedding’, incorrect given the Dombeya wines selection from the Haskell wine estate, which belongs to Prince Albert’s friend Preston Haskell, and confirmed by a Royal Palace-approved media release earlier this year.  A total of 1000 bottles of Dombeya Chardonnay 2010, Boulder Red Shiraz, and Samara 2005 went to Monaco,  and 700 bottles of the Chardonnay and Samara have been sent to the Oyster Box for the cocktail function on Thursday.  Hempies du Toit of Annandale is also reported in Die Volksblad to have made a wine for the wedding, and he called his six year old Merlot Charlbert, with French labels, and supplied 150 Magnums as well as a ‘bunch of 750ml bottles’ as souvenirs of the wedding.  Du Toit is a friend of the Wittstock family, and the year of the Merlot bottling co-incides with the year in which Prince Albert and Princess Charlène started dating. 

POSTSCRIPT 9/7:  The Financial Times has an interesting article on the preparation of the wedding meal by Chef Alain Ducassse and his team, with beautiful photographs.  

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