Tag Archives: Chelsea

‘Chefs who Share – the ART of Giving’ raises R6 million in 3 years! Young Chef of Year 2015 crowned!

imageThe 3rd ‘Chefs who Share – the ART of Giving’ Gala Dinner, held in the City Hall on Thursday evening, raised close to R2 million for two charities, bringing the total raised to R6 million in the past three years. It also crowned the first ever ‘Chefs who Share’ Young Chef of the Year.

The ‘Chefs who Share – the ART of Giving’ idea was conceptualised by Opulent Living co-owner Barbara Lenhard (who looked very glamorous) with Chefs Rudi Liebenberg and Bertus Basson, all 14 leading participating chefs as well as 7 sommeliers giving their time and expertise for the Gala Dinner at no charge. In the past two imageyears R4 million net has already been raised through the last two Chefs who Share events. The monies raised from ticket sales (at R3000 a head and sold out on the same day as tickets went on sale), as well as from the Auction benefit Make a Difference Leadership Foundation and Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. Without the support of main sponsor Mercedes-Benz the event could not have been held in the past three years. Swiss International Air Line was also acknowledged for its sponsorship, bringing Chef Reto Mathis to Cape Town, and taking the winning Young Chef of the Year to Europe.

The chefs were paired as follows, each of them having one top Sommelier, and one Young Chef of the Year Finalist as an assistant too: Continue reading →

Cape Town Stadium new commercial hub for Cape Town?

An elaborate plan to meet the R40 million or so annual shortfall in funding the Cape Town Stadium could see a ‘commercialisation’ of the Green Point sport and entertainment facility, to secure its survival, and to reduce the financial pressure on the City of Cape Town and its ratepayers.  The plan announcement has been overshadowed by SAA’s decision to cut the direct Cape Town-London route from 15 August, news which was announced on the same day, and is currently of far greater concern to the local tourism industry.

The City has been advised by consultants to turn the R4 billion Cape Town Stadium and neighbouring Green Point Park into a commercialised zone, which would allow nightclubs, shops, coffee shops, sports bars, restaurants, letting of office space, and even a sport hospital to be set up in the area, reports the Cape Argus.  In addition, stadium tours, a museum, a ‘hall of fame’, and a Sports Science Institute are planned. This would help Cape Town to be positioned as a ‘leading events, investment and tourist destination’, says the newspaper report.  The Stadium operating costs amount to R50 million per annum, with only R11 million earned in the past nine months. Ideally, the City of Cape Town would seek an anchor tenant. Talks with the Western Cape Rugby Union are said to be  ‘at a very early stage’, despite having been initiated a year ago already.  The City had to take back the management of the stadium when negotiations for its agreement with Sail Stadefrance fell through.

Other South African World Cup soccer stadia are offering guided tours of their facilities, and some have restaurants and shops too.  Looking to inspiration overseas, Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge stadium complex consists of hotels, flats, a nightclub, bars, restaurants, a megastore, and Chelsea World of Sport.

The City of Cape Town plans to apply to the Western Cape Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, to change the ‘Record of Decision’ for the stadium and the Green Point Park alongside it, with the view to change its zoning, which defines its uses.  Currently the zoning prohibits the commercialisation of the stadium and of the park, and would prevent the recommendations of its consultants, i.e setting up retail outlets, renting out parking space, and letting office space.  City of Cape Town Councillor Grant Pascoe, Mayoral Committee Member for Tourism, Events, and Marketing, has delegated the task of negotiating with the province to his relatively new Executive Director and head of his department, Anton Groenewald.

The Green Point Residents and Ratepayers’ Association has supported the plan in part, not wishing to see ‘blanket’ business rights for the area.

While the financial benefits of generating more income from the attractive and well positioned Cape Town Stadium have merit, we cannot see the proposed commercialisation thereof having any benefit to Cape Town’s positioning as an events, investment, and tourist destination, as claimed by the City of Cape Town. The City of Cape Town does not have a good track record of running tourism nor of organising events, the 8 Nations Under 20 soccer tournament which finished last week being embarrassing proof of this!

