Tag Archives: Coco Reinarhz

Col’Cacchio ‘Celebrity Chef’ Series 2013: eat good, do good!

Col’Cacchio has announced the ‘Celebrity Chefs‘ who are endorsing its ‘Celebrity Chef’ Series 2013, none of whom are in fact ‘celebrity’ nor chefs linked to a restaurant!  Despite the misnomer, the concept of the promotion is a noble one, as R5 of each of the Celebrity Series pizzas goes to the Red Cross Children’s Hospital, which does excellent work in caring for children from all over Africa.  A donation of around R100000 can be expected from the pizza promotion this year.

Last year I attended the awards evening of the Col’Cacchio Pizza Challenge, in which pizza lovers competed for the honour of having their pizza added to the Col’Cacchio menu for the month of August, alongside pizzas designed by Chef Chris Erasmus from Pierneef à La Motte, Chef Jackie Cameron from Hartford House, and Chef Coco Reinarhz of Sel et Poivre.  This year Col’Cacchio has called for pizza lovers to enter their Pizza Challenge Live, Continue reading →

Col’Cacchio Celebrity Chef Series salutes local chefs and celebrates children!

The fourth annual Col’Cacchio Celebrity Chef Series 2012 was celebrated on Tuesday at the first pizza outlet branch opened by Kinga Baranowska and Michael Terespolsky on Hans Strijdom Avenue in the Cape Town city centre 20 years ago, with special chefs in attendance, and special pizzas tasted. All attending the event were left with the feel-good evidence that the Col’Cacchio’s Celebrity Chef Series is making a difference in its contribution to funding new developments at and upgrades of the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Cape Town.

The media event was an opportunity to introduce Pierneef à La Motte Chef Chris Erasmus and his July Col’Cacchio Celebrity Chef Series pizza, being the ‘Liplekker Ribbetjie’, which he demonstrated the making of at the event. Asking him about the first Afrikaans-named Col’Cacchio pizza, Chef Chris said that it was the dish that he had prepared when Pierneef à La Motte opened almost two years ago, and comes from theCape Winelands Cuisine’ cookbook, of which he was a collaborator, now served on a pizza.  The pizza consists of a bechamel base infused with roasted garlic and rosemary, topped with mozzarella, smoked and braised lamb soutribbetjie, caramelised onion, pears poached in port, fresh rocket, and a sprinkling of rosemary salt. Chef Chris radiated passion when he shared that he had decided to get involved due to its good work in benefiting the Red Cross Children’s Hospital, having a young 3 year old son himself.  He warmed to little 7 year old Mia, who attended the function with her parents, having undergone a liver transplant at the hospital three years ago. The young star stole the show, especially when Chef Chris picked her up and the cameras flashed.

R5 of every Celebrity Chef Series Signature Pizza Collection pizza costing R85 goes to the Red Cross Children’s Hospital Trust, which raises monies for upgrades of existing facilities at one of the best paediatric hospitals in Africa, and the purchase of new equipment.  We were told that more than R500000 has been donated to the Trust in the past three years, and that close to R86000 has already been raised from the Celebrity Chef Series pizza sales in May and June this year, higher than in previous years of the promotion.  In May Chef Jackie Cameron’s ‘Cape Funghi Pizza Delight‘ was the Celebrity Chef Series pizza, and in June it was Chef’s Coco Reinarhz’s ‘Bujumbura’ pizza, made with mozzarella, oven roasted brinjals, North African chicken tangine, green olives, preserved lemons, fresh coriander, drizzled with a coriander-infused yoghurt.

In the past the Col’Cacchio Celebrity Pizza Series has been run over the four winter months, a well-known chef lending his or her name to a pizza design each month.  This year the pizza design for August was thrown open to a consumer Pizza Challenge competition, the designer of the best pizza winning the honour of having her pizza on the Celebrity Chef Series menu for all of August, and a year’s supply of free pizza. Chef Chris and MasterChef SA Judge and Chef Benny Masekwameng were the judges in choosing the winner out of the top three pizza finalists. As we have got to know Chef Benny from MasterChef SA, ever the gentleman, he said that all three the finalist pizzas were good enough to be served in restaurants like Col’Cacchio:

*  Jessica Comninos’ ‘Liu Loren‘ pizza was designed as a ‘sexy‘ mix of Italian and Asian ingredients (tomato base, mozzarella, Asian marinated chicken, oven-caramelised apricots, fresh thyme, spring onion, fresh coriander, and drizzled with honey soy and orange reduction). The name of her pizza comes from two actress icons from these two regions: Sophia Loren and Lily Liu of Charlie’s Angels, Jessica explained.  The judges said that it was ‘addictive’, and one of the best ever eaten, perfect to be eaten while watching a movie.

*   ‘Salmon Dragon‘ was the entry by Keren Swanson, her pizza covered with mozzarella, braised rocket, smoked salmon, pickled ginger, spring onion, wasabi infused sour cream, and finished off with red salmon roe and balsamic glaze. Chef Chris described it as ‘sushi in a pizza‘, and ideal for summer next to a pool.

*   Stephanie Burtenshaw designed the ‘Baa Baa Black Sheep’ pizza, which consists of a tomato base, mozzarella, feta, lamb stew, fresh garlic slivers, rosemary, finished off with honey pumpkin seed praline, and fresh basil leaves.  The pizza is ideal for winter, the judges said.

Chef Chris said that at least 40 chefs had submitted their nominations in the Pizza Challenge, and therefore praised the three finalists for making it so far. The creative pizza names could be a lesson for pizza restaurants, in creating intrigue and interest. It was Jessica’s ‘Liu Loren’ pizza that was chosen as the winner.  She said of her creation: I grew up under the culinary expertise of my dad, who loves to experiment with different Thai flavours. His signature dish is a Thai-inspired Peking duck 5 course meal which includes the fragrant flavours of garlic, ginger, chilli, lemongrass and coriander. These Thai staples made every meal my favourite and I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate my favourite flavours than on a pizza!”

Sandi Sher of the Red Cross Children’s Hospital Trust said the funds raised this year will go to funding an upgrade of the B2 General Medical ward of the hospital, dealing with infectious diseases and general medical cases. The hospital was built 56 years ago,  and treats children with chronic illnesses from South Africa and other countries in Africa. The Trust was launched eighteen years ago, as a fund raising body, and none of the monies are used to fund administrative costs, emphasised Sandi.

Co-owner Michael Terespolsky emphasised that they are a ‘slow food’ pizza franchise, with 20 outlets currently, the ribbetjie for Chef Chris’ pizza taking seven hours of slow cooking, for example. ‘That is why chefs like working with Col’Cacchio’ on the Celebrity Chef Series promotion, he said.

Seeing the enjoyment of little Mia in cutting shapes out of the pizza dough it seemed that it would be good idea if Col’Cacchio could make pizzas for the Red Cross Children’s Hospital, pizzas being loved by children, and they could become the ‘chicken soup’ for sick little people!

Disclosure: All guests attending received a slab of Lindt chocolate and a pizza slicer.

Col’Cocchia Celebrity Chef Series 2012. www.colcacchio.co.za.  Twitter: @ColCacchio

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

MasterChef SA episode 5: harvests Finalists’ cooking skills, keeps it simple!

Episode 5 of MasterChef SA seemed all over the show last night, incorporating a Harvest Celebration lunch for 40 Nederburg staff, a Franco-African gourmet lamb dish, interspersed with a quick visit by Chef Michael Broughton, challenging a broad spectrum of cooking skills of the Finalists, and resulting in the elimination of Berdina Schurink. The episode lacked the tension of the previous four, and it was described as ‘boring’ and an ‘embarrassment‘ by some viewers after the show.  This episode allowed one to see and hear more of the Finalists.

The Harvest Celebration lunch was a nice idea, given Nederburg’s sponsorship of MasterChef SA, and it allowed filming on the wine estate, and for the lunch to be served outside the striking historical Cape Dutch manor house.  The 16 Finalists were divided into the Red and Blue Team, last week’s winners Manisha Naidu and Samantha Nolan having been elected as team leaders, and each choosing seven Finalists for their teams. The brief was to prepare two courses, the Blue Team led by Manisha, serving a Tapas starter, quail (stuffed by Lwazi Mngoma, something he’d never prepared before, he said), ostrich, and chicken (rolled by Mmutsi Maseko, who held up the pace) served with a mushroom and white wine sauce.  The Red Team led by Samantha prepared a pork shoulder (which Chef Pete Goffe-Wood did not allow to be served initially as it was not cooked on the open fire for long enough), an Asian sauce, asparagus custard, as well as a pear and peach tart in phyllo pastry, made by Thys Hattingh. Both teams had two hours to prepare their dishes, and the Red team ran a little late in their preparation.  Khaya Silingile poured the wine and served the food for the Blue team, and her Marketing profession showed in the ‘marketing’ of her teams’ dishes for votes, while Sarel Loots introduced the Red team’s work in Afrikaans, a clever move, given that most of the Nederburg staff were probably Afrikaans-speaking. The guests had to vote by placing a basket of grapes on a trailer representing their vote, and the first team to reach 21 votes was declared the winner, being the Red team. Thys’ dessert probably clinched the winning vote for the team.

Michael Broughton is an Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant chef at Terroir at Kleine Zalze in Stellenbosch, and his involvement in the program was not pre-announced.  He was the ‘reward’ for the Red team for winning, and he conducted an exclusive Masterclass for the team, styling a beautiful dessert, and showing them how to prepare fish, presented very quickly.  The take-out for the Finalists was that ‘keeping it simple and making it look beautiful is enough’, said Sue-Ann Allen.

Pre-announced was the participation of Chef Coco Reinarhz of Sel et Poivre and Le Petit Sel Bistro in Johannesburg, cooking Franco-African fusion cuisine, and proudly promoting the ‘unique beauty, fine flavours and unsurpassed richness of African cuisine‘, the restaurant’s website states.  He has co-authored a cookbook about African Cuisine with Anna Trapido.  Chef Coco originates from Burundi. He spoke with a beautiful French accent, and was firm in his evaluation of the food prepared for him.  Nice was the collegiality from the other Finalists, giving tips from above, for example how to get to the heart of the artichokes. The judges discussed that cooking to time is a reality for restaurants, always under time pressure.  Chef Pete looked smart in a white hat while the Harvest Celebration was filmed, and even wore a suit for Michael Broughton’s visit, not suiting his more relaxed lifestyle. For the first time Chef Andrew Atkinson looked more relaxed, and did not wear a jacket nor a waistcoat.

Out of the losing Blue team of eight, team leader Manisha was asked to chose the three ‘weakest’ members of her team for the Harvest Celebration lunch to go into the ‘Pressure Test‘, and she chose Berdina (for having done the least in preparing the lunch, she said), Mmutsi (for having been slow in preparing the chicken rolls), and most commendably, demonstrating her leadership skills, she volunteered herself, for being the team leader and therefore responsible for the outcome.  Chef Coco showed the three ‘Pressure Test’ Finalists his perfectly plated and cooked rack of lamb, with artichokes, breadcrumbs and baba ganoush, and they were given 90 minutes to replicate his dish. Berdina had cooked a perfect lamb dish for her Hot dish audition, but she seemed distraught at having to go into the ‘Pressure Test’ for the second time.  She approached her meat ‘like a skillful surgeon’, commented Deena Naidoo, the other 13 Finalists watching from above. Berdina said confidently that she had prepared many a rack of lamb before, but she spent too much time on its preparation, and too little on its cooking, it being underdone and ‘disappointing‘, said Chef Pete Goffe-Wood, especially relative to her perfect Hot Dish audition. They loved her plating (photograph below), it looking very similar to that by Chef Coco, reminding the Finalists that one eats ‘with one’s eyes too’. Manisha admitted that lamb is not her strength, and that she was not confident in its preparation, having ‘a history of overcooking’ her meat.  She was mocked by Chef Coco when she said that she had not tasted her lamb before serving it, it being the main element of her dish. The look of her dish was described as a ‘bit rustic’, the breadcrumbs were judged to be too chunky, as was the baba ganoush, but the sauce was nicely reduced.  Mmutsi likes to cook meat ’till I kill it’, and preparing it medium was a new way to cook meat for her.  The judges were complimentary about her dish, praising her well seasoned lamb and great jus.

Berdina was eliminated by the judges, and she wept when she said that she had sacrificed so much to be at MasterChef South Africa, and is determined to be a chef. She was encouraged to keep cooking, to ‘express her amazing passion’, and was told that her cooking journey is only beginning now.  On Twitter many viewers expressed that it was unfair that Berdina was eliminated.

Being largely a group exercise in episode 5, there was no Finalist that stood out in this episode in terms of cooking skills, making the question as to who will be MasterChef South Africa still unpredictable at this stage.

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