In less than a week after opening its newest Tiger’s Milk Restaurant & Bar on Kloof Street in Cape Town, the restaurant is operating smoothly, as if it has always been there. It is already busy, attracting custom with little marketing effort to date by the Harbour House Group. A hugely exciting attraction is that DJ René Tanguy will be playing at the newest Tiger’s Milk on Fridays, starting this week. It is the 26th Harbour House Group restaurant to open. Continue reading →
It was a very special privilege to attend the launch of ‘JAN: A Breath of French Air‘, the second book by Chef Jan-Hendrik van der Westhuizen, owner of the recently crowned one star Michelin JAN restaurant in Nice, the restaurant which I had the pleasure of eating at in June last year! Fabulous news is that Chef Jan-Hendrik and/or JAN will have a future local presence, Chef Jan-Hendrik saying ‘it will be an honour to come back‘ to our country! Continue reading →
This evening the biography and story about the making of the Oscar-winning documentary ‘Sugar Man’ was launched as ‘Sugar Man, the Life, Death and Resurrection of Sixto Rodriguez‘ at a jam-packed La Parada Bree Street. The book covers the 72 years of Rodriguez’s life, his past and also a possible future!
The book was written by the two writers to tell the tale of finding the ‘lost’ Rodriguez, as told in the ‘Sugar Man’ documentary of 2012, being Stephen ‘Sugar’ Segerman, who owns Mabu Vinyls in the City Bowl, and Craig Bartholomew Strydom, a music journalist who has Continue reading →
For the seventh year ‘Taste of Cape Town’ is delighting Capetonians with a feast of delectable food, excellent wines, talks and demonstrations about food and beverages, as well as entertainment, held at the Green Point Cricket Club near the Cape Town Stadium until today.
‘Taste of Cape Town’ has had incredible luck with the weather over the years, and temperatures have been climbing since opening day on Thursday, touching on 30ºC yesterday afternoon, and forecast to exceed this temperature today. Other than the Lindt stand, the ‘Taste of Cape Town’ stands do not have airconditioning, but attendees sought shade on the cricket ground to eat and drink their purchases. Outside each food stand a stand-up table allows one to eat, and to meet other ‘Taste of Cape Town’ attendees and obtain tips from them as to what to try at other stands on the route. The chefs have a challenging time preparing hundreds of portions of three dishes each, with limited space and cooking facilities. There was barely any waiting time at any of the stands, once one had ordered. Payment is in terms of ‘scoins’, vouchers valued at R5 each, available to buy in booklets of 20 at R100. The cost of each dish is priced in scoins, none costing more than 8 scoins (R40). The prices have not been increased in the past six Continue reading →
* Cape Town will see the opening of a new chefs school in February, the Sense of Taste Culinary Arts Cooking School being set up by chefs Peter Ayub and Angie Boyd. They plan to become the leading cookery school in Africa in the next five years, and want to prepare their students for the hard-working, non-glamorous, non-MasterChef SA side of being a chef.
* SAA has increased its business class and economy class fares to the UK and Germany by between 2 – 10%.
* ‘Ordinary Love’, the U2 song for the movie ‘Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom‘ has received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song, the only nomination for the movie. It won a Golden Globe for the same category earlier this week. The movie cost $35 million to produce, and is South Africa’s highest grossing movie at R20 million to date.
* Brenaissance has opened a new Wine Deck for wine tasting in its plum orchard Continue reading →
The Cape Film Commission, promoting filmmaking in Cape Town and surrounds and assisting production companies with permits for shoots, has publicly criticised Alan Winde, Western Cape Minister of Finance, Economic Development, and Tourism, for no longer supporting the Film Commission, and for handing over the R 4 million to Wesgro, the Western Cape Trade, Industry and Tourism development agency, reports the Cape Times.
Three months ago Minister Winde announced that monies would be allocated to Wesgro for the promotion of the Western Cape’s film industry. In making the announcement, he promised that Wesgro would ‘aggressively’ market the Western Cape as a film destination, ‘to encourage as many international block-busters and commercials to be funded in the Western Cape’, would ‘facilitate access’ to film rebates (from the DTI one assumes), encourage local ‘local content film making’, grow local film audiences, promote the Cape Town Film Studios for film and TV production, and collaborate with other local film-related bodies.
Cape Film Commission CEO Denis Lillie also criticised the Minister’s support of ‘Search for Sugar Man’, produced by a foreign filmmaker, but shot locally, and having been nominated for and winning the Academy Awards’ Oscar for Best Documentary. He is quoted as saying that the Minister is ‘promoting a foreign film rather than using public money to support the commission in its promotion of the local (film) industry‘.
The Cape Film Commission took 25 local filmmakers to the Berlin film festival and the European film market in February. This month it is taking 24 filmmakers to the Tribeca film festival in New York, and 20 filmmakers will be taken to Cannes in May. The Cape Film Commission is considering legal action against the Minister, for breaching a promise of funding until 2015. The Minister has not commented due to the legal action being taken by the Cape Film Commission.
While we have the highest regard for Minister Winde, we cannot understand why he is placing so much faith in Wesgro. In the 11 months since taking over Tourism marketing of the Western Cape from Cape Town Routes Unlimited, there has been zero visible action and result. For an economy very badly hit by Seasonality both in Winter and during the early summer months, every marketing action possible is essential to help the tourism and hospitality industry survive the forthcoming winter!
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage
Cape Town’s tourism players are ecstatic about ‘Searching for Sugar Man’, the documentary filmed largely in Cape Town and documenting the search for ‘Seventies singer Sixto Rodriguez, winning the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature at the Academy Awards in the early hours of this morning. This is the Oscar association with South Africa our country would far rather be known for and proud of!
Searching for Sugar Man’ tells the story of Capetonian Sugar Segerman’s search for ‘Seventies American rock star Rodriguez, who was more popular in South Africa than in any other country, and who ‘disappeared’. Through an internet appeal, Segerman found Rodriguez and brought him back to South Africa for a series of concerts in the ‘Nineties. Swedish film producer Malik Bendjelloul heard about the Rodriguez story from Segerman, and made a documentary, which won acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival when it was launched last year.
The bulk of the film is shot in Cape Town, and shows off our City’s icons such as Table Mountain, Lion’s Head, Camps Bay beach, and the scenic Victoria Road between Camps Bay and Hout Bay, with the Twelve Apostles as a backdrop. Segerman’s record shop Mabu Vinyls off Kloof Street is also featured.
Not only has ‘Searching for Sugar Man’ won the film industry’s highest award, but it has also won the BAFTA for Best Documentary, and won the Special Jury Prize and Audience Award for best international documentary at the Sundance Film Festival, reports The Times.
‘Searching for Sugar Man’ tells the story of the revival of Sixto Rodriguez as a performer, having just completed his latest South African tour, whilst showing off our beautiful city to audiences around the world, especially after the latest Oscar accolade.
POSTSCRIPT: 25/2: Western Cape Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism Alan Winde proudly sent out a media statement congratulating ‘Searching for Sugar Man’ in winning the Oscar, and to ‘Asad’, having been nominated for Best Short Film (Live Action) : “Congratulations to the teams behind ‘Asad’ and ‘Searching for Sugarman’, you have done us very proud. Both films showcase the natural beauty of the Western Cape and will undoubtedly encourage international and local viewers to come and visit our Province. The film sector is a priority sector in the Western Cape’s economy. It generates R5 billion and creates an estimated 6,058 direct jobs and 2,502 indirect jobs. In the year ahead we will ramp up the support the sector receives. Last year, we announced that Wesgro, our Destination Marketing, Investment and Trade Promotion Agency, will now take up the role of promoting Cape Town and the Western Cape as a film destination.” Minister Winde continued.
In improving the support for the Western Cape’s film sector, for the 2013/2014 financial year, Wesgro’s efforts in marketing of Cape Town and the Western Cape as a film destination will include:
• Together with the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism, facilitating access to national film rebates.
• Supporting commercial orientation of existing film makers.
• Exploring potential of developing local content film making.
• Developing local film audiences.
• Trade and investment missions in collaboration with the Department of Trade and Industry.
• Development of a film market within the provincial film festivals.
• Focused engagement with Cape Town Film Studios for investment purposes in the long film and TV productions.
• Hosting regular engagements with industry on key issues for the Western Cape in collaboration with the City of Cape Town, the Media, Information and Communications Technology SETA (MICT SETA), the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) and the Department of Trade and Industry.
Minister Winde concluded: “Oscar Winner ‘Searching for Sugarman’ not only depicts the natural beauty of our City, it also tells the story of who we are as a people. The spirit with which South Africans have embraced Rodriguez was also shared with the foreign travellers who visited us during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. We are a friendly, warm and welcoming nation. Our people are undoubtedly our biggest asset.”
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage
One of the best accolades for Cape Town is the news that ‘Searching for Sugar Man‘ is one of five films nominated for the Academy Awards in the Documentary Feature category, and that ‘Asad‘ has been nominated for Short Film (Live Action).
‘Searching for Sugar Man’ tells the story of Capetonian Sugar Segerman’s search for Seventies American rock star Rodriguez, who was more popular in South Africa than in any other country, and who ‘disappeared’. Through an internet appeal, Segerman found Rodriguez and brought him back to South Africa for a series of concerts in the Nineties. Swedish film producer Malik Bendjelloul heard about the Rodriguez story from Segerman, and made a documentary, which won acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival when it was launched last year. Not only has the documentary been nominated for an Oscar, but it also has been named Best Documentary Feature in the Critics Choice Awards, according to 2Oceansvibe. The bulk of the film is shot in Cape Town, and shows off our City’s icons such as Table Mountain, Lion’s Head, Camps Bay beach, and the scenic Victoria Road between Camps Bay and Hout Bay, with the Twelve Apostles as a backdrop. Segerman’s record shop Mabu Vinyls off Kloof Street is also featured. We are surprised by the word for word copying without acknowledgement to the source in the media statement by Mariette du Toit-Helmbold, CEO of Cape Town Tourism, about the role Cape Town plays in the documentary, from our first blogpost about the documentary. Cape Town Tourism ignored the local release of the documentary on the cinema circuit four months ago, despite its focus on Cape Town, proving how out of touch it is with news about our city! One can safely speculate that Mrs Helmbold and her PR and Communications Manager Skye Grove have not seen the film!
‘Asad’ was produced by Capetonian producer Rafiq Samsodien, states the media release from Alan Winde, Minister of Finance, Economic Development, and Tourism, and tells the tale of a boy who struggles to survive in war-torn Somalia. The film was shot in Paternoster, and used Cape Town residents. The film has already won acclaim at the Austin Film Festival, New Orleans Film Festival, Rhode island Film Festival, and Tribeca Film Festival.
Just being included on the Academy Awards nominations list will boost cinema viewership of the two films, and therefore will promote brands Cape Town and Western Cape in the next two months. It will also boost the Western Cape as a film destination, offering the services of producers, animators, directors, screenwriters, actors and cinematographers, said Minister Winde.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage
‘Searching for Sugar Man’ is a recently released documentary about the 1970’s American singer Sixto ‘Jesus’ Rodriguez, who sold more records in South Africa than did the Rolling Stones at that time. It tells the story of the search by two South Africans and their chance find of Rodriguez, against the backdrop of beautiful (if very ‘Seventies) filming of Cape Town’s icons, including Table Mountain, Camps Bay, Lion’s Head, the city centre, Signal Hill, and the ocean road alongside the Twelve Apostles.
Stephen Sugar Segerman from Cape Town was intrigued by the success of Rodriguez in South Africa, having sold 500000 records locally but appearing to not have made it internationally. He wondered what had happened to Rodriguez, having heard a rumour that the singer had committed suicide. At the same time journalist Craig Bartholomew Strydom from Johannesburg was intrigued by the same question, and in the 1990’s he launched an investigation, to find out more about Rodriquez. Segerman started a website, using the ‘Missing Persons’ milk carton device to request anyone with information about Rodriguez to contact him. Bartholomew Strydom tried to trace the singer via the three local record distributors, paying royalties to Sussex Records in the USA. Rodriguez’s lyrics of his two records were analysed, and this led them to a town called Dearborn, in Detroit, where the singer lived One of the singer’s daughters saw Segarman’s website, and he received a call from her, and later from her father. The singer was overwhelmed to hear how famous he was in our country, without ever having been, having given up performing to become a construction worker, to survive financially.
The documentary tells the happy end of the Rodriguez story, in that the singer and his daughters were invited to South Africa to perform in 1998 at six sold-out venues (including the Bellville Velodrome in Cape Town) around the country. Rodriguez returned to South Africa four times to perform for his local fans. Local writer Rian Malan was interviewed for the film, and he described how difficult it was to extract information from Rodriguez, reflecting his ‘mystery’ nature. The film reflects how humble Rodriguez and his family were when they first arrived in Cape Town, surprised that the limousine awaiting them at the airport was for them, and expressing surprise at all the posters advertising his concert on the way from the airport. It also is a reminder of our country’s censorship past, with TV banned (until 1976), and the SABC banning some of Rodriguez’s songs, the offending ones being scratched on the LP in the SABC library, to make them unplayable. Rodriguez’s music became the ‘anthem’ for unhappy young South Africans, especially students, who were already rebelling against the political situation in the country, which had led to sanctions, and a freeze on international music acts visiting our country in the ‘Seventies.
One of Rodriguez’s daughters fell in love with the bodyguard looking after them on one of their Cape Town visits, they married, and now Rodriguez has a South African grandson!
Segerman (who has a record shop Mabu Vinyls on Rheede Street, off Kloof Street – photograph) is the key to Rodriguez now achieving the fame he deserved forty years ago. Segerman met Swedish documentary maker Malik Bendjelloul, told him the Rodriguez story, and that sparked his interest to make the ‘Searching for Sugar Man’ movie. It debuted at the Sundance Festival, and won two awards. Segerman has documented the search for Rodriguez. If it had not been for Segerman’s keen interest in the mystery singer, assisted by Bartholomew Strydom’s investigative journalism, Rodriguez may never have had a second chance at fame, and Cape Town would never have featured in the Rodriguez story or movie! With international distribution of the ‘Searching for Sugar Man’ movie, Cape Town has a fantastic international marketing platform, even if the images are very dated.
POSTSCRIPT 27/9: ‘Searching for Sugar Man’ has achieved critical acclaim. The new 2012 soundtrack with the same name as the movie has been released, and has made 13th position in the Swedish charts, and 24th in New Zealand.
POSTSCRIPT 25/10: It was announced today that Rodriguez will perform at Grand West on 20 February.
POSTSCRIPT 10/1: ‘Searching for Sugar Man’ has been nominated for an Oscar in the Documentary Feature category, it has just been announced, the best news for Cape Town!
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage
On 23 September Eat Out will announce its Top 10 Restaurant Awards list of twenty finalists. Ten of these will be chosen by three judges (Abigail Donnelly, Peter Goffe-Wood and Arnold Tanzer), and announced at the Eat Out 2010 Restaurant Awards gala dinner at the Westin Grand Hotel on 28 November.
To live up to my reputation in having been nominated for the SA Blog Awards in the “Most Controversial Blog” category, I have done a prediction of some of the Top 20 Restaurants we might expect on the list, as well as those that will fall off the list, in my opinion. I have also predicted which restaurants will make it onto the list for the Eat Out Restaurant Awards 2011. It is important to note that Eat Out specifies that a chef must have been with a restaurant for a year, to be selected for consideration for this prestigious award, the “Oscar” of the Restaurant industry.
Top 20 list
1. Rust & Vrede (chef David Higgs) in Stellenbosch: I predict that Rust & Vrede will make the number one slot of the Top 10 list, given that Luke Dale-Roberts is no longer at La Colombe full-time. David’s food is consistently good, creative, and the restaurant made it in the top 100 on the Top 50 Restaurants in the World list earlier this year. David Higgs is one of four chefs preparing the meal for the Restaurant Awards’ dinner, and this is a sure-fire predictor of being on the Top 10 list
2. Overture (chef Bertus Basson) in Stellenbosch: Consistently good, and always re-inventing his restaurant, Bertus deserves better than joint 10th, which happened in 2009. Definitely a Top 10 contender
3. Mosaic Restaurant in Pretoria (chef Chantel Dartnall): Chantel is also a chef at the Restaurant Awards dinner, so an automatic Top 10 contender
4. The Roundhouse in Camps Bay (Chef PJ Vadal) : not everyone’s favourite due to the arrogance of the management, but the fact that the chef is cooking at the Awards dinner is a sure predictor of Top 10
5. Restaurant Christophe, Stellenbosch (chef Christophe Dehosse): no glitz or glamour in terms of its interior, yet the Spookhuis is steeped in history. Christophe is charmingly French, and is a hands-on chef both in the kitchen and inside the restaurant. His food is excellent.
6. The Greenhouse at the Cellars, Cellars Hohenhort Hotel, Constantia (chef Peter Tempelhoff) : Peter is a favourite on the Top Restaurant list, and has been on the Top 10 list twice, at the current restaurant, and at Grande Provence before that
7. Jardine’s on Bree Street, Cape Town (chef Eric Bulpitt): Eric is cooking at the Awards’ dinner, so an automatic Top 10 candidate. He is also about to return from Copenhagen, where he spent 6 weeks in the kitchen at Noma, to gain inspiration. Noma is the top restaurant of the Top 50 restaurants in the world.
8. Jordan’s Restaurant with George Jardine, Stellenbosch (chef George Jardine) – last year’s move to his new restaurant at Jordan Winery no doubt cost George Jardine a place on the Top 10 list, a shock, as he had been number 2 on the list the year before. He had announced the move to Stellenbosch for personal reasons, and the judges had clearly taken this into account. George Jardine has been on the Top 10 list for a number of years, whilst at Jardine’s. George Jardine’s food preparation is excellent, but as at Jardine’s, the restaurant interior leaves a lot to be desired.
9. Bizerca Bistro, Cape Town (chef Laurent Deslandes): Bizerca seems to be every chef’s favourite restaurant, when they are not cooking in their own kitchen. Last year the industry laughed when the restaurant received a ‘consolation prize’ Best Bistro Award, a category not announced previously, and having no competition in it (9th Avenue Bistro in Durban was also on the Top 20 list, and made Top 10)
10. Terroir, Stellenbosch (Michael Broughton): Terroir has won numerous Top 10 awards, and seems to be a favourite of the judges.
11. The Tasting Room, Franschhoek (chef Margot Janse): the restaurant seems to have a love/hate relationship with Eat Out, in that it was left off the Top 10 list for three years, from 2004 – 2007, and that it had to endure the humiliation in sharing 10th place with Overture on the Top 10 restaurant list last year (a first for Eat Out in having a joint winner), indicating that the judges did not want to offend any of the two restaurants, but it became an insult to both restaurants instead. This created a Top 12 Restaurant list in reality, and the judges will be sure to not lose face to make compromise selections again this year! The interesting contrast is that the restaurant has featured in the Top 50 Restaurants in the World list, but for the first time another South African restaurant overtook it, La Colombe making it to an unbelievable 8th place on the international list.
12. Grande Provence, Franschhoek (chef Darren Roberts): Chef Darren is a highly talented chef, and has been around the block for 20 years in South Africa alone, but has been sadly neglected by Grande Provence’s Marketing department. He has just returned from a week cooking at the Grill Room at the Hong Kong Country Club, one of the most exclusive eateries in the city, sharing his menu and the wines of Grande Provence. (POSTSCRIPT 21/9: Chef Darren says that his restaurant is not eligible for the 2010 Awards, as he only started in January, therefore not giving him a full 12 months at the restaurant, a requirement for the Awards).
13. A Durban restaurant – to not be seen to show Cape Town and the Cape as the center of the cuisine universe, a restaurant from this city is normally selected by Eat Out. The choice of 9th Avenue Bistro has raised eyebrows for its inclusion in the Top 10 list in the past, especially for its location in a parking lot. The owner/chef appears to have left in the past year.
14. To be politically correct, a Johannesburg restaurant also needs to be on the Top 10 list. Roots at the Cradle of Humankind has been a winner for a number of years.
Other potential Top 20 short-listed restaurants could include The Restaurant at Waterkloof in Somerset West, Bistro 1682 at Steenberg, Delaire restaurant at Delaire Graff, 95 Keerom Street (see why for Carne below) and Bosman’s at Grande Roche (once the top restaurant in the country, but it has been left off the shortlist for so many years now).
Restaurants not making Top 10
1. Reuben’s in Franschhoek – winning Top Chef and Top Restaurant in 2004, Reuben’s has not made it back on the Top 10 list since 2006. Too many service-related complaints have dogged the restaurant, and Reuben will have to make sure he does not stretch himself too thin when he takes on his biggest challenge yet at the One&Only Cape Town from October.
2. Carne was on the Top 20 list last year, and fortunately for Eat Out they did not select it to the Top 10 list, given our disclosure of the restaurant’s dishonest claim that all its meat is from its Karoo farm and is organic. Carne has since removed this claim from its website. However, owner Giorgio Nava is a most charming and determined man, and has a close relationship with Eat Out editor Abigail Donnelly, who refused to respond to our allegations about Carne’s claim, even when it was proven to be correct! I therefore predict that 95 Keerom Street will receive a ‘consolation’ Top 20 nomination in its place.
3. Cape Colony at the Mount Nelson Hotel – Chef Rudi Liebenberg made the Top 20 list two years running, whilst at The Saxon in 2008, and the Mount Nelson in 2009. It is unlikely that the restaurant can make the Top 10 list, given that it is undergoing a major renovation as well as a re-invention of its menu currently, and will only open again in November.
4. Salt restaurant – coming to the restaurant at the Ambassador Hotel in Bantry Bay, from Grande Provence, for which he received a Top 10 listing, chef Jacques de Jager’s presence is so low key at Salt that I regularly phone to check if he is still there. His wonderful cuisine hand one knows from Grande Provence does not seem to have made the journey to Cape Town yet, in that his menu and the food quality is disappointing!
5. La Colombe – given that ex-chef Luke-Dale Roberts has moved to a consulting role at La Colombe, it is unlikely that the restaurant should make the Top 10 list. This is re-inforced by Luke’s announcemnet (on 20/9) that he is to open his own restaurant The Test Kitchen at the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock in November.
Bubbling under for Eat Out Top 20 in 2011
Given the new restaurant openings in the past few months, a number of exciting contenders are on the potential Top 20 list for 2011, as they will have operated for a year by then:
1. Pierneef Ã La Motte at La Motte in Franschhoek – wow, wow, wow, and that was only after having been open for 2 days! Top 10 for 2011 for sure.
2. Indochine at Delaire Graff– I thought that the original Delaire restaurant would make Top 20 this year when I first visited it a year ago. But it has lost many staff members, including a talented sommelier and Maitre’d, and service and food reports are not as positive as when it opened. The new sister restaurant Indochine has great potential, and could make the Top 20 list in a year.
3. Richard Carstens opens at Tokara Restaurant next month, and has been an Eat Out Top 10 chef six times. Hopefully he has staying power to last a year at the restaurant.
4. The Bombay Brasserie at The Taj hotel.
5. Reuben’s at the One&Only Cape Town – this is a ‘grown-up’ and sophisticated Reuben’s, yet has some of Reuben’s favourite dishes, such as calf’s liver.
6. The Test Kitchen at the Old Biscuit Mill, Woodstock – given that Luke Dale-Roberts has been named the world’s 12th best chef in the world in 2010, this is a no-brainer for his new restaurant, set to open in November!
7. Grande Provence does not qualify for the 2010 Awards, as Chef Darren Roberts has not been at the wine estate for a full 12 months. He would be a natural candidate for the 2011 Top 20 shortlist.
We would love to have your nominations and predictions before 23 September, as well as comments about ours – please e-mail me at email@example.com
POSTSCRIPT 15/4: It has been announced that David Higgs has resigned and will leave Rust en Vrede in mid-June.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com