On Sunday La Residence impressed with the fundraising lunch it hosted to raise monies for the Stuart McFarlane Foundation, to assist in finding a cure for Motor Neuron Disease, a disease which Stuart McFarlane, previous GM of La Residence, suffers from (as does Joost van der Westhuizen), and for which there is no cure currently.
La Residence GM Edward Morton and events manager Chantell Viljoen created the Stuart McFarlane Foundation, and sent out a mailer to encourage support for the Foundation, by attending a lunch in honour of Stuart, for which we paid R500 a head. The grand entrance room, which is a lounge and dining room all in one, looked magnificent, with one long table set for 45 persons. I was lucky to sit next to Jo Sinfield, the co-owner of Deluxe Coffeeworks in Franschhoek and who has hospitality interests too, and opposite Ali Macfarlane from Inspirational Places, and her fiancé Carl. Many guests present were from the hospitality industry, having worked with Stuart at La Residence, its sister property Birkenhead House in Hermanus, Singita, and at Ellerman House. Fireplaces were lit and made the room cosy, on a grey winter’s day. Guest of honour, Kfm’s Elana Afrika, was her bubbly self, and was amazing in networking around the table, and remembering the names of almost all the guests present. She reminded us that ‘giving is a must’, and mentioned her radio station’s ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ campaign it runs regularly, making one realise that there are others with bigger problems than those that we have.
A few speeches were made, donations were auctioned to raise further funds, and a good time was had by all, the saxophonist adding a high note to the event. Wines were from the Felicité range from Newton Johnson in Hermanus, at which wine estate Stuart works now, and we were offered a choice of Chardonnay 2011 and Pinot Noir 2011, the latter being an excellent example of one of the wine varieties that the Hemel en Aarde valley is famous for.
Chef Leonard Marais went to great lengths to serve a feast, canapés having been served with the Rosé sparkling wine on arrival. On sitting down, we were served a free-range chicken, pistachio nut and asparagus terrine, served with a fine salad, spiced apple chutney, as well as melba toast, and a basket of home-baked breads and rolls. This was followed by a Corn Chowder, a colourful warm soup for a cold day.
For the main course we were served a generous portion of oven-roasted leg of lamb, garlic and herb potato gratin, cumin glazed young carrots, fine beans, beetroot sprouts, and a rosemary jus. For dessert we had a baked pear pudding, which was served with a delicious home-made Fererro Rocher ice cream.
La Residence, and The Royal Portfolio owners Phil and Liz Biden, impressed with their generosity in hosting the lunch and donating some of the prizes for the auction. The elite boutique hotel, at which Elton John stays when he performs in Cape Town, is the best of its kind in Franschhoek, and showed its friendliness and demonstrated its heart for others in organising the lunch and in creating the Foundation for their ex-colleague Stuart McFarlane. Everyone attending not only enjoyed Chef Leonard’s excellent lunch but also felt good about doing good for someone else.
La Residence, Elandskloof Road, Franschhoek. Tel ()21) 876-4100 www.laresidence.co.za Twitter: @LaResidence Lunch and dinner on request and subject to availability for outside guests.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage