Tag Archives: carbon footprint

Clem Sunter raises the flags shaping our future at Buitenverwachting, SA still in the ‘Premier League’!

Clem Sunter Clem Whale Cottage Portfolio

Clem Sunter is one of our country’s top and also an international scenario planner, who has consulted for China, the Zanu FP, and Botswana, but never the ANC. Addressing the Thursday Club over lunch at Buitenverwachting yesterday,  Sunter encouraged the audience to ‘not get too downcast, as we are still in the Premier League‘, he said. Chef Edgar Osojnik prepared a generous 3-course meal, many guests not being able to finish all of it.

Clem Sunter attracted attention in the ‘Eighties with his ‘High Road, Low Road’ scenarios, and has been speaking all over the world, writing books, and hosting strategy workshops with corporates and even governments. He has used the analogy of a fox, being smart in its competitive environment, and the title of the books now refer to Continue reading →

What has happened to Woolworths? Misleads consumers, no link between TV shows and stores!

Woolworths LogoI have no idea who heads up Woolworths’ Marketing department, but it seems that the retailer has lost the plot!  Once the darling of all, seen to be above reproach in the quality of the products it sells and the lengths that Woolworths will go to find the most organic and animal-friendly produce for its customers, it is being lambasted for copying other brands, for importing tomatoes, peas and more, and for making misleading claims about its products. In addition, it seems to have lost the link between its expensive sponsorship of TV food programmes and its stores!

Let’s start with ‘Hayden Quinn: South Africa’, a programme which has been running on SABC3 for the past 9 weeks, a travelogue of our beautiful country, and documentation of Woolworths’ sourcing of sustainable and ethical produce, or so it is presented.  We have been exposed to Woolworths suppliers of tomatoes in Stellenbosch, organic wines made in Franschhoek, apples and pears grown in Grabouw, SASSI-friendly fish sourcing, and theHayden Quinn SA 8 Sunflowers Nortehrn Cape trestle table Hayden plus 2 pasture-fed lamb from the Karoo.  Criticism has been leveled about the use of an Australian surfer who came third in MasterChef Australia in 2011, as the tour guide to our country and the guide to its sustainable food and wine treasure chest, a self-confessed ‘cooker’ and not a chef!  The dishes in the eight episodes to date have been as basic as salads, pizzas, and sandwiches, with a mussel pot and an Eton Mess too.  In some episodes the Woolworths punt has been so strong (i.e. the tomato growing) that it has become irritating, but of late the strong Woolworths promotion has been toned down. Surprising is the low-key advertising for Woolworths in its half-hour episodes, and is nothing as mouthwatering as the Woolworths’ commercials we have seen on MasterChef SA Seasons 1 and 2.  Nedbank is the other Continue reading →

‘Hayden Quinn: South Africa’ episode 5: Whale of a time in Hermanus and Stanford, no mention of its wine stars!

Hayden Quinn Hermanus old harbourHayden Quinn: South Africa’ focused on the Overberg last night, visiting Hermanus and Stanford, as well as Elgin, but this was not mentioned, being described as being just outside Hermanus!  It was a whale of an episode highlighting the Southern Right whale visitors, the sustainable apple and pear farming in Elgin, and Marianna’s sustainable restaurant in Stanford.  No mention was made however of Hermanus’ produce nor its world-renowned wines in the Hemel en Aarde Valley!

Hayden raved about the Southern Right whales, which visit  Hermanus’ Walker Bay from July, he said incorrectly (they arrive from the Antarctic from May onwards) until early December.  On the Facebook page of ‘Hayden Quinn: South Africa it is incorrectly claimed that Hermanus is the ‘Whale Watching Capital of the World‘, copywriting nonsense.  Hermanus is however known as the offering the best land-based whale watching in the world, which is something different, and Hayden did say words to this effect in the episode!

To add some real adventure to his visit to Hermanus, Forest Adventures’ Clinton Lerm (infamous for wanting to change the name of the village to ‘Lermanus when his family tried to take over the tourism management of the town, to their own Continue reading →

Hotels green with envy about Upper Eastside Hotel’s organic urban herb garden!

The launch of the herb and vegetable garden on the terraces of the two year old Upper Eastside Boutique Business Hotel in Woodstock on Thursday demonstrated that one does not need a massive garden to work on one’s carbon footprint, and to grow wonderful herbs and vegetables. The hotel has created the first organic rooftop urban hotel garden in the country.

The 183-room hotel and conference centre is large, and all its space is dedicated to the building and parking, with little space for a garden.  An approach by House & Leisure to do an article about inner city living introduced the hotel to Ben Getz of Urban Harvest, who brought in an initial 21 plant boxes, soil, and a selection of herbs and vegetables.  The project was so successful that the urban hotel garden has doubled in size, to 92 square metre, with 42 different varieties of herbs, vegetables, and edible flowers.  Natural ‘pesticides’ such as lavender have been planted to keep pests away. The next project is to create a green wall, in affixing plant pots to a prominent hotel wall.

Caroline Coates, Upper Eastside Hotel’s Marketing Manager, proudly showed us the urban hotel garden, spread over three sections of the first floor terrace, and told us what pride and joy it has become of Executive Chef Simon Kemp and his kitchen staff, who come to harvest rocket, spinach, basil, carrots, fennel, coriander, oregano, thyme, spring onions, rosemary, and many more.  But the housekeeping staff, the waiters, and even the hotel guests have taken an interest in the urban hotel garden, all being committed to the success of the project, and feeling that it is ‘a nice thing to do’. Given that the staff spend so much time inside the hotel, the garden is a green lung for them.  Ultimately, it helps the hotel to reduce its carbon footprint, said Upper Eastside Hotel GM Francois Steyn.

Ben and his team at Urban Harvest brought in the reclaimed timber boxes, made from off-cuts from a mill, which have not been treated with chemicals, to not affect the plants growing in them.  Chef Simon has overall responsibility for the garden, and is proud to bring his herbs and vegetables into his dishes at the hotel’s Liberty’s Restaurant, harvesting weekly. We experienced the produce in the wonderful canapés that were served, to give the guests a taste of dishes for Liberty’s new winter menu, including a white tomato and basil espresso, beef tataki, goat’s cheese bruschetta (below), fennel and Ouzo mussels, Szechuan crispy duck spring rolls, coppa and basil beignets, mushroom bombs, and Gorgonzola ostrich fillet.  The rooftop garden reflects Chef Simon’s commitment to sourcing local ingredients and to serve the hotel’s guests fresh, healthy food.  After just two months, 80% of the kitchen’s fresh herb requirement is provided from the herb garden harvest for the hotel’s daily catering for 250 covers at Liberty’s and 1000 meals for the conference centre.  This means that the higher cost of organic herbs and vegetables is not passed on to the hotel’s clients. The balance of the requirements is sourced less than 50 km from the hotel. Food wastage has been reduced through the project, and no packaging needs to be recycled or thrown away.

The organic rooftop urban garden at the Upper Eastside Hotel is a commendable project, and is a challenge to every other hotel and restaurant to create its own herb garden, no matter how little space they have!

Upper Eastside Hotel, 31 Brickfield Road, Woodstock.  Tel (021) 404-0570.  www.uppereastsidehotel.co.za Twitter:@UESHotelCape

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