Entries tagged with “Virgin Active”.


The new The Yard in the Silo District of the V&A Waterfront opened last week, as a multi-cultural cuisine restaurant, but also offering a bar, a homeware shop, and a Deli. It is the most unique restaurant I have experienced, in its diverse food offering. (more…)

imageEarlier this week I was invited to attend the official opening of the new KAUAI concept store on Kloof Street, but could not make it due to flu. Since the opening I have received a media release, and I have had a chance to pop in at the new KAUAI twice. The Kloof Street concept store coincides with the anniversary of KAUAI opening in the city 20 years ago.

In May Real Foods (Pty) Ltd, the company which owns Nü Health Food Café, bought all 154 KAUAI stores, 85 of which are inside Virgin Active gyms. Real Foods is owned by Dean Kowarski and Genesis Capital Partners, and was established two years ago, re-establishing KAUAI as ‘healthy fast casual restaurants’ as opposed (more…)

Kauai banner Whale CottageWe were invited to attend the opening of the 150th branch of KAUAI, a second in the V&A Waterfront, on Thursday.  An in-house marketing job, it was a PR fail.

I managed to find the Marketing Manager Leeanne Jefferies by chance, and she told me that the area in the shopping centre where Cape Town Fish Market and their outlet is will be transformed into an H&M clothing store, widely popular in Europe and originating from Sweden.   Instead of waiting until February to open their new outlet, and to move out of the existing outlet, they decided to open the new outlet behind the Big Wheel near FNB, very hidden, there being no signage to guide one to it at all, whilst trading in their existing outlet, to make the most of the holiday season.

The launch function was scheduled for a most impractical time of 9h45, and we were reminded the day prior to be punctual in arriving by Retail Junior Retail Manager Samantha van Wyk. She addressed us in Hawaiian, using the word ‘Aloha‘, and ending it off with ‘Mahalo’, which I assumed to be her name, my Hawaiian being a bit rusty!  The switchboard answers the phone with a Hawaiian greeting too.   Leeanne told me that the aptly named co-founder and ‘Chief Innovations Officer‘ John Berry grew (more…)

The MasterChef SA pace was fast and heavy last night, or so it seemed, with the 50 contestants that made the ‘bootcamp’ being whittled down to half in episode 2, by setting them what seemed to be three basic tasks: chopping onions, separating and whisking egg whites, and preparing a potato dish.  The confidence of the judges had grown, there were no more sympathy votes, and the judges set more fair measurable goals to decide on the future of the contestants.

The ‘bootcamp’ was held in Johannesburg, and most dramatically started on what probably is the Nelson Mandela Bridge, which was closed for the duration of the shoot.  The judges looked far more relaxed compared to episode 1, Chefs Benny Masekwameng and Pete Goffe-Wood wearing a T-shirt and waistcoat, and Chef Andrew Atkinson slightly more formal in an open shirt and waistcoat. The contestants proudly wore their Masterchef SA aprons.  Three activities were given to the contestants, with the judges asking the contestants once again to ‘impress us’ and to show their ‘passion’. This would reduce the number of contestants down to 25, for participation in the second day of the ‘bootcamp’, a braai they were told, which will reduce them down to 18, and take them to Nederburg, where the rest of the 15 episodes were filmed.

Even more dramatic than the bridge was the arrival of a helicopter, flying in a container of 3 tons of onions. Chef Pete showed the contestants how to professionally chop an onion, and then each contestant had to chop onions until they were told by one of the judges to stop, having mastered the art of chopping.  Some contestants clearly had not done much onion chopping before, and cried their eyes out, knowing that they might not be proceeding. Ten contestants were eliminated for their poor onion-chopping skills. Chef Pete said that it takes a good chef three years to learn how to chop onions perfectly. They were warned to watch their fingers, as the knives were razor sharp, and there were some mishaps.

