A number of records were broken last night when 94 wines and one brandy were awarded 5 star status at the launch of the Platter’s by Diners Club South African Wine Guide 2017 at the Table Bay Hotel, a new venue, the event having been held at the Mount Nelson for years. The colour of the 2017 Platter’s Guide is Harvest Green. Continue reading →
The participation by restaurants in the Western Cape in the Diners Club Winelist Awards 2015 is a shock, declining from 80 restaurants in 2014 (already a decrease from 96 in 2013) to 65 restaurants this year! Diners Club will have to find a solution to the declining interest in its Winelist Awards.
The Diners Club Winelist Awards acknowledge restaurants which take pride and interest in their winelists, and how the wines match the food Continue reading →
* The first World Congress of Nephrology finishes at the Cape Town International Convention Centre today, the first time that the Congress is held in Africa. A total of 3000 kidney specialists have attended the Congress since Friday, reports The New Age. Later this year the World Congress of the International Federation of Aesthetic Dentistry and the 46th Union World Conference on Lung Health will be held in Cape Town.
* Cape Town is the focus in an UK article entitled ‘Paradise found in South African city‘, suggestions given for what to do and see in a week in ‘one of the most vibrant cities in the world‘, including Table Mountain; V&A Waterfront; Cape Quarter; the Codfather in Camps Bay; Africa Café and Mama Africa; afternoon tea at the Mount Nelson, Cape Grace, and Table Bay hotels; Steenberg in the ‘Constancia Valley‘ (sic); the Old Biscuit Mill; Kirstenbosch; Shimmy Beach Club; and a helicopter trip over the city.
* Described as a ‘hunting haven‘ may not be good for our country’s image! The big-game hunting industry Continue reading →
Last year I had the good fortune to attend ‘Chefs who Share’, organised by Barbara Lenhard and Florian Gast of Opulent Living and assisted by Belmond Mount Nelson Chef Rudi Liebenberg, a fantastic dinner held in the City Hall, which raised money for the MAD (Make a Difference) Charity and Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. All proceeds went to the charities, as the chefs, sommeliers, and suppliers all donated their time and produce without charge. This year ‘Chefs who Share’ goes one step bigger, with an international chef being added to each team of two local chefs.
The food served is outstanding, each set of tables being looked after by two top local chefs and the international chef, as well as a local sommelier. Yesterday I was honoured with being the first to taste the dessert which Chef Darren Badenhorst from Grande Provence will serve at the decadent dinner on 11 September. Chef Darren is partnering with Chef Franck Dangereux of The Food Barn (with Chef Anton Schmaus from Germany), and they spent a long four hours on Friday to plan the menu for their section of tables. While Chef Darren has not revealed what the other dishes will be on the menu, Chef Darren made me his ‘Galaxy of Textures’, which meets the theme of chocolate for all desserts to be made for the dinner, coming in especially from his Continue reading →
The question on the lips of many South African viewers of ‘Hayden Quinn: South Africa’ is: why Hayden Quinn? Why choose a MasterChef Australia top 3 finalist (no, not winner) of 2011 (no, not even 2013) to promote the beauty of South Africa and its abundance of sustainable foods amongst South Africans? We did some research, and found that South African viewers are being misled about the TV show host, and that Woolworths appears to have a hidden agenda in pushing its Australian investments!
I started with the Cardova Group, the production company of ‘Hayden Quinn: South Africa‘, and of the ‘Expresso Morning Show’ and ‘Top Travel‘ too, all flighted on SABC3. A random e-mail landed in my Inbox from LinkedIn, asking me to congratulate Mark Bland as newly appointed Producer of ‘Hayden Quinn: South Africa’, just as the series kicked off and my interest in it was piqued. I got Mark’s cellphone number via LinkedIn, and asked him for more information about the food series. He was extremely hesitant in talking to me, even though we have known each other for a good two to three years. He is a regular reader of my blog, and has commented on it on occasion. I was taken aback about his hesitancy to meet, to talk about the new show, stating that he had just been promoted, and did not want to jeopardise his new appointment in case I wrote something that could land him in trouble. As a regular reader he would have known that I can only write what I have been told. As the producer of the show, one would have thought that he would have wanted information about the series to be shared, or expected that he would have referred me to a PR person within his company, or at Woolworths, SABC3, and/or Nedbank, the major sponsors of the series. The best he could send me was this bland (pardon the pun) media release: Continue reading →
Yesterday I was invited to attend the judging of the Cape Finals of Season 3 of Ultimate Braai Master held in the parking area of The Lookout at the V&A Waterfront. Not only was it a good way to catch up with a number of chefs who judged the Cape Finals, but it was also an opportunity to meet Cooked in Africa Films producer Justin Bonello.
Justin chatted to blogger Thuli Gogela of Mzansi Style Cuisine Blog (she appeared in the Bloggers episode of season 2 of MasterChef SA) and I as the judging came to an end at the Finals. One sensed his overriding passion for food, which has grown into TV production, with 21 productions to date, including two previous Ultimate Braai Master seasons, two seasons of Charly’s Cake Angels, as well as ‘Seasons at Terroir‘, which was launched last week and focuses on Chef Michael Broughton, and his restaurant Terroir at Kleine Zalze. Justin denied that Terroir not making the Top 20 Eat Out restaurant list last November was a blow to their production, saying that Chef Michael’s food is beyond Top 10 competitions, clearly a fan of the chef’s food. He is fascinated by the revolution of growing one’s own vegetables and herbs, and proudly showed me a photograph of his vegetable garden at home, out Hout Bay way, which will become the subject of a TV series ‘Green Time’ at the end of 2015, with seven pilot projects of vegetable gardening at schools being developed. Continue reading →
I last visited Creation more than two years ago, when I wrote a story about the Hermanus Wine Route, which had been launched in 2011. Since then a number of changes have taken place, new chef Warwick Taylor offering even more heavenly food to match the heavenly Creation wines, living up to promise made in the Tasting Menu heading: ‘Original, distinctive flavours. Exceptional, harmonious matches’!
The road to travel to Creation was never in great condition, having been a gravel road 7 km before the entrance to the wine estate. They were very excited when the Western Cape province announced the tarring of the road to Caledon, and 3 km of the untarred section had been tarred when the construction contractor went bankrupt, a huge frustration for Creation. A number of months have gone by while the province appointed a new contractor, and work has finally commenced again, it taking ten months for the road to be completed, owner JC Martin estimated. The road currently is in a worse condition than it was on our last visit, in terms of its surface, with more accidents on the road, and having a stop/go system in place. Co-owner Carolyn Martin said she is placing pressure on the Western Cape Minister of Transport and Public Works Robin Carlisle to get things moving. Creation will have to possibly change its entrance once the tarring is complete. Despite the poor condition of the road, it was a surprise to see the car park at Creation completely full, Carolyn’s marketing of their wines and the Tasting Room being so excellent that tourists as well as Johannesburg and Pretoria locals come anyway.
I thought I had arrived without being recognised, but Carolyn had seen me (I was sitting with my back to the desk) and she called JC to come and say hello. JC was busy in the cellar with the preparation for the start of the harvest the following day, but made time to chat, reflecting how good they are in connecting with their customers (we stock their Whale Pod range) and visitors. JC said that the harvest is only 3 – 4 days later than last year after the wet winter, and that they have some botrytis, which his staff is picking out. He expected the harvest to take a little longer this year, being 3 – 4 weeks, depending on the weather. He shook his head, almost in disbelief, Continue reading →
Many restaurants are opening and have opened this summer, with only three months of the summer season left in which they can create awareness and make an impact before the dreaded winter arrives after the Easter weekend. New restaurants are far more casual, with informal dining.
This list of restaurant openings and closings is updated continuously, as we receive new information:
* Umi Asian restaurant opened in December with The Marly hotel in the Camps Bay Promenade, owned by The Cove (Kovensky) Group (photograph above).
* Equus restaurant on the Cavalli stud and wine farm on the R44 has opened. Carl Habel left the Mount Nelson Hotel as Restaurant Manager and Sommelier to join the restaurant, but left before it opened. Chef Henrico Grobbelaar from the Twelve Apostles heads up the kitchen.
* Shake your Honey is to open in the original Madame Zingara building on Loop Street this year, according to an iolTravel report. The ‘vibrant spirit of India’ is to be reflected in the 5-storey building, with a theatre, markets, restaurants, and shops.
* A new restaurant and micro brewery is to open next door to The Bromwell in Woodstock (name not yet known).
* TriBakery has opened on Bree Street.
* Vida e Caffe is opening coffee shops at Shell petrol stations, 40 initially and 300in total. It has also opened in Garden’s Centre, and in St John’s Piazza in Sea Point.
* The Black Sheep Restaurant has opened on Kloof Street. Continue reading →
* ‘Cape Town’s most stylish hotels’ feature in the Telegraph Travel article, which focuses on more than just the Mother City’s hotels. Given Cape Town’s status of World Design Capital 2014, Woodstock, Bree Street, and Long Street are recommended for arts, sculptures, jewellery, and crafts. Hemelhuijs and The Pot Luck Club are recommended restaurants. The Mount Nelson, One&Only Cape Town, Cape View, The Clarendon, and Ellerman House are recommended as accommodation establishments.
* Six of Africa’s twelve top music festivals are hosted in South Africa, and include Oppikoppi (in Limpopo province, the largest local music festival); Up the Creek (in Swellendam); Cape Town International Jazz Festival; Splashy Fen (at Underberg); AfrikaBurn (in North Cape province); and Rocking the Daisies (in Darling).
* National soccer team Bafana Bafana arrived in Cape Townlast weekend, in preparation for the African Nations Championship, which kicks off at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday.
* James Romanow, writing in the New Mexico Leader Post, says that drinking a House of Mandela wine is a fitting tribute to the late Nelson Mandela.
* A manual of information published by (£30 million a year budget) Visit Britain, which was targeted at accommodation establishments and tourism players in the UK to guide them in dealing with tourists from around the world, has been criticised for ‘racial stereotyping‘! For example, the manual describes: Continue reading →
The Sweet Service Award goes to the 14 top chefs, with their sommeliers and restaurant right hands, who made the ‘Chefs who Share’ gala dinner such a fantastic success last Thursday evening, preparing a top class dinner for 250 guests in pairs of two chefs in a temporary tented kitchen set up between the City Hall and the Woolworths head office. We salute Chef Rudi Liebenberg (Planet Restaurant at the Mount Nelson) who worked with a leg in plaster, as well as Chefs Margot Janse (The Tasting Room), David Higgs (five hundred), Christiaan Campbell (Delaire Graff), Bertus Basson Overture), Harald Bresselschmidt (Aubergine), Chantel Dartnall (Mosaic at The Orient), George Jardine (Jordan Restaurant), Jackie Cameron (Hartford House), Marthinus Ferreira (DW 11-13), Darren Badenhorst (Grande Provence), Chris Erasmus (Pierneef à La Motte), Peter Tempelhoff (The Greenhouse), and Reuben Riffel (Riffel Restaurants). A number of chefs traveled from afar, and all Continue reading →