Cape Town comes to Munich: celebrating a birthday and Chefs Who Share chef reunion at restaurant Marais Soir!


imageI have enjoyed such an active program in Munich, with dinners at Cocoon with the Obholzers of Simelia Wines and Innerhofers of Capelands on Monday night, and the celebration of the birthday of Opulent Living’s Florian Gast at Marais Soir in Munich on Tuesday evening! It turned out to also be a surprise reunion of four of the seven international chefs who cooked at Chefs who Share 2014, the chefs coming from all parts of Germany and Austria to celebrate Florian’s birthday.

Via Facebook Opulent Living’s Barbara Lenhard and I discovered that imagewe would be in Munich at the same time, and she promptly invited me to join the birthday party she had planned for Florian. I could not believe my eyes when I saw Chef Christoph Geschwendter of Burg Hotel Lech in Austria standing outside the door! imageHe was one of seven chefs from Germany and Austria who had been flown to Cape Town by Swiss airline last year, to cook with South African chef teams at the Chefs who Share – the ART of Giving Gala dinner. They also cooked healthy vegetable meals for disadvantaged children from monies raised from their Veggie Box initiative, which allows persons wishing to raise funds for a good cause to imagecontribute if they cannot attend the Gala Dinner. Chefs Bernard Reiser of Restaurant Würzburg,  Alfred Miller of Innsbruck, and Gerd Kastenmeier from Kastenmeiers in Dresden attended too. I had met the chefs at a media breakfast which was held at Lanzerac, and at the imageGala Dinner last year. I had wanted to eat at Chef Gerd’s highly acclaimed fish restaurant, but the distance from Munich was just too far. He told us that his restaurant had hosted a dinner of the G7 Finance Ministers very recently! He showed us a photograph of himself with  smiling German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, a man who never smiles!

Barbara took me around to meet her friends, and many of them had been or imageare keen to visit a Cape Town. We were offered a glass of bubbly, and trays of canapés with vegetable quiche, Tramesi with salmon, and tuna sushi stood on the bar counter.  Florian made a birthday speech, and then we were served antipasti dishes, including a warm octopus salad with tomato and potato; Bresola with shaved imageParmesan; a vegetable salad with beans, peas, pineapple, and paprika; and risotto with red onions. French-speaking waitress Sabrine assisted me in describing the dishes, as there was no menu. She told me that the restaurant owner is Italian, but the restaurant name and staff are French.

The restaurant has three seating areas, each decorated differently, one all in blue with a fascinating light feature, which looked like a moon. Another section had textured walls, with light apricot-colored stripes imageon the walls. The rest of the tables were in little alcoves around the bar. It was nice to see Bentwood chairs mixed with ghost chairs around the tables. Cutlery is by WMF, and there were no table cloths, only placemats on the table. In keeping with the Italian theme, Pecorino White and Ottobre Rosso Red wines were served.

We were seated in one of the sections, in which a screen had been erected, so that Florian and Barbara could share what work they do in Cape Town, with a video of the Valentine under the Stars 2015 concert at The Castle in February (I had a touch of homesickness when I saw Table Mountain), and the other of the 2014 Chefs who Share event last September. Barbara shared how skeptics told her that they would never sell all the tickets for their first Chefs who Share gala dinner in 2013, but they’re sold out in 11 days. For the 2015 event, to be held on 10 September, the tickets were sold out within 40 hours. I had not seen the videos previously, and the guests (and I) were surprised to see me in it too. Last year Chefs who Share raised R2,5 million, going to two charities. The international chefs who participated met Barbara and Florian in Cape Town last year, and they have become firm friends, which was evident with them traveling from far to attend the function on Tuesday evening.

imageWe were offered a choice of roulade of guinea fowl with polenta, pine nuts, and mange tout, or Dorado fish. I was happy to have selected the guinea fowl, my table neighbour finding his dish to be very fishy in its taste. A slate plate with cheeses was brought to the table, imagewith Reblochon, Conté, Rocquefort, Münster, and Camembert, accompanied with a most unusual and sharp tasting fig jam and mustard accompaniment!

imageAs if we had not already had enough to eat, we were served a Matcha green tea Tiramisu with strawberries and custard, and thereafter a small portion of panna cotta topped with a mango jelly.image

Conny Pat came 9th in ‘Deutschland sucht den Superstar’, an Idols-type show in Germany, by playing the harp. She loves her music, and had brought her keyboard, setting it up to end the evening, singing ‘Happy Birthday‘ to Florian, and ‘You’ve got a friend‘ dedicated to Barbara.

Everyone who had traveled from far or near had a wonderful evening, and new friendships were formed, and fans for Cape Town and the Winelands generated!

Marais Soir, 131 Schwangthaler Straße, Munich. Tel oo49 8962838662. Monday – Saturday Dinner.

Chefs who Share, Opulent Living, Cape Town. Tel (021) 433-1699. Twitter: @ChefswhoShare

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio. Cell +27 82 5511323. Twitter: @WhaleCottage

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