POSTSCRIPT 9/6: Interesting is an article in the Cape Argus, which reports that the City of Cape Town’s MyCiTi bus service ‘could need a R500 million yearly subsidy’, making the cost of the Cape Town Stadium look like small change!  This is not its running cost – the City of Cape Town approved a R1,2 billion budget for the public transport system for the  2012/2013 financial year!

POSTSCRIPT 14/6: Exciting news is that Manchester United will play a friendly match against Ajax Cape Town at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday 21 July. Ticket prices will range from R150 – R350. The cost to the City of Cape Town is R7 million, Councillor Grant Pascoe is quoted as saying in Business Day, and 100 international journalists are expected to cover the event.

POSTSCRIPT 18/6: Even more exciting news is that Lady Gaga is coming to Cape Town on 3 December, for the ‘Born this Way Ball’ world concert tour, one of 110 in total.  The concert will be at the Cape Town Stadium.

POSTSCRIPT 29/6: The Cape Argus has reported that 23000 tickets were sold in the first 24 hours of ticket sales opening up for the Manchester United match. On City of Cape Town Councillor Grant Pascoe’s Twitter timeline we have read that ticket sales have now exceeded 39000. A total of 50000 tickets is for sale.  The newspaper also reported that a special Guinness Book of World Records attempt to have the largest number of persons collectively singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to Nelson Mandela in one place. Councillor Pascoe has justified spending R 6,1 million, with an income benefit of R2 million, because of the tourism benefit of the event. To date no such tourism benefit is evident!

POSTSCRIPT 29/6:  Earlier this week activist’ Terry Crawford-Brown has been vocal in The Times, in the Cape Argus, and the Atlantic Sun in calling for the demolition of the R 4 billion ‘white elephant’ Cape Town Stadium, and accused FIFA of ‘blackmailing‘ the city into building the stadium. The stadium’s construction was ‘unconstitutional‘, he claimed, given that the building of the stadium was not open, transparent, fair, nor cost-effective.  Councillor Pascoe clearly is annoyed by Mr Crawford-Brown’s communication, having refused to comment on it to The Times, and Tweeting disparagingly about it.

POSTSCRIPT 29/6:  The City’s design of the new Green Point Athletics Stadium, on the site of the original Green Point Stadium and adjacent to Cape Town Stadium, is disappointing, wrote Rashiq Fataar and Robert Bowen of Future Cape Town, in only allowing for 7000 spectator seats, reported the Cape Argus this week. The duo also is critical of its unexciting design, and not being worthy of Cape Town, lacking ‘a spirit and a character’.

POSTSCRIPT 29/6: The Times reported a week ago that the Green Point Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association are ‘set to go to war with council’ over any new developments relating to Cape Town Stadium.  In building the stadium, the Green Point community was promised in 2006 that the commercial development of the previous Green Point Common would not be allowed. The association feels that the planned commercialisation would not cover the cost shortfall.

POSTSCRIPT 1/7: Councillor Pascoe has told the Cape Argus that demolishing the stadium is not an option! Capetonians polled by the newspaper showed that locals are proud of the world-class stadium and its design, and call for it to become the home of Western Province rugby.

POSTCRIPT 1/7: From Tweets seen it would appear that the Manchester United – Ajax Cape Town match at Cape Town Stadium is sold out.

POSTSCRIPT 4/7: Horror of horrors for Green Point residents: notorious ANC City Councillor and COSATU provincial secretary Tony Ehrenreich is creating outrage by his suggestion that the stadium be used for low cost housing! The Green Point Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association has rejeceted the proposal, as the title deed does not allow it, reports The Times.

POSTSCRIPT 19/7: The R81 million Green Point Athletics Stadium, being built in the shadow of the Cape Town Stadium, is having Green Point residents fear that a second white elephant is about to appear on their doorstep, reports People’s Post. They also fear the noise levels which could be emanating from the new stadium.

POSTSCRIPT 26/7: The Times reported yesterday that the City of Cape Town has approved the rezoning of the ‘Green Point‘ (sic) Stadium for commercial activity. It will now seek approval from the Western Cape province ‘to amend the land use rights’ for the Cape Town Stadium.

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

Restaurant Review: Bella Lucia restaurant is belissimo!

