On Friday I was lucky to bump into Chefs Rikku O’Donnchü and Warwick King in Camps Bay, the two rockstar chefs who masterminded and led Gäte Restaurant at Quoin Rock wine estate outside Stellenbosch until the end of March, and to spend time with them to obtain first details about what they have planned for their new restaurant. Continue reading →
Before visiting France in the past week, I had no knowledge of top patisseries in a country that is hailed as the temple of pastry, not only in ingredients but also in its presentation. I was recommended a number of top Paris patisseries by Foxcroft Chef and co-owner Glen Williams, on request, and Pierre Hermé was one of them. Pierre Hermé has been called the ‘Picasso of Pastry’. Continue reading →
The Clove Club was one of my three London restaurant bookings, having jumped to 26th position in the World’s 50 Best Restaurant list in June, and having been named the highest new entrant (from 55th position last year) this year. It has two Michelin stars. Continue reading →
Not only talented Young Chefs from South Africa, but also some of our top celebrity chefs will be involved in judging the best S. Pellegrino Young Chef in the Middle East and Africa, taking place in Milan from 25 – 27 June. Cape Town and the Winelands have four of ten Young Chef nominations for the judging region, and one celebrity Chef international judge. A total of 3000 Young Chefs entered the Young Chef competition globally.
The four Cape Town and Winelands Young Chef nominees, having to be under the age of 30 years to qualify, are the following: 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 →
Will the resignation of two 2014 Eat Out Top 10 Chefs, with a third to come it is rumoured, make it the easiest hop into the 2015 Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant list ever? While it is a bit early, we speculate as to which new restaurants will make it onto the Eat Out Top 20 and Top 10 Restaurant lists later this year.
Given the strict rule of an Executive Chef having to have worked a full twelve months (November 2013 to October this year) to qualify to get onto the Eat Out Top 20 shortlist, the three restaurants with the departing chefs will not qualify to make Top 20 for the judging in the next two months or so. Hartford House and Pierneef à La Motte should definitely be off the list, and the third Top 10 restaurant will be confirmed shortly (see Postscript below). Chef Chris Erasmus left Pierneef à La Motte a week ago, to open his new restaurant Foliage on the main road of Franschhoek next month, while Chef Jackie Cameron is opening Jackie Cameron’s School of Food and Wine in Hilton in January next year, but leaves at the end of July. The third chef is rumoured to move from the Winelands to Cape Town, to open his own new restaurant, and could not be reached yesterday due to the restaurant being closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. We would not be surprised if a fourth Top 10 restaurant chef makes a move to Cape Town too, given the number of new restaurants opening in the next few months. Continue reading →
* Former footballer David Beckham is endorsing new Haig Club single grain Scotch whisky, in a partnership with Diageo, packaged in an unusual bottle resembling aftershave rather than an alcoholic beverage!
* In the past year ‘Bargain Brits‘ bought 80% of their wines in UK supermarkets at under £6 (just over R100) per bottle! Supermarket wars, which reduce prices of wines, are blamed for this purchase pattern.
* The Roca brothers, who own El Celler de Can Roca, the top World’s 50 Best Restaurant in Girona in Spain, will be pairing their food with single malt Scotch whisky The Macallan, one of them being 67 years old. Six $10000 per head dinners, in aid of charity, will be held in June and July.
The Awards recognise ‘quality and creativity of cuisine, service, wine list, décor, and ambiance as well as overall excellence’, reports Food24. Acceptance of American Express credit cards is a requirement. Judges were Victor Strugo and Anna Trapido from Johannesburg, and Tamsin Snyman from Cape Town, a similar team judging the South African entries for the World’s 50 Best Restaurants.
Twelve first-time winners of an American Express Platinum Fine Dining award include Azure at the Twelve Apostles Hotel and Bombay Brasserie in the Taj hotel in Cape Town; The Kurland Hotel Restaurant in Plettenberg Bay; DW11-13 in Johannesburg; and Ninth Avenue Bistro in Durban.
