Entries tagged with “Neil Jewell”.


In my passion of writing about food and restaurants in the main, I am very lucky and often spoilt. Yesterday I attended a historic event for the food and restaurant industry, the launch of the new Ruby RB1 chocolate by Callebaut, an iconic new pink chocolate, the first new chocolate launch in 80 years since the introduction of dark, milk, and white chocolates. It was developed over a period of ten years by Callebaut with a University in Germany. (more…)

imageToday culinary history is made with Chef Margot Janse of The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français, now part of the Leeu Collection, celebrating her 20th anniversary at the same restaurant! There is no Fine Dining chef in our country who has worked in the same (more…)

imageTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*. The price of petrol will decrease by 69 cents per liter at midnight this evening. The decrease is mainly due to the drop in the price of crude oil, which has resulted from an oversupply of Brent crude oil. The new petrol price contains an allocation of 4,6 cents per lite to fund a 9% increase in the salaries of pump attendants and cashiers.

*.  Eskom has announced that its Koeberg Unit 2 has gone into a refueling (more…)

Food Trends BreadHow are food trends made?  Is it chefs inspired by other chefs, especially award-winning ones? Is it chefs doing stages in the top restaurants of the world, and returning to create dishes inspired by what they have seen and learnt, as has happened in our country with Noma clones!?  Is it chefs looking at photographs of food bloggers and restaurant reviewers, or their photographs on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook?

The six following food trends are hot right now:

1.   Bread and Butter: something many restaurants have done away with appears to be making a come-back, in being created as something so special that it is a serious dish on a menu.  Breads are now self-baked, Banting-approved butter is not only served salted or unsalted, but also with additives like cheese, salts, bone marrow, burnt onion, sun-dried tomatoes, or Marmite, or as I experienced at Boschendal’s new The Werf Restaurant with lamb and beef added, or with Shiraz added at Equus at Cavalli.  Serving whipped butter is particularly trendy.

2.  Since Banting took off last year, the price of cauliflower has soared in Cape Town, a staple element of Banting menus, including cauli-mash, making bases for pizzas, and as a ‘safe‘ vegetable. Internationally Noma has revived this vegetable, by serving it pot-roasted whole, topped with pine and yoghurt whey. It is served puréed, barbecued, pickled, and even as a ‘steak’.

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Young Chefs Posters Whale CottageAs a writer I receive invitations to many special events.  Yesterday’s Africa/Middle East finals of the S. Pellegrino Young Chef 2015, held at the SA Chef’s Academy, was one of those memorable events, particularly as the nine finalists no doubt will become the future top chefs of our country and of Dubai.

Originally ten finalist chefs aged 30 years or younger were selected to represent Africa and the Middle East. Chef Eka Mochamad of the Pepper Fine Dining Restaurant at Jumeirah in Dubai had to withdraw due to the early birth of his child. The nine finalist chefs were from Johannesburg, Cape Town, Franschhoek, Stellenbosch, and Dubai, many meeting for the first time at the competition. The (more…)

Eat Out 2015 cover Whale CottageThe Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards event is a highlight on the restaurant calendar, held for the 17th year, and at Thunder City for the first time last night.   The results surprised, with one heavyweight chef sliding right off the Top 10 list, while a new restaurant made Top 10. Two restaurants which did not make the Top 20 Restaurant shortlist in 2013 flew back into Top 10 last night.  Stellenbosch remains the Gourmet Capital of South Africa (4 Top 10 restaurants), followed by 3 in Johannesburg, and 1 each in Cape Town, Franschhoek, and Hermanus.   While the award recipients were acceptable, the food was a disaster.

Thunder City is not an ideal venue for a function of this magnitude (800 guests, but advertised asEat OUt Thunder City Whale Cottage 1000 initially), being difficult to find – the petrol station one block away from the turn-off had no clue where Thunder City is, and there were no signs off Borcherds Quarry Road, other than some posters held by men, only visible in the last minute.  I followed a taxi, there being no further signage to Thunder City.  We were collected from the VIP parking by a Mercedes-Benz shuttle van, and I arrived just as the event started, Chef Pete Goffe-Wood doing a tribute to Chef Bruce Robertson, who passed away two weeks ago.   The lighting was poor for (more…)

Maison Deli main pic Whale CottageWe recently wrote about Maison Estate, and the visit in winter by its Chef Arno Janse van Rensburg to Portugal, Spain, and Australia, from which he has brought back new menu ideas.  These ideas have been incorporated into their menu, and a clever way of attracting attention to them is to incorporate them into a Tapas menu which greets one when one arrives in the Tasting Room.  The quality of the Tapas is the best I have experienced to date, and is excellent value for money.

As one enters the Tasting Room and The Kitchen building at Maison, a lounge area to the immediate right has been transformed into the Deli, with a High Table at which one can sit with bar stools, and ‘decorated’ with scientific looking equipment and preserves made by Chef Arno and his team.   A large shelving unit ‘divides’ the Deli section from the remaining (now much smaller) lounge, the shelves being filled by the hard work of Chef Arno, including green tomato atchar, pickled broad beans, marmalade, aubergine and courgette chutney, green figs, vinegar, chili relish, pickled Jerusalem artichokes, onion relish, spiced tomato ketchup, plum chutney, olive oil, courgette relish, yellow tomato atchar, olives, lemon cordial, and fresh ciabatta.  The items on the shelves are interspersed with home decor items from Weylandts stores, owned by Maison owner Chis Weylandt,Maison Deli shelves and produce Whale Cottage including tea sets, glass jugs, wooden boards, cutlery sets, placemats, bowls, plates, and more.  A refrigerated display unit contains jars of duck rillettes, pork rillettes, pork terrine, pancettas, saucisson, salamies, smoked yellowtail, fresh farm eggs, lemons, massive 5-year old Angus six week dry-aged thick 500 gram slices of T-bone (R300), and guineafowl pistachio parfait.    Almost all the produce used for the items sold in the Deli was harvested from the farm.   The styling of the Deli section was done by Marc-Anthony Hewson-de Swardt, Group Visual Merchandiser of Weylandts. (more…)

Eat Out Cooking-chefs-awards-tableEat Out has announced the names of its six ‘celebrated chefs’ cooking at its 2014 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards Gala Dinner on 16 November at new (for Eat Out) venue Thunder City.  It has also revealed that five judges will select the Top 10 Restaurants for 2015.

In the past the chef selection for the Gala Dinner has been a sure predictor of Eat Out Top 10 restaurant selection, but when this became too obvious, Eat Out selected a mix of chefs who made the Top 10 Restaurant list, with some that did not.  We have predicted the Eat Out Top 20 Restaurant shortlist for this year.   The ‘decorated chefs’ cooking the dinner are:

*   Neil Jewell of Bread & Wine (a weird Top 20 Restaurant finalist last year), which will definitely not make Top 10.

*   David Higgs of five hundred (last year’s Chef of the Year and the restaurant came second on the Top 10 list), which will definitely make Top 10 – can Eat Out editor Abigail Donnelly let go of her ‘darling’ Luke Dale-Roberts, and give the top spot to (more…)

Maison Interior changes Whale CottageThe Kitchen and Tasting Room at Maison has been operating for almost three years, and during its recent two month winter break, a number of changes were made to the interior, to the menu, with further changes on the way.

Ten days ago I visited Maison after a long absence, mostly due to the winter closure, and my less frequent visits to Franschhoek in the winter months.  In walking to The Kitchen and Tasting Room at Maison it was a delight to see that the uncomfortable stony entrance walkway has been replaced with very comfortable walkable wooden decking.  Tables and chairs have been set up on the front lawn, to allow for overflow of unbooked guests.  Inside, the ceiling near the pass has been redone with wooden Maison wooden deck Whale Cottagecladding, as has a wall alongside the fireplace.   New lamps have been hung, looking like seahorses to me.  Lamps have been erected above the pass, with shelving above it, and the pass exterior has been wood-clad as well.

The biggest change is that a Deli is to be introduced in the winetasting section, on the right as one enters the building, with a bar counter, at which one will be able to taste six to eight Maison wines (the number is still to be finalised), each paired with two tapas-like bites reflecting some of the dishes which Chef Arno (more…)

Leopard Trust cover Whale CottageYesterday The Cape Leopard Trust’s celebrated its 10th anniversary with a Charity Auction lunch at Leopard’s Leap, a perfect synergy between the good work done by the Trust, and the winery’s focus on leopards.  We were treated to a fine feast prepared by three chefs, and all left happy that R519000 was raised for The Cape Leopard Trust.

Barbara Lenhard and Florian Gast of Opulent Living are an amazing powerhouse couple in organising events, in addition to publishing their Opulent Living magazine.  They managed to attract 180 guests, at R1500 per head, to attend the Charity Lunch on a picture perfect day in Franschhoek.  Outside Marco Cianfanelli’s sculpture of a leopard welcomed arriving guests. We were offered a glass of Leopard’s Leap Culinaria Brut MCC on arrival, and were shown to our seats, where we were lucky to have great company, including Darryl from The Light House in Paarl, and Dr Tracey and Brett Garner.  Elana Afrika-Bredenkamp of the Expresso Show and her husband Ian Leopard Leap Elana and Ian Bredenkamp Whale CottageBredenkamp of Kfm and Cape Talk were the MCs, keeping a steady pace for the proceedings throughout the afternoon, interviewing chefs, the performers, and sponsors, which included Mercedes-Benz, FNB, and cennergi.

The outgoing CEO of the Cape Leopard Trust, and its founder, Dr Quinton Martins, became very emotional when he spoke, close to tears in seeing so (more…)