Below the bridge, the old Johannesburg Market was pointed out to the visitors to the city, and the venue for the next two contestant challenges was the Bus House, a massive warehouse.  A massive long table contained eggs and bowls, and each contestant was instructed to separate the yolk from the egg whites, and beat twelve of them so stiff that they could turn the dish around and put it above their head without its content falling onto their head.  Not all contestants managed to keep their heads and hair clean!  The first five to finish were allowed to skip the third task of the day, and could go through to the second day (episode 3).  Ilse Fourie was the first to finish this task, and already impressed in episode 1, with the judges heaping great praise on her cooked dish.

The third task was to take the humble potato, and prepare a hot dish out of it in 45 minutes, adding some ingredients which had been made available in the hall.  Chef Pete was particularly harsh of (singing in episode 1) Sanjeev’s colourful dish, criticising it for being ‘plated by a four year old’, and after tasting it, saying that it tasted as if it was ‘made by a 4 year old’.  Jonathan was criticised for being over-ambitious with his potato fondant in the time available, Marianna’s potato soup was described as ‘dishwater’  (on Twitter this morning Chef Pete had even worse things to say about it), Mel’s dish was‘too basic’, and Peter and Ashley were told that their dishes were a ‘let down’.

The contestants that were eliminated across the three challenges last night included Dael, Anel, Abby, Mel, Ashley, Peter, Luxolo (a sympathy vote recipient last week, and who received lots of Twitter support last night), Megan, Karen, Helena, Stefan, Fortune, Charles, Cameron, Marianna, Sanjeev, Jonathan, Ken (he appeared to receive a sympathy vote last week too), Candice, Vani, and Bonguwusa.

There seemed to be more TV commercials in the ad breaks, including those for MasterChef SA sponsors Robertson’s, Nederburg, Woolworths, and Hyundai (with an interesting pay-off line ‘There’s a Hyundai for every taste’, and the commercial featured the car with sushi!).  Other advertisers were Spur, Outsurance, a Lindt promotion with M-Net, ESKOM, Clicks, Cape Town Fish Market, L’Oreal, Virgin Active, Jaguar, Johnnie Walker Red Label, Nivea, Cell C, Valentino perfume, and Hippo.

The MasterChef SA contestants seemed surprised about the tasks that they were given, and the time pressure placed on them, and preparing their dishes in front of others raised their level of nervousness.  Some of the contestants seemed to have been over-confident initially, and there seemed to be a correlation between this and their departure from the programme in yesterday’s episode!  The pace of the programme reminded one of Charly’s Cake Angels, who had impossible sounding cake challenges to complete against the clock, the episodes creating anxiety for the viewers too.  There is no doubt that MasterChef SA is gripping TV viewers, probably to the detriment of cinemas, restaurants, and theatres, as much of South Africa stays home on Tuesday evenings for the next sixteen weeks.

POSTSCRIPT 28/3: Candice Le Noury, who writes Gorgeous Blog, has written about her experience as a MasterChef SA Top 50 finalist.

POSTSCRIPT 1/4:  I met MasterChef SA Judge and Chef Pete Goffe-Wood at the Bay Harbour Market today, where he and his wife Elize have a steak sandwich stand. I enjoyed his feedback to the questions I asked him about MasterChef SA.  I asked him if Ilse Fourie or Jade de Waal is the winner, but (predictably) he said neither, as he may not share this information. He told us that pigeons were in the Bus House, and Marianna’s soup got hit by pigeon poo 5 minutes before her soup was judged. The judges were warned, and carefully avoided it in the soup they had to taste.  It was dreadful anyway, he said.  The judges wore an ear piece, and were reminded by the director of incidents about the particular contestant, to help shape their responses.  Not all the high and low lights experienced could be shown, and had to be edited to fit the hour time limit.  Three contestants were too scared to put the bowl with the whipped egg white over their heads by the deadline, and were sent off the programme.  The judges had a dress code, in what they should wear. Being a TV programme, the judges had to be more animated that on other TV cooking programmes.  Because the judges were not actors, they remained pretty natural throughout the show.  There are no programme viewership figures available yet.  Chef Pete is pretty confident that there will be a second MasterChef SA series.

MasterChef SA, M-Net, Tuesdays 19h30 – 20h30. www.masterchefsa.co.za Twitter:@MasterChefSA

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

The Green Point Park, which opened about two weeks ago, and which will receive its official blessing from the Mayor of Cape Town Dan Plato today, has transformed the area previously known as the Green Point Common into one of the most charming parks in Cape Town, making it a treasure not only for the citizens of Cape Town, but also to its visitors, and to future generations.

The Green Point Common was previously a home for the homeless, and this brought down the tone of Mouille Point and also was a danger to locals walking in the area.  In conjunction with the construction of the new Cape Town Stadium, and the redevelopment of the Metropolitan golf course, the City of Cape Town redeveloped the 12,5 ha area at a reported cost of close to R600 million, renaming it the Green Point Park.   The conditions of the development of the Park were that it be safe, that the golf course and the Park appear integrated and almost seamless, that the Park be accessible to physically challenged citizens, and that sufficient parking be made available.  All of these conditions have been admirably met, so much so that one can feel proudly-Capetonian in how well our rates and taxes have been spent in developing a park with a heritage, that will be of benefit to future generations too.

The major focus, which makes it so interesting, and having an educational angle too, is the Biodiversity showcase, the gardens having been developed along ecological principles and includes indigenous landscaping.  Recycling is part of the showcase, and bins for waste, plastic, metal and glass are available at each of the Park entrances.   To focus on best environmental practices, water from the historic Oranjezicht springs on the slopes of Table Mountain has been redirected to water the gardens, and is sufficient to cater for the irrigation needs of the Park all year round, explains the Cape Town Stadium website www.stadiumcapetown.co.za

The Green Point Park has bricked pathways on which Capetonians and their children can cycle, walk with or without their dogs, run, do exercises, read a book, use their skateboards, and meet friends safely, with security staff visible.   One can also bring a picnic basket and enjoy the beautiful views onto Signal Hill, Cape Town Stadium, Mouille Point, and the golf course.  It is planned that one can host functions at the park (a marquee is already in place for the opening function today), and that outdoor events such as markets and concerts will be held in this beautiful, largely wind-protected space.   A biodiversity nursery, a tea garden, fresh produce markets, flower sellers and bicycle rental are said to be on the cards.

But the educational side of the Park is an excellent benefit for teaching children as well as their parents about Biodiversity, and how one can develop a garden that is environmentally friendly, and does not threaten biodiversity.  Biodiversity is defined as “amazing variety of life on earth”, and is threatened by agricultural development, fire, urban development and invasive plants. The Park has a food garden, one for medicinal plants, and a demonstration garden.  Fauna is represented by buck, rabbits, and more animals, in metalwork in-between the plants.  The Park teems with bird life.  Information boards explain how the Khoikhoi sought berries in the veld, used claypots to make their variation of “potjiekos” in those days already, roasted and baked their food, and made tea from bushes.  

But the history of Cape Town is also explained in an interesting manner, with huts built by the Khoikhoi, and their food types and herbal remedies explained.   Medicinal plants such as wildeals, blousake, kooigoed, Devil’s Claw and more were used to treat aches and pains, colds and other ailments. 

 It would be wonderful if a handout with information about the Green Point Park would be made available, and a website be developed for it.  I initially struggled to find the entrance to Green Point Park.  There are five entrances: the West entrance is close to CafeNeo, the East entrance is off one of the parking areas of the Cape Town Stadium, the Southern entrance is near the Virgin Active, an entrance is off Bay Road, and another is behind the Sea Point police station.   The Green Point Park is open from 7h00 – 19h00 Mondays – Sundays, and entrance is free.  

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