I had heard about Bella Lucia Ristorante Italiano, which had opened in chic Chelsea in Wynberg in April, from my friend Mark, who raved about the new Mediterranean restaurant.    It serves excellent food and wines at very reasonable prices, and is an asset for the Southern Suburbs, which is not blessed with many good restaurants.

The restaurant belongs to Nicola Gross, who bought the restaurant when it was called Lippo’s.  She named the restaurant after her beautiful daughter Lucia.  She added the space of a neighbouring hairdresser, doubling the size of the restaurant, and added a deck section upstairs which will become home to a cocktail bar in the next two weeks.  The restaurant looked as if it had only two tables when I first peeked through the door, in-between its lunch and dinner opening times.  The second section is much larger, and a total of 60 patrons can be seated.  Decor is minimalist, and I loved the large decorative silver knife, fork and spoon on the wall, embodying in a focused manner what the restaurant is all about.  The words COOK and EAT on the wall are part of the decor, and there is nothing else on the walls.

The restaurant has a clean, smart yet friendly look to it, all in white furniture with red seating, and white tablecloth-covered tables.   Elegant olive oil and balsamic vinegar bottles are on the tables.  The cutlery and glassware is of good quality, but the paper serviette was a disappointment.  The waiter Keith was most friendly, and very proactive – he noticed a slight wobble of the table, due to the grooves between the floor tiles, and brought a remedy to stabilise it.

The menu is a mix of Mediterranean dishes, and others.   The starters are mostly Italian, including parma ham wrapped quail (R70), mozzarella and artichoke salad (R65), potato gnocchi with pear, blue cheese and leeks (R60), and duck risotto (R65).   Mains range in cost from R70 – R105, commendable in keeping so close to the R100 mark, and include confit duck leg, sirloin streak, braised lamb shank, fish and chips, a Bella Lucia Pie, and more.  I ordered the wonderful Wild Mushroom sauce and homemade  Pappardelle pasta, drizzled with truffle oil, and presented with rocket and large shavings of Parmesan cheese (R65).  I was in-between appointments, and had been badly held up by road works on the M3, and therefore time did not allow me to have anything additional than a perfect frothy cappuccino, at a total cost of R 81.  Desserts include Amarula pannacotta, tiramisu, chocolate pot with mascarpone, caramelised lemon tart and more, none costing more than R50.  A new lighter summer menu will be launched next week.

David Winton is the chef, and was previously at Salt Restaurant at the Ambassador Hotel.  David told me that the neighbourhood is very supportive of the restaurant, and that an increasing number of regulars come back to host special celebrations at the restaurant.   David and his team are offering good food and a relaxed atmosphere.

The winelist is on the reverse of the laminated menu, and simply classifies the wines as “Bubbles”, Whites, Reds, and Dessert wines.  Vintages are specified but the region of origin is not.  Bubblies range from Pierre Jourdan Brut Sauvage (R205) to Guy Charbaut Premier Cru (R650).  Seven wines-by-the-glass range from a reasonable R35 (R90-95 per bottle) for Petit Chenin Ken Forrester, Waterford Pecan Stream, Groote Post Old Mans Blend and Slow Wine Rosé, to R60/R150 for the Constantia Uitsig Unwooded Chardonnay.  A good and very reasonably priced red wine selection is available, with six wines-by-the-glass (Waterford Pebble Hill, KC Cabernet Merlot, Landskroon Paul de Villiers Shiraz, Beyerskloof Pinotage, Sterhuis Merlot and Terre del Capo San Giovese) ranging in price from R40/R95 – R50/R140.  It clearly is better value to order a bottle than a glass of wine at Bella Lucia. 

I cannot wait to go back in two weeks’ time, when I return to the Southern Suburbs, to try the new summer menu.  

Bella Lucia Ristorante Italiano, 19 Wolfe Street, Chelsea, Wynberg, Cape Town.  Tel (021) 762-3855.   www.bellalucia.co.za (The website is as minimalist as the restaurant decor, but has lots of lovely photographs in its Gallery, and contains the menu as well as winelist.  It is the perfect benchmark for a restaurant website).  Tuesdays – Saturdays.  11h30 – 14h30 and 16h30 – 21h30.

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