On Thursday afternoon I attended the launch of UberEATS in a private home in Willesden Road in Camps Bay, with the backdrop of a beautiful sunset. The launch follows that in Johannesburg four months ago, the city having seen 200000 downloads of the UberEATS App in the first two months of its launch. Continue reading →
I had heard from restaurants that a new ‘Gourmet Guide‘ is to published, with a listing and evaluation of our country’s Top 100 restaurants. The evaluation of the restaurants is to be done on the basis of the Michelin-system, with unidentified ‘inspectors’ visiting restaurants Continue reading →
*. The hosting by Durban of the Commonwealth Games in July 2022 has been announced, the first time that the Games will be held in Africa. The city had no competitive bidders, as Edmonton had withdrawn its bid earlier this year. Athletes from more than 50 countries are expected to compete, mainly in the Moses Mabhida Stadium and at the Rachel Finlayson Swimming Complex. The Games are expected to generate R20 billion, at a cost of R12 billion.
The Honest Chocolate Café opened a week ago on Wale Street, in a building next door to where it operated Honest Chocolate, the first outlet from which the owners Anthony Gird and Michael de Klerk first made and sold their artisanal dark chocolate in 2011. The Honest Chocolate Café sells all things chocolate, a blackboard as well as a menu detailing what treasures one can order.
Anthony says he ‘stumbled’ into chocolate-making, not having any culinary background. Using raw cocoa powder he had found in health shops, he experimented with it to make chocolates that his friends loved. Michael was living in London at the time, specialising in website design, and he too was experimenting with chocolate-making, having been inspired by a friend in New York to do so. The team call themselves ‘imperfectionists’, learning as they go along. They have started with making moulded and dipped truffles, and sold their first handcrafted chocolates at the Old Biscuit Mill. Their chocolates do not contain dairy or emulsifiers, and they only use natural fructose. The raw organic cocoa beans are sourced from Super Foods, who in turn source them from a co-operative in Ecuador, which is also known to make one of the top chocolates in the world. Their cocoa beans are not roasted, unlike other cocoa producers. The beans have a great aroma, have anti-ageing properties, and are good for the heart. They use agave nectar instead of sugar, which is low GI, and is therefore diabetic-friendly. In addition to truffles, they make small slabs, each new product wrapper designed by a different designer: a rabbit on the 72 % bar, and an illustration of the Kalahari desert on the 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 →
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 →
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 have not been a great fan of the forced R5 addition to one’s restaurant bill without permission in Streetsmart restaurants, but after attending the presentation of monies to support the good community work for street children it is funding, and hearing what a difference the money makes to the less fortunate at a function held at The Salesian Institute on Thursday evening, my perception about Streetsmart has changed completely.
Established in 2005 by tour operator Margi Biggs as a means of helping street children, and now chaired by committee junkie Nils Heckscher (he has been or currently serves on the board of FEDHASA Cape, Cape Town Tourism, the former Cape Town Routes Unlimited, and Tourism Marketing of South Africa), Streetsmart generated just over R900000 in the past year, and a total of R7 million since its establishment. R5 is added to the restaurant bill per table, irrespective of the number of patrons seated at the table. This money is transferred to Streetsmart once a month. Streetsmart is also collected in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and in India.
Heckscher suffers badly from being in the shadow of his very well-known Continue reading →
When Michael Olivier first launched Crush! food and wine digital magazine three years ago, it was evident that he and his team had no experience in the design and publishing of a magazine generally, and a digital magazine specifically. We wrote critically about the first few issues, but no feedback was accepted nor reacted to, and Olivier appeared to have lost advertising revenue as a result, thus leaving the magazine about a year ago. His departure appears to have rejuvenated the magazine, and it has improved vastly!
The response by Olivier and his Crush! writers David Cope (@Foodie_za) and Andy Fenner (@JamieWhoSA in those days) to our feedback about the magazine at that time was to create the Whalespotter Twitter defamation account led by Cope, and condoned by Continue reading →
The country’s most glamorous brandy tasting festival ‘Fine Brandy Fusion‘ takes place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre tomorrow and on Friday, it being the first time that the event takes place in the Mother City.
The theme for the event is ‘Celebrate liquid gold’, and takes place a stone’s throw away from the Table Bay harbour, where the first brandy was distilled on a ship more than 300 years ago. Visitors can expect to participate in masterclass educational tastings, learn about barrel-making, drink trendy cocktails, enjoy burlesque dancers, and generally have a good time. Top end brands such as Aston Martin and BMW Motorrad will also be on show.
Central to the Festival is the recently established Urban Brandy Cocktail Route, focused on the Cape Town city centre, and which includes Shimmy Beach Club, Knock Knock Club in De Waterkant, Hudson’s Burger Joint in Green Point, Societi Bistro, Mano a Mano in Park Street in Gardens, Tjing Tjing Bar, Vista Bar at the One&Only Cape Town, Jackal & Hide, Roxy’s Café on Dunkley Square, and the new Frères Bistro. Each of the establishments serves a choice of eight cocktails made from premium South African brandies, including ‘The Skinny’, a low calorie option which is big on taste, the ‘Ama-lekkerlicious’, devised by master mixologist Kurt Schlechter, the ‘Collison’s Cosmo’, and the ‘Fynbos’.
Not only our country’s top brandies will be recognised in the Walk to Fame, honoring South African brandies’ world domination at the International Wine & Spirits Competitions, winning the Worldwide Best Brandy trophy every year over the past six years, but French cognacs will also be on show.
Fine Brandy Fusion: 9 and 10 May 2013, 17h30 – 21h30. Cape Town International Convention Centre. Entrance costs R175, and includes a tasting glass and coffee vouchers. No under 18-year olds allowed. www.brandyfusion.co.za Twitter: @BrandyFusion Tickets at www.computicket.com
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage