It was a quiet Human Rights Day when I drove along Bree Street from one end to the other, to update my Blogpost about Cape Town’s famous food street, and saw a board outside Folk Coffee Anthropology, signaling that it was open. Continue reading →
Cape Town has just been ranked third Best Food City in the World by Condé Nast Traveler Readers Choice Awards 2014. Taste of Cape Town 2015, running at the Green Point Cricket Club until the end of today, gives locals and visitors a taste of what makes our city so special as a food destination.
Hosted for the eighth year in Cape Town, and run by food editor and stylist Justin Drake, Taste of Cape Town has settled in at the cricket club venue after venue changes in early years. Taste of Cape Town is a festive and fun way to eat and drink one’s way around one venue, showcasing not only restaurants and wine estates in Cape Town, but also those in the Winelands.
I was invited by Errieda du Toit PR to attend the Taste of Cape Town, and was joined by Continue reading →
Yesterday 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 →
As the Africa correspondent for the UK The Guardian newspaper, I have been most interested in your interest in a relatively mediocre South African cooking show, in which home cooks vied to become MasterChef SA in Season 3. Twice you have tried to spin a race story on finalist Sipho Mdlankomo, using her skin colour and her career as ways in which to bash our country and its people! Surely Africa could benefit from your writing skills in writing about our exciting loadshedding life, Cape Town making Best City in the world in your competitor The Telegraph, Ebola and its impact on tourism, the birth of the Monaco royal twins which have a South African link, etc.
A week before the MasterChef SA Season 3 winner was announced you started warming up the topic, by quoting Sipho in saying Continue reading →
As 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-presented 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 Continue reading →
Can Robertsons be any more dominant in MasterChef SA than in last night’s episode 8? We have renamed MasterChef SA MasterRobertsons, as the hard sell of the spice brand in this Season 3 is becoming laughable! One wonders how judges Benny Masekwameng and Pete Goffe-Wood (note his grumpy look in the M-Net publicity shot) must feel to have to push the brand, not an issue which Reuben Robertsons Riffel loses any sleep about, having cashed in on the spice brand for the past three years, thereby losing any credibility he may have previously had as a chef!
The episode started with the Blue Team, which lost the Team Challenge in episode 7. Filmed on an interesting looking bridge in Umhlanga, directly at the ocean, the five Finalists Penny Fitchet, Refilwe Tselanyane, Roxi Wardman, Francois Zietsman, and Sipho Mdlankomo watching as Chef Benny was wheeled onto the bridge in a rickshaw, clutching a cloche, which he ceremoniously opened to reveal a Bean Curry Bunny Chow. On the table surrounding the typical Durban dish was a collection of about 20 Robertsons spices and herbs, each covering a board with a black or a white sticker. The task of the five Finalists was to each identify one of 15 spices and herbs in the Bunny Chow, just from tasting it. The Finalists each drew a wooden cooking spoon with a number on it, to determine the order in which they had to identify the ingredients. The Robertsons collection stood on a table with the ultimate kitsch tablecloth, in a bright orange, looking like rosettes. Riffel clearly did not take History at school, confusing the role of Durban and Cape Town in linking our country to the East!
It was said by Riffel that the pressure would be on Roxi to identify the spices Continue reading →
We are extremely proud to have you living in your newly adopted home city Cape Town, and that you are such a fantastic tourism ambassador for our country in general, and for Cape Town in particular. You put Cape Town on the world tourist map with your article earlier this year in the New York Times about Cape Town being the number one ’52 places to go in 2014′, the best free publicity our city has ever had.
I was therefore shocked to see your article about ‘Top Chefs in Cape Town’ in Travel + Leisure, and the choices you made in selecting what you have listed as the top five chefs in Cape Town: Luke Dale-Roberts of The Test Kitchen, Peter Tempelhoff of The Greenhouse, Reuben Robertsons Riffel of Reuben’s x 4 (in Franschhoek, Cape Town, Robertson, and Paternoster) plus Racine, Bruce Robertson of The Flagship, and Franck Dangereux of The Food Barn, in that order. You did not define your guidelines for selecting the five chefs, nor did you appear to use the same criteria in selecting the chefs that are on your list – the justification for inclusion appears more anecdotal and random. Equally, I am surprised about the chefs you excluded from the list!
