A.A. Gill passed away in London on Saturday, by far the best known and revered restaurant critic in the world. His passing leaves a huge gap, in that Gill was not only a critical critic, but he was a wordsmith of note. I am sad that I did not read him more regularly,but am trying to catch up. Continue reading →
South Africans are still reeling in shock about the sudden axing of our Minister of Finance Nhlanhla Nene earlier this week. In the midst of this action appears to be SAA, its chairman Dudu Myeni being a close friend of President Zuma, and not accepting being dictated to by Continue reading →
Having survived the demonstrations against the Pharrell Williams concert earlier this week, Woolworths aggressively took over the Sunday Times today, getting the newspaper to change its masthead and branding colour to green, with the placement of two double page spread advertisements, and getting a front page story out of it too! Woolworths shouts about its green and responsible Continue reading →
Last week a group of writers was invited to try the new Winter Menu at Shimmy Beach Club, on a beautiful sunny day. The impact of GM Clayton Howard is visible, compared to my last visit to Shimmy about a year ago, when it was in a sad state, Clayton giving the Club new energy, a chic character, and introducing a vastly improved menu.
We were told that the owners of Shimmy Beach Club also own other properties, including Bloemendal in Durbanville, and we were served their Waterlily wines for the lunch. A small hotel is being established on the wine estate, and Shimmy Chef Adrian Cook also spends one day a week at Bloemendal, and its restaurant Bon Amis. Clayton told me that new staff is being sourced from the hotel sector, given the growing Continue reading →
The launch of Jani Allan’s new book ‘Jani Confidential’ created no fireworks yesterday, as many attendees had expected at the Literary Launch lunch organised by Gorry Bowes Taylor for Wordsworth Books. The low-key, almost hidden, A Tavola restaurant was a good choice, with a special lunch, and reflected Allan’s shy and coy nature as a speaker. Surprisingly few attendees bought books, maybe because Allan did not do a good job in marketing her book to her audience, not reading extracts from it nor providing tidbits which would intrigue one to buy the book.
Soon after we arrived at the fully-booked launch event, for which we paid R280 for the three course lunch, a selection of Antipasti was brought to the tables of ten to share: Bruschetta
About ten days ago Orphanage Cocktail Emporium co-owner Katie Friedman introduced me to new eateries Mother’s Ruin Gin Bar and Palma in the next street block on Bree Street, being landlord to both. My experience of Palma on that evening differed vastly from that of our dinner last night.
I had invited my friend Whitney to join me, and we chose an outside table, given how hot it still was when we arrived. It was lighter than on my previous visit, and the ‘less is more’ interior design impressed. General Manager Roberto Carluzzo did not seem to recognise me, or to react to the Facebook posts and the blogpost I had written about the 26 eateries on Bree Street subsequent to my first visit. The doorman did however welcome me back, a nice touch. Mama Palma Carluzzo was in the bar, putting on finishing touches to leaving, and I was disappointed, as we had been told that she is the chef, in charge of Continue reading →
It is interesting to see Woolworths’ reaction to Banting and the (LCHF) low carb high fat eating plan advocated by Professor Tim Noakes, in how long it has taken the retailer to react to the Banting diet craze, and how it has reacted, in misleading health-conscious consumers with its new CarbClever range.
In essence Professor Tim Noakes, in his book ‘Real Meal Revolution‘, advocates a diet of no carbohydrates, such as South African starch staples rice and potatoes, as well as any wheat products such as bread, pasta, and pizza. He advocates high fat too, suggesting lamb or other high fat meat types, butter, full cream dairy products, and more. Sugar is completely off the Banting list.
While two Banting-focused restaurants have opened in Cape Town already (65 on Main Banting Café and the not-1oo%-Banting The Banting Kitchen), no Banting product range is known to have been launched in the six months since Banting caught the attention of South Africans. Now Woolworths has launched the CarbClever range for ‘Carb Conscious Customers‘, odd in its choice Continue reading →
It was the last episode of ‘Hayden Quinn: South Africa‘ last night, going full circle in Hayden having surfed off Muizenberg in episode 1, and doing so as well in Umhlanga in episode 13 last night. It was a shame that Hayden chose to end off his endorsement for Woolworths’ sustainability program by playing silly games with two pieces of Naan bread and stick out his tongue, a photograph placed on the programme series’ Facebook page.
Hayden visited a hydroponic cucumber farm Qutom Farms outside Durban, which supplies Woolworths. They catch rain water, and therefore they have not had to use external water for more than two years. The plants are grown in glasshouses with covering over the roofs to allow the staff to adapt the amount of light shining onto the cucumber plants. Derrick Baird, Director of Qutam Farms, said that the hydroponic farm ‘is a little bit of Europe here in South Africa’. They also use solar heating for the plant, generating about 220 kw per day. The plants are grown in cocopeat instead of in soil. A fine mist is sprayed if it gets too hot. No pesticides are used, allowing Hayden to eat a crunchy cucumber without having to wash it.
The Victoria Spice Market in Durban is known as the best place in which to buy curry spices. Viewers were Continue reading →
It was ironic that episode 11 of ‘Hayden Quinn: South Africa‘ last night focused on the Natal Midlands, and that a large part of the half-hour episode focused on farmer Kevin Lang’s Fairfield Dairy Ayrshire farm, given our Blogpost yesterday about the new defensive Woolworths ‘Good Food News’ supplement in the Sunday Times.
The episode started off with Hayden having a cooling swim near the Howick Falls, which have a 105 meter drop. Once refreshed, he met Chef Jackie Cameron, then Executive Chef of Eat Out Top 10 restaurant at Hartford House, but who has left to establish her Jackie Cameron School of Food and Wine, which opens in Hilton in January. Chef Jackie was identified as a WWF-SASSI Trailblazer Chef. They met at the Karkloof Market, which is just outside Howick, and here Jackie introduced Hayden to farmer Rob Symons of Broadleaze Organics, offering unusual herbs such as Vietnamese coriander. Dutch cheesemaker MJ Mook of Just Cheese introduced Hayden to and allowed him to taste her special cheeses. The market seemed a jolly space, with fresh vegetables, herbs, meat, flowers, cheeses, and more. Continue reading →
We wrote recently how Woolworths has been misleading consumers with claims about its Ayrshire milk, deceiving food labelling, and how it tries to create an image of healthy produce via its ‘Hayden Quinn: South Africa‘ series on SABC3. The group Grass Consumer Food Action has been persistent in its criticism of Woolworths, and appears to have hit a raw nerve in the Good Business Journey division at Woolworths, the retailer having launched a brand new ‘Good Food News‘ 16-page insert in the Sunday Times yesterday! It looks like a Taste magazine (the Woolworths sponsored magazine published by New Media Publishing) but printed in Tabloid format on recycled paper!
While the Tabloid has ‘headlines’ on page 1, to attract one’s attention to the content, it consists of a mix of ‘advertorials’ of its award-winning wines (since when are wines a food, as per the name of the publication?) in ‘Crowned as the best‘; ‘responsibly sourced‘ fish; braai suggestions for ‘Ready Steady Braai’; and ‘Flavours of Home‘ (prepared foods with strong spices such as curries, and traditional foods such as koeksisters and milk tart); as well as editorial. It is obviously planned as a monthly insert, numbered ‘Issue 01′, and dated September 2014. The focus of the first issue is ‘lovelocal‘:
* ‘New on the shelf‘ (page 3) showcases new pack designs for wine boxes, braai tins, braai marinade, braai Continue reading →