Tag Archives: Shoprite Checkers

‘Chopped South Africa’: first SA professional chef reality TV competition show!

ChoppedSA Banner Whale CottageChopped South Africa’ was launched at Giggling Gourmet Jenny Morris’ studio in De Waterkant yesterday, to publicise the 10 programme Food Network series on DStv channel 175, commencing on Wednesday 23 July at 21h00.

Chopped South Africa‘ is the first professional chef reality TV competition in South Africa, based on the American ‘Chopped‘, but with a South African flavour. It is the first international adaption of the programme, and was created due to the series’ very strong following in our country, with 25000 viewers per programme, I was told by Nikki Cooper, the Commissioning Editor of ‘Chopped South Africa‘, based in London and working with programming for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.  She said that she was ‘blown away by the talent and graciousness’ of our local chefs.  Due to the strong support of South African viewers, Food Network is investing in creating content for our country, but with appeal to its international viewers too.

We were welcomed by Jacques Verster. He introduced the four judges, being Jenny Morris who has hosted programmes on Moroccan and on Mediterranean cooking for Food Network (and who turned out to be a tough judge, explaining that she wanted to be honest with her feedback, and for it to have integrity); David van Staden, the Executive Chef of the Tsogo Sun Group; Siba Mtongana, who has her own ‘Siba’s Table’ program on Food Network; guest judge Rebecca Hurst, who runs the Hurst cookeryChopped SA judges Whale Cottage school; and guest judge and Chef Lindsay Venn of Tsogo Sun The Cullinan (not in the photograph).  We were told how strongly the judges believed in their standards, and fought for their point of view in deciding which chef would be ‘chopped’. Heinz is the main programme sponsor, while Shoprite-Checkers provided all the ingredients for the cooking on the program.

Nikki explained how the series works, with each of the ten programmes having four contestants, 40 selected from many applications received from young professional chefs in South African kitchens.  Shot in Johannesburg, hosted by Denvor Phokaners, produced by Sue Nel from Snelco in association with Continue reading →

Wine Sommelier training becomes Tourism priority!

A new R11 million one-year Sommelier training program has been launched by the Department of Tourism in conjunction with the Cape Wine Academy.  It is apt that the program was launched in Franschhoek, which was described by Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk as ‘the best blueprint for wine tourism in SA’.

Launched at La Motte last month, the objective of the training program is to grow the skills of 200 learners in one of the identified ‘niche sectors being of particular importance for SA, wine tourism being one of them’, said Minister van Schalkwyk, reported the Franschhoek Tatler.  He added that there were good job prospects once the trainees have completed their program.  The new sommelier training program follows the Minister’s recent Youth Chef training programme.

Cape Wine Masters Lizette Tolken and Derek Ramsden are some of the lecturers involved in the Sommelier training program, which incorporates four six-week practical work segments in the wine industry. For the first practical, which has been completed, distributors and wholesalers such as Distell, Meridian and DGB, Vinimark, Smollens, Liquidity, Panniers, Wine Logistics, Swirls, NixAn Wines, Nicholson Smith, International Wines, together with Beyerskloof, Delheim, Simonsig, Vergelegen and Spier, all took in learners. The practicals will also include front-of-house training in restaurants, retail outlets and hotels such as Southern Sun, Ultra Liquors, Spar, Shoprite Checkers, The Butcher Shop & Grill, and The Baron Group.

Minister Van Schalkwyk has appealed to the private sector to support and enhance the programmes of his Department, and thanked it for the important role it plays in the development and promotion of tourism. “It is well known that the private sector bears the major risks of tourism investment, as well as a large part of the responsibility to satisfy tourists. Through its training programmes, government is committed to encouraging the further growth, development and profitability of the tourism private sector by providing already-trained staff, such as these sommeliers, who are immediately able to fulfil a productive role in the hospitality sector,” the Minister concluded.

While the Sommelier training program is commendable, one wonders why the South African Sommelier Association, under the chairmanship of respected Sommelier and Burrata owner Neil Grant, was not involved.

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

FIFA 2010 World Cup match ticket sales chaos

The first day of the last phase of ticket sales for the World Cup has resulted in chaos, with queues at sales points, one soccer fan dying of a heart attack in the queue, and the FNB system being off-line. 

More than 500 000 World Cup match tickets are available for sale from today, which means that tickets could become available for matches previously designated as having been sold (in Cape Town, for example, all matches are supposed to have been sold out, but tickets for all matches now appear to be available).

It appears that the ticket availability comes from a number of different sources.

First, many sponsors bought blocks of tickets, as did the World Cup teams’ football associations, which they have not all been able to sell.   The Cape Times quotes the Daily Mirror in reporting that 69 % of the more than 550 000 sponsors’ tickets have been returned, as they cannot find takers for them.  Sponsors Adidas, Coca Cola, Hyundai, Sony, Emirates, Visa and twelve others had the right to buy blocks of tickets, to give away in promotions, or to staff and clients.   Similarly  58 % of the 570 000 tickets allocated to fans of the 32 participating teams have been sold, and the balance has been returned.

MATCH, the FIFA hospitality agency, had been allocated 380 000 tickets to package into VIP hospitality packages, and could only manage to sell 1 000 of these!   SAA would have been used to fly the VIP guests around the country, and cancelled 45 000 seats which MATCH had booked when the number of seats booked by MATCH kept changing.   MATCH is blaming the poor sales record on the world recession, and on the distance of South Africa from the participating countries.

Second, greedy and opportunistic “speculators” bought tickets, with the aim of reselling them, at a profit one would assume, and have now discovered, even though it was clearly stipulated during the purchase process, that one cannot resell them, as the ID number of the ticket purchasers are printed on the tickets.   This means that sellers of tickets cannot even give them away for free!

FIFA launches its last ticket sales drive today, when it opens sales outlets in major host cities, as well as some Shoprite Checkers stores (from 19 April), to encourage sales of the remaining tickets.  The Cape Town outlet is in The Spearhead, at Hans Strydom Avenue, in the building in which Col’Cacchio is located, close to Investec.   The FIFA retail sales outlets will be open from 9h00 – 18h00 for ticket purchases by South Africans, and from 18h00 – 22h00 for ticket purchases by international soccer fans.   These centers will also accept tickets for resale, and will be the ticket collection center for tickets booked on the internet.

Tickets will also be for sale at branches of FNB.

FIFA’s Secretary General Jerome Valcke said in Soweto last week that the South African stadiums should be full.  “We will work hard to get South Africans and international people to come to the stadiums” he said, reports Bizcommunity.com.  

Of the 2,2 million tickets sold to date,  South Africans have bought just under 1 million (42%) tickets, followed by the United States (about 120 000), the United Kingdom (68000), Germany (32 000), Australia (30 000) and Canada (16 000). 

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