You seem to praise Chef Franck for his ‘foreign pedigree, but why single him out when Chefs Luke and Peter also have foreign roots? Does that make them better chefs? All of the chefs on your list have worked overseas, so they deserve equal mention in this regard. You ‘warn’ Travel + Leisure readers to ‘watch out for these five Cape Town chefs and memorize their names now – they’re poised to break through to the global stage any day now‘!
Let me comment on each of your Top Chef choices: Continue reading →
Episode 5 of MasterChef SA was long and drawn-out, featuring nine desserts made from a surprise ingredient – a Pantry overflowing with carrots, carrot juice, and carrot powder. Three new contestants will go into the Pressure Test in episode 6 next week, Ndumiso Mncwabe clearly heading for an early exit as he is facing his second Pressure Test.
The episode commenced with a recap of episode 4, Roxi Wardman sharing her euphoria about having visited and eaten at Chef Kevin Thornton’s 2 star Michelin Thornton’s restaurant in Dublin, for having won the best dish in episode 3. She described it as a ‘mind blowing, life changing’ experience. Philippa Robinson shared that Roxi’s success and her new confidence from her trip makes her feel intimidated, as she is one of the strongest contestants.
Reuben Robertsons Riffel led the contestants to the Pantry, and they were surprised to see the mountain of carrots, in red, orange, and purple, from which they had to make a dessert, with the carrot the focus, said Chef Benny Masekwameng. Riffel said that a carrot dessert is not as crazy as it seems, and challenged the contestants to apply their mind. A time limit of 90 minutes was set, but the Pantry was closed 15 minutes after the start. Once again the contestants were told that the three weakest dishes will place their creators into the Pressure Test, one of them going home in episode 6. While there are eleven contestants left, only nine of them were interviewed and the evaluation of their dishes shown, Francois Zietsman and Mel Sutherland receiving no airtime last night. Continue reading →
I have no idea who heads up Woolworths’ Marketing department, but it seems that the retailer has lost the plot! Once the darling of all, seen to be above reproach in the quality of the products it sells and the lengths that Woolworths will go to find the most organic and animal-friendly produce for its customers, it is being lambasted for copying other brands, for importing tomatoes, peas and more, and for making misleading claims about its products. In addition, it seems to have lost the link between its expensive sponsorship of TV food programmes and its stores!
Let’s start with ‘Hayden Quinn: South Africa’, a programme which has been running on SABC3 for the past 9 weeks, a travelogue of our beautiful country, and documentation of Woolworths’ sourcing of sustainable and ethical produce, or so it is presented. We have been exposed to Woolworths suppliers of tomatoes in Stellenbosch, organic wines made in Franschhoek, apples and pears grown in Grabouw, SASSI-friendly fish sourcing, and the pasture-fed lamb from the Karoo. Criticism has been leveled about the use of an Australian surfer who came third in MasterChef Australia in 2011, as the tour guide to our country and the guide to its sustainable food and wine treasure chest, a self-confessed ‘cooker’ and not a chef! The dishes in the eight episodes to date have been as basic as salads, pizzas, and sandwiches, with a mussel pot and an Eton Mess too. In some episodes the Woolworths punt has been so strong (i.e. the tomato growing) that it has become irritating, but of late the strong Woolworths promotion has been toned down. Surprising is the low-key advertising for Woolworths in its half-hour episodes, and is nothing as mouthwatering as the Woolworths’ commercials we have seen on MasterChef SA Seasons 1 and 2. Nedbank is the other Continue reading →
I had forgotten how hard it is to stay on top of a new series of MasterChef SA, and last night’s first episode of Season 3 was disappointing in being mainly an hour long tasting of 36 angelfish dishes, for the first day of Bootcamp. But the tough elimination challenge could not have been held against a more beautiful backdrop than that of Table Mountain, great marketing for Cape Town. The dominance of Reuben Robertsons Riffel was disappointing, being the new judge.
In the previous two MasterChef SA Seasons, more time was spent in getting to know the contestants, when they had to do basic tests such as peeling and cutting potatoes, and peeling and slicing onions. Last night the hot auditions in Cape Town (with Chef Pete Goffe-Wood and guest chef Henry Vigar of La Mouette), in Durban (Riffel with Chef Jackie Cameron, who has just left Hartford House to open her Jackie Cameron School of Food & Wine) and in Johannesburg (Chef Bennie Masekwameng was joined by Chef Andrea Burgener, Continue reading →