At the presentation of the 2016 Prescient Chardonnay Report at SMITH Studio on Wednesday afternoon, Winemag.co.za Editor Christian Eedes said that South African Chardonnay at the top end had ‘never looked so good‘! The number of awards presented to Chardonnay wines scoring 90 or more out of a quality score of 100 points was testimony to his enthusiasm about the category.
On Thursday evening I attended the launch of the South African leg of the Global Pizza Challenge, a project which belongs to Chef Arnold Tanzer from Johannesburg and Martin Kobald from Australia. South African pizza makers have done well in the past seven years of the competition.
I almost did not make the function, which was held at the offices of Dish Food & Social, giving us a street address of 423 Main Road in Observatory. A building marked 423a on one side of a Shell garage was visible, but not the street number on Main Road that we were searching for in the near dark, which turned out to be on the other side of the petrol station. To complicate matters the entrance gate is in a side road off Main Road! Having survived the panic of finding the venue, it was great to catch up with Chef Arnold, whom I had met last year on a Media Day for MasterChef SA Season 2 at Nederburg.
Before we got into pizzas, we caught up about Season 3 of MasterChef SA, which is being filmed at the moment and will continue until June. The series will be broadcast from August onwards. Chef Arnold did not answer all my questions, such as if there would be two broadcasts per week again as in Season 2. He would not discuss how strict new MasterChef SA judge Reuben Robertsons Riffel is with the contestants, given that he may not want to rock the boat! We talked about the very honest and harsh review by Chef Arnold of Aarya, the Montecasino restaurant, the use of which Deena Naidoo won for a two year period in winning MasterChef SA Season 1. We chatted about how low key Season 2 winner Kamini Pather is, not being visible,and not (yet) having created her planned food communication channel, as she announced when she won. As before, there will be guest chefs. Continue reading →
Last night’s episode 22 of MasterChef SA was a tough one, the Finalists being criticised by both the guests who were invited to evaluate the cooking, and by Chef Pete Goffe-Wood. A surprise was seeing Chef Deena Naidoo, Season 1 winner of MasterChef SA, back on the screen again!
Having returned from Ethiopia, the six Finalists and the judges made a stop in Johannesburg, at the new Chinatown in Cyrildene. The first Chinese came to our country during the gold rush in the 1800’s. Executive Chef Chang an Song from Tsogo Sun, one of the best Asian chefs in the country, Chef Benny Masekwameng said, demonstrated Peking Duck, Continue reading →
The most bizarre restaurant review I have ever read (other than the weird ones by IntertwEAT) is the one for Aarya at Montecasino, the restaurant which MasterChef SA Season 1 winner Deena Naidoo ‘co-owns’ with Tsogo Sun, which was part of his R8 million prize package last year. It was not a good review at all.
When Chef Deena was announced as the winner at the end of MasterChef SA Season 1, he was reported to have complained to a City Press reporter about the deceitful prize, in that he would not be receiving the R 7 million restaurant to keep, as was intimated in all the MasterChef SA publicity throughout the Season 1 screening, the restaurant portion having made this the largest prize ever for a South African reality show, M-Net boasted at the time. Chef Deena, with the help of M-Net’s PR department, quickly issued a media statement, denied Chef Deena’s criticism of Tsogo Sun, and he gushed with delight about his prize. Embarrassingly for the hotel group, Chef Deena declared that he had no intention of resigning from his job at Nedbank in Durban, or moving to Johannesburg. Tsogo Sun allowed Chef Deena to take on the restaurant prize on his terms – he would remain working at Nedbank, visiting the restaurant five days a month. He was also allowed to rename the restaurant Aarya, after his daughter (left), and was involved in its interior decor, mainly featuring posters of the Season 1 Finalists. On Twitter we have seen both praise and criticism of the restaurant since it opened in November. Continue reading →