Bastille Marquee inside Whale CottageThe Sweet Service Award goes to the Franschhoek Wine Valley and DnA Event Management, for a superb organisation of the Bastille Festival two weekends ago.  The perfect weather, the new massive marquee, and new location next to the Huguenot Monument met with great acclaim from visitors as well as participating visitors, and even the shop owners and restaurateurs on the main road were happy, despite their initial reservations about the marquee moving out of the centre of the village.  The only complaint from some visitors was the many drunk revellers crossing the main road without concern for motorists.   A heavy presence of Stellenbosch Traffic police on Saturday helped to keep some of the problems under control. (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   SA Tourism CEO Thulani Nzima seems to have making a rare visit to Cape Town, the jewel in the tourism crown, where he has come to attend the Mercedes-Benz  Cape Town Fashion Week at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.  He is upbeat about tourism to our country, saying it is ‘the new mining!  It is good to hear him compliment our city, which receives the bulk of international tourists to our country: ‘It is endowed with natural beauty. No matter how other provinces want to compete, they don’t have Table Mountain, Robben Island, the wine routes’.  Good media coverage for Cape Town, as well as its conference facilities benefit Cape Town.  When asked about the new Immigration Regulations he said that he would wait for the Ministers of Tourism and Home Affairs to discuss the impact of the Regulations on tourism.

*   Lovers of the MasterChef cooking series can now join a MasterChef Cruise around the Caribbean from 8 – 15 November, passengers being put through their paces in a  number of challenges including Pressure Tests and Mystery Boxes.   MasterChef judge Graham Elliot, and past winners of the series will be taking the passengers through the cooking programme, which includes blind taste tests, making macaroons, sushi, pasta, cocktails, all leading to a winner chosen as the MasterChef Cruise Champion.

*  The Bacardi Legacy Global Cocktail Competition 2015 has kicked off, seeking the best cocktail in the country.  The competition (more…)

Chopped SA TitleHaving attended the launch of Food Networks’  ‘Chopped South Africa’ at Jenny Morris’ Chef’s Playground a week ago, we were shown most of the first episode of the programme, so the four contestants for the first episode last night were familiar to us.   Feedback on Social Media was varied, Chef Jenny