Western Cape winners of American Express Platinum Fine Dining Awards are the following: Aubergine, Azure, Bistro Sixteen82, Bombay Brasserie, Buitenverwachting, Bukhara in Burg Street, Catharina’s at Steenberg, Constantia Uitsig, The Foodbarn, Gold, The Greenhouse, Haiku, Il Leone, La Colombe, Nobu, Planet Restaurant, The Roundhouse, Savoy Cabbage, 96 Winery Road, Boschendal, Bosman’s, Bread & Wine, Fraai Uitzicht 1798, Grande Provence (photograph), Jardine at Jordan, Mimosa Lodge, Overture, The Pavilion at The Marine hotel, Pierneef à La Motte, Reuben’s in Franschhoek, Seafood at the Marine hotel, The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français, La Locanda in George, Kurland Hotel Restaurant, Sand at The Plettenberg hotel, Zinzi at Tsala in Plettenberg Bay, Serendipity in Wilderness, Trans Karoo in Great Brak, Pembreys, Zacharays at Pezula, and Kalinka Karoo Cuisine.
Obvious exclusions from the list, probably due to not accepting Amex credit cards, are The Test Kitchen, Tokara, Delaire Graff, Terroir, Babylonstoren, Waterkloof, Makaron Restaurant, and Rust en Vrede.
The list is an interesting mix of top restaurants in the running for Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards, some one wonders about having made the list, and some one has never heard of before.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio : www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage
New Eat Out judge, blogger Bruce Palling from the UK, has arrived in Cape Town to assist Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant and associated awards organiser Abigail Donnelly in selecting the top ten restaurants in the country and in ranking them. He has barely set foot in the country, never having been here before, and he has attracted controversy already!
Palling is a rude Tweeter, and on Twitter yesterday afternoon he announced his arrival, having been to Clarke’s second hand bookshop on Long Street, and in having eaten springbok for lunch, commenting on its bland taste: “Cape Town on a glorious sunny Spring day – and my first experience of Springbok – surprisingly mild…was expecting more depth of flavour.. “. A chef retaliated immediately: “It’s not stag steaks stored in the deepfreezer for 3 years wrapped in wellington boots, boet”. Palling also Tweeted a comment which was criticised for its implied racism, by labelling a fellow guest on skin colour at the restaurant: “Black guest excusing lateness@Cape Town restaurant: “Sorry but had to take taxi because my Ferrari cant make it over bumps at entrance here”. For that Tweet he was admonished too, including by Über-Tweeter Jane-Anne Hobbs.
Palling, who is being accommodated at the Taj hotel, will be visiting the Top 20 restaurant list, unless Ms Donnelly has already cut that list down to her Top 10, and he will assist her in ranking the list, and in choosing the winners in the categories introduced last year: Boschendal Style Award, Best Italian, Best Asian, Best Bistro, Best Steakhouse, and Best Country Style restaurant. This is our prediction of where Palling can be expected to eat in potential 2012 Eat Out Top 10 restaurants in the next few days in the Western Cape (we have excluded Grande Provence, The Roundhouse, and Nobu due to chef changes, and other deserving restaurants at which the chefs have been at the restaurants for less than a year):
* The Test Kitchen
* The Greenhouse
* Planet Restaurant
* Makaron Restaurant
* Delaire Graff
* Pierneef à La Motte
* Jordan Restaurant with George Jardine
* La Colombe
* Rust en Vrede
* The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français
From Palling’s blogposts, of which variations are published in the Europe edition of the Wall Street Journal occasionally, one has learnt the following about his eating and drinking tastes:
1. Local is lekker: he wants to eat ‘native produce’ rather than it being imported (e.g. ‘wallaby’ in Australia!)
2. He is fond of wine, and it should be local and single varietal, and not blended
3. His benchmark is Michelin-ism
4. He is quick to describe food as ‘bland’
5. He has a ‘boredom with egg-dominated dishes’
6. He loves ‘Nordic’ (especially Swedish) cuisine
7. He scoffs at molecular gastronomy, which he calls ‘pretend food’, and likes to be able to identify produce on a plate ‘rather than look at an inanimate mixture of textures and smears’
8. He ‘cherishes food which exudes strong, not to say, disgusting odours’.
It will be interesting to see if Palling’s assistance to Ms Donnelly will make any difference to the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards results. Palling has already shown that he is a difficult and opinionated writer and judge, and a rude Tweeter.
POSTSCRIPT 5/9: Eat Out has just announced that it is hosting a weekend of food celebration from 23 – 25 November, with international chefs in attendance too: This is from their website:
“On Friday 23 November, there will be an exclusive dinner with Massimo Bottura, chef at Osteria Francescana, number 5 in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, the prestigious annual awards sponsored by S. Pellegrino and Aqua Panna.
On Saturday 24 November, for the first time ever, we’ll be hosting an Eat Out Conference at The Westin Cape Town on Cape Town’s foreshore. Speakers at the inspiring, interactive day include top international chef Massimo Bottura; Bruce Palling (Wall Street Journal critic, World’s 50 Best Restaurants judge, blogger and Eat Out 2012 judge); and British food designer Andrew Stellitano (check out his incredible food landscapes, sculptural pancakes and edible Louis Vuitton handbagshere). Local speakers include reigning Chef of the Year, Luke Dale-Roberts, and prominent members of the local food and restaurant community, who’ll join a panel discussion led by Eat Out editor and judge, Abigail Donnelly.
On Sunday, the winners of the 2012 Eat Out DStv Food Network Restaurant Awards will be announced at a glittering awards ceremony in the Grand Ballroom at The Westin Cape Town. A four-course meal will be prepared by top chefs, and the new Top 10 will be announced, along with the winners of the awards for best steakhouse, bistro, Asian, country-style and Italian restaurant, along with the Boschendal Style Award“.
POSTSCRIPT 9/9: Bruce Palling has been eating his way around the Cape, and the only clues that he is leaving is that he has eaten Springbok on more than one occasion, and he is Tweeting photographs of the wines he has drunk with his meals, which must be very frustrating for him, as he is a keen food photographer, but that would give the judging away! His wine choice over the past five days has included Zorgvliet Cabernet Sauvignon (vintage not mentioned), Raats Cabernet Franc 2008, Hamilton Russell Pinot Noir 2010, Raats Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Paul Cluver 7 Flags Pinot Noir 2008, and Luddite Shiraz 2006. He is seeking wines with less than 14% alcohol content, to suit his wife’s requirement, and has been asking for advice on Twitter, a sad reflection on the restaurants at which he has eaten not being able to advise him! He has taken back his criticism of springbok in his Tweet on his arrival (see above), and Tweeted on Friday: “Take back Springbok being boring/bland – had 2 non sous vide versions which lean + voluptuous helped along by Raats Cabernet Franc 08”. No local chefs, with the exception of Oliver Cattermole, who is not in the running for the Eat Out Top 10 Awards as he has not been at Dish at Le Franschhoek for a full year, have interacted with Palling on Twitter. Chefs Peter Tempelhoff (Greenhouse), Jackie Cameron (Hartford House), Gregory Czarnecki (Waterkloof), Margot Janse (The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français), Scot Kirton (La Colombe), Tanja Kruger (Makaron), Eric Bulpitt (The Roundhouse), Marthinus Ferreira (DW Eleven – 13), and Tokara Restaurant are all following Palling on Twitter, perhaps hoping for a clue or two. Further disparaging Tweets in reaction to our Palling blogposts have been posted by Palling, one of which was (unprofessionally) ReTweeted by Le Quartier Français’ The Tasting Room owner Susan Huxter).
POSTSCRIPT 12/9: Le Quartier Français’ The Tasting Room and McGrath Hotels’ The Greenhouse must be concerned about Bruce Palling’s attack on ‘Relais Chateau‘ (sic) on Twitter today, both hotel groups belonging to Relais & Châteaux.
POSTSCRIPT 13/9: One hopes that Bruce Palling’s restaurant judging is better than his a-palling spelling and photography. This was his Tweet from Biesmiellah last night: “Taking a break at Biedmiellah (sic) – Babotie (sic) and Denning Vleis (sic)”. Poor quality writing, especially from a ‘journalist’!
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage