Tag Archives: Culinary Capital

Franschhoek joins The Délice Network of Good Food Cities of the World!

The Tasting Room pink dishFranschhoek has joined The Délice Network of Good Food Cities of the World, an international network of cities promoting the benefits of culinary excellence and good food, in partnership with the Cape Winelands District Municipality.

The Délice Network has 21 member cities, including Barcelona, Madrid, Montreal, Lausanne, Milan, Copenhagen, Chicago, Gothenburg, Birmingham, Helsinki, and Brussels. It is the only city in the Continue reading →

Stellenbosch squeezes most out of its 2015 Wine Festival, poor website!

Stellenbosch Wine FestivalBilled as a three-day event but stretching over a week, the Stellenbosch Wine Festival presented by Pick ‘n Pay draws to a close today, with a feast of events offered.  It is the largest wine festival in the country, and the oldest.  The media blurb proudly brags that the Stellenbosch Wine Festival presents the best of Stellenbosch’s ‘great wine, gourmet food, breathtakingly beautiful nature, and performances by some of South Africa’s most popular musicians‘.

Held at the Coetzenburg Sports Grounds since Friday, 200 wines of 148 wine estates that make up the Stellenbosch Wine Routes are available to taste, creating a ‘virtual wine route‘.  The Pick ‘n Pay Wine Shop will sell Stellenbosch wines to drink at the Festival, to take home, or to ship back to one’s home destination.   Winemakers from Waterford Estate, Spier, Kleine Continue reading →

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 15/16 March

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   TravelMedia.ie has been appointed to handle the marketing of our country for SA Tourism in Ireland, with the number of tourists from Ireland expected to increase.  The marketing focus will be on our country’s music, art, fashion, adventure, and culinary travel.

*   The USA Department of Agriculture predicts that our country’s vine harvest will decrease by 5%, to 1,42 million metric tons, and that production will decrease to 1,1 billion bottles this year.  The export of wine is expected to decrease to 500 million litres.  Last year was regarded as a record year for South African wine exports due to the good harvest and the depreciation of the Rand.

*   The inaugural AfrAsia Bank Cape Wine Auction, which was held at Delaire Graff yesterday, raised a phenomenal R8,9 million for three charities related to education. (via Twitter and Facebook) (NOTE 17/3:  the Auction total has been officially revised to R7 million this morning)

*   Receiving only 5% of the world’s 1 billion  tourists, Africa needs to develop itself as a tourism brand, the Tourism and Culture Minister of the Seychelles has said.  Minister Alain St.Ange called on African leaders to enhance Africa’s tourism awareness.  ‘The African continent needs an African Brand. We need a brand that will promote our region in tourism trade fairs. We need a brand that will work hand in hand with United Nations World Tourism Organisation, the UNWTO body‘, he said.  Africa must work with Africa, he added. South African Tourism Minister van Schalkwyk appeared to disagree, calling for each African country to do its own destination marketing.  He did however call for easier visa application processing for travel within the continent.

*   Hard Rock Café has returned to South Africa, and has opened in Johannesburg.  Branches in Continue reading →

Masterchef SA cooking up a controversy already?

Instead of being delighted to have been selected as the judges for Masterchef SA in Johannesburg earlier this week, they looked utterly miserable in the photograph which M-Net posted on Facebook for the 18-programme series, which starts on M-Net on 20 March at 19h30, leading to immediate criticism.

Not only were the judges criticised for looking so glum, and for M-Net choosing such an inappropriate photograph, but the Facebook page also highlighted that all three judges are male, clearly not to their liking! I would like to add the criticism that only Chef Pete Goffe-Wood is from Cape Town, the gourmet centre of South Africa,  while Chefs Andrew Atkinson and Benny Masekwameng are from Johannesburg.  Good news is that Sam Linsell, a Cape Town (female) food stylist and blogger, has been appointed as food stylist for Masterchef SA, according to her Tweets, but her appointment has not been publicly announced by M-Net.

Masterchef is an international reality cooking competition for amateurs, and has been run in 33 countries. More than 10000 entries were received locally, and in December auditions were held in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg, using judges from the SA Chefs’ Association.  Later this month a shortlist of amateur cooks will appear before the judges, and the finalists will be selected. Cape Town’s reputation as ‘foodie capital’ was evident in the very high quality of dishes which the contestants prepared and in their impressive knowledge about food. Durban contestants were said to have been the most creative.   The stakes are incredibly high, with prizes to the value of R8 million being the highest payout of any reality television program in this country.  Robertson’s is offering R250000 in cash; the winner will receive a Hyundai Elantra;  a 7-day culinary experience in Italy is sponsored by Woolworths; Nederburg will offer a food and wine pairing course, cellarmaster Razvan Macici will do a one-on-one master class with the winner, and the winner receives a year’s supply of Nederburg Winemasters Reserve wine; and the crowning chef’s hat will be the running of MondoVino restaurant for a year, taking over Chef Bennie’s job.

Chef Pete Goffe-Wood is a colourful outspoken character, who was an Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant judge for a number of years, until the judging panel was thrown out by Eat Out editor Abigail Donnelly last year.  He is a judge of the San Pellegrino World ‘s 50 Best Restaurants, still judges the Eat In Produce Awards, is the owner of the Kitchen Cowboys Cookery School for men, has owned Wildwoods restaurant in Hout Bay and the restaurant at Nitida, and has been a consultant chef to SALT restaurant at the Ambassador Hotel and to Blues. He has been a food editor of GQ.  Bennie Masekwameng is the Executive Chef of MondoVino restaurant at Montecasino, while Andrew Atkinson is the Chef at Piccolo Mondo, and is a Director of the South African Chefs’ Association. Andrew has owned a catering company, cooking for VIP’s, and presented a series of 32 cooking programs on SABC 2 during the World Cup last year.  The Facebook writer for Masterchef SA has written that the judges were concentrating on their briefing, to explain their stern look in the photograph!

The judges have said that they are looking for passion, planning, personality, and experimentation, in selecting South Africa’s top amateur Master Chef.  There is no doubt that Masterchef SA will become the most talked about TV programme on Social Media from March onwards, if the reaction last year to Masterchef Australia is anything to go by.  Masterchef USA starts airing on M-Net on 16 January at 6 pm, with judges Gordon Ramsay, Joe Bastianich, and Graham Elliot.

POSTSCRIPT 8/1:  It would appear that top local chefs will be invited to judge individual sessions.  As soon as their names have been confirmed, we will add them to this blogpost.

POSTSCRIPT 8/1: Interestingly, the link to this blogpost, which we added to the Masterchef SA Facebook page this morning, has been removed.

POSTSCRIPT 30/1: The Cape Town leg of Masterchef South Africa commenced at Nederburg today.  The venue has not been officially announced by M-Net, but was mentioned by Nederburg Tasting Room staff a week ago. From Tweets this morning, judge Pete Goffe-Wood and stylist Sam Linsell will be spending the following six weeks at their Masterchef South Africa shoot location.

POSTSCRIPT 6/2:  An official media release received from Nederburg’s media agency today has confirmed that the Masterchefs SA series is being shot at the wine estate, being its wine sponsor too.  “This could well be the loveliest venue ever chosen for a MasterChef series anywhere in the world’, says Anne Davis, M-Net’s senior commissioning editor of the series.  “We wanted to shoot in the Winelands because Cape vineyards are immediately recognisable to local and international viewers as distinctly South African.  The Western Cape is also the culinary capital of South Africa and has great access to fresh produce”.  Nederburg revamped its 1000 square meter Johan Graue Auction Hall to become a 20-station MasterChef kitchen with state-of-the-art appliances and utensils, in which the 18-series programmes will be filmed.

POSTSCRIPT 7/2: Sam Linsell, stylist for MasterChef SA, although never formally announced as such by M-Net, parted ways after a week of shooting, announcing her departure as follows on Twitter on 5 February: “It was love at first sight, a whirlwind relationship but with little in common, Masterchef and I have parted ways. Disappointed & relieved”.

POSTSCRIPT 14/3: Chef Vannie Padayachee, now living in Franschhoek again, was involved with MasterChef SA for the past 5 weeks, testing the recipes of the participants, she told me today.  She has signed a confidentiality contract with M-Net, and will share her MasterChef SA experience with us once the programme series starts airing.

POSTSCRIPT 14/3: On Twitter today we saw that a new MasterChef SA recipe book will be published by Human & Rosseau in October.

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