FitChef Mediterranean fresh veg Whale CottageLast night I was invited to the first media launch in the country of FitChef, a new service of healthy meals and smoothies delivered into one’s home, as per one’s chosen mealplan.  A range of options is offered, including Banting/LCHF, detox and weight loss, vegetarian, and wellness. More than 50000 meal portions and 35000 smoothies are sold around the country monthly.

Developed by founder Wayne Kaminsky, who told us that he was a superfit sportsman, participating in Ironman and Cape Epic challenges, and needing to find a more healthy eating pattern to lose weight.  He was using antibiotics, and could let them go when the benefits of the ‘clean eating’ came to the fore.  He moved more and more to healthy foods which he enjoyed cooking, making a batch of portions over weekends, and finding them selling well when he posted photographs of them on Facebook.  He started FitChef three years ago, and the Cape region was opened a year ago.  Wayne has tremendous energy, and his food preparation skills were impressive, preparing our dinner simultaneously at 10 food stations, at each of which a different dish was prepared.  He had prepared some of the dishes, and talked us through each food preparation station, each containing a different set of ingredients for a dish to be made. I noticed that a lot of ingredients came from Woolworths, but Wayne said that they prefer to use Pick ‘n Pay products. I questioned Wayne about his use of some Robertsons products, and he said that it was just for our dinner, and that they use fresh herbs in the factory food preparation. (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   A Global March for Rhinos and Elephants will be held on Saturday 4 October, with South Africa, the USA, Germany, Botswana, Kenya, the United Arab Emirates, Ireland, Italy, and Mozambique being some of the countries participating. World Travel Market (WTM) Africa staff will also participate in the march in Cape Town, as one of its social responsibility projects. The march calls for a total ban on the trade of ‘wildlife body parts’.  WTM Africa runs from 15 – 17 April.

*   The Bureau of Economic Research quarterly survey has found a sharp drop in the expectation of business growth for the Accommodation sector in the third quarter (July – September), at 9%, compared to the previous winter period of April – June, which showed a 22% growth expectation. For the last quarter of this year, growth of 16% is expected. All other business sectors surveyed are showing negative growth expectations. The overall Western Cape business growth expectation in the second quarter was 15%, is an estimated 20% for the third quarter, and 31 % for the 4th quarter, whereas all other provinces show negative growth experience and expectations. (received via e-mail from the Bureau of Economic Research)

*   Luvey ‘n Rose is offering an interesting Cigar Appreciation Evening on 7 October, with Roque, a professional cigar roller from (more…)

Hayden Quinn 12 Rhinos Whale CottageLast night’s episode 12 of ‘Hayden Quinn: South Africa‘ showed many South Africans an area of the country they have little exposure to, being Shakaland, a Zulu Cultural Centre, where Quinn was exposed to Zulu stick fighting, dancing, and traditional food and beer. The link to Woolworths in rhino spotting and to Shakaland is not clear, other than that Woolworths sells Rhino-themed shopper bags.

The Wildlife ACT (African Conservation Trust) Rhino monitor guide Zama Ncube took Quinn and Justin Smith, Head of Sustainability at Woolworths, to track black and white rhino, finding fresh dung and tracks of the rhino in the thick grass, and they were able to spot them too. Woolworths’ shopper bags with rhino visuals were plugged, as was the My Planet shopper card, proceeds of which go to the Wildlife ACT program.  Hayden Quinn 12 Justin Smith and guide Whale CottageThe link between Woolworths’ Sustainability focus and Wildlife ACT was not explained.  Quinn then took to the skies in a helicopter, flown by pilot Etienne Gerber of the Zululand Anti-Poaching Wing of Project Rhino KZN, making it far easier to see the rhinos from above, and to control their movement and protection.  Quinn was spoilt with sightings of zebra, giraffe, and buck.  He was told that there are 20000 rhinos now.   (more…)

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*   ‘The Bachelor’ Australia is featuring Cape Town (with Table Mountain), the Winelands, and Pilanesberg Game Reserve in the last two episodes of the dating series, in which bachelor Blake Garvey shows the final three dates the beauty of the Cape.  The series has been produced by Channel Ten in Australia, in conjunction with the Australia country office of SA Tourism.  The publicity shot appears to have been taken at Delaire Graff.  Three complete series of ‘Der Bachelor‘ Germany have been shot in Camps Bay in the past three years.

*   A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Brazil and South Africa last week, to enhance the tourism relationship between the two countries.  Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom visited Sao Paulo to attend the opening of the new SA Tourism office in that city, and to visit the ABAV Travel Tradeshow.  Brazil is the last of the BRICS countries with which South Africa has signed such a Memorandum of Understanding.  Last year tourism from South Africa grew by 8%, and from Brazil close to 6%.

*   South African winemakers are getting younger, writes Wall Street Journal‘s Will Lyons, agreeing with UK wine writer (more…)

Manna Epicure SignageKloof Street has become known as the street in Cape Town with the most restaurants, at around 35 at the last count.   A number of the restaurants are fast-food, many are coffee shops open at day-time only, and few open for dinner.  Manna Epicure caters for hungry Capetonians looking for a friendly eating venue with unusual dishes at a reasonable price.

Agnes and Jonny (Johannes) van der Westhuizen are the fourth owners of Manna Epicure, it having achieved cult status when it opened in  2008, its coconut bread being an absolute hot.  The first owners were Jacques Erasmus, who looked after the baking side of things in particular, with co-owner Maranda Engelbrecht.  The partnership broke up, Jacques opening his heavenly Hemelhuijs in the city centre, and Maranda becoming a consultant chef to Babylonstoren. A short-term operator left soon after taking over, and then Betsie van der Merwe took over as owner, passionate, enthusiastic, and always visible to her customers.  All of a sudden she left, having sold the restaurant to Agnes and Jonny about a year ago.  The Van der Westhuizens met in London, according to the restaurant website,  and Agnes bravely followed her man to South Africa, and to Citrusdal in particular, where he grew up, and there they owned Die Sitrus restaurant.  Jonny is the chef, and Agnes does (more…)

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*   Morocco beat South Africa as the number one recipient of the 56 million tourists visiting Africa last year, with 10 million travelers, followed by South Africa (9,5 million), and Egypt (9,1 million).  Tunisia is 4th ranked, at 6 million, followed by Algeria (2,7 million), Mozambique (2,1 million), Zimbabwe (1,8 million), Kenya (1,6 million), Uganda (1,2 million), and Swaziland (1 million).

*   World Tourism Day was celebrated yesterday (27 September), and our Minister of Tourism ‘Derek Hannekom’ (sic), according to SA Tourism, said the priority of our local tourism industry should be on community development. He is encouraged by Voluntourism, whereby tourists visit our country and get involved in a  community project during their stay.  United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon echoes Minister Hanekom’s view, saying that Tourism assists in teaching communities skills, creates jobs, and generates business opportunities.

*   Western Cape Tourism Minister Alan Winde and an entourage cycled from Durbanville to his city centre office on Friday, to attract attention to the Western Cape as a cycle-friendly destination, and the new Cycle Tourism Framework.  The Minister said: (more…)

Sustainable SeafoodDespite good publicity for the WWF-SASSI classification of seafood available in restaurants, and for sale in supermarkets on MasterChef (Seasons 1 and 3), and on ‘Hayden Quinn: South Africa‘, a study has found that many consumers do not question the sustainability of the fish they buy!

A survey, conducted by Added Value for the World Wild Fund (WWF) campaign for its South Africa Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI) communication, concluded that most South African consumers do not consider sustainability when buying seafood, and almost half do not ask (more…)

CheckersThe Sweet Service Award goes to Checkers in Hermanus, and its supervisor Anita.  I called a number of outlets in Hermanus earlier this week, to check their price of HTH, and that sold by Checkers was by far the lowest.  Anita answered the phone promptly, unlike the other outlets.  Having struggled to open the difficult-to-open security closures on the buckets in the past, I asked Anita whether she could assist in getting someone to open it. I arrived ten minutes after the call,  and the HTH bucket was open, and ready and waiting for me! (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Cape Town’s biggest sporting event, the Cape Argus Cycle Tour, has been renamed the Cape Town Cycle Tour for 2015.  Entries for the Cycle Tour open today.

*   Infamous Irish chef and now restaurant consultant Conrad Gallagher, who left Cape Town under a cloud of debt, has set up shop in the Mother City again.  His website proudly brags about the restaurants to which he consults (a photograph he uses on his website is taken in chef’s uniform at the Table Bay Hotel).

*   Ajax Cape Town will make the Cape Town Stadium its new home ground for the next three soccer seasons, after a deal with the City of Cape Town, which was approved yesterday.  Councillor Garreth Bloor, Mayoral Committee Member for Tourism, Events, and Marketing, said the deal was part of the City’s goal to build (more…)

MasterChef 3 5 Eleven finalistsLast night’s MasterChef consisted of two parts – a happy team of eight Finalists driven to the home in the Karoo of cookbook writer Syddah Essop, and a nervous looking team of three Finalists who had to cook in the Pressure Test without electricity, which saw Ndumiso Mncwabe leaving the MasterChef SA kitchen.

The team met Syddah Essop, writer of ‘Karoo Kitchen‘, and she shared her knowledge about Karoo Cuisine with the Finalists.  Syddah grew up in Beaufort West, in the heart of the Karoo.  She traveled from farm to farm in the area with her father, who sought to protect the rights of farmers.  In this way she learnt a lot about the Karoo locals and their food.   It took her three years to compile ‘Karoo Kitchen’, as a salute to the culture and heritage of the Karoo.   The cookbook contains a diversity of local dishes, including standards such as melktert, rusks, Karoo lamb, and even sheep’s head!  The cookbook has received acclaim for documenting the Karoo cooking culture and heritage.  Syddah prepared a table full of Karoo delights for the Finalists. (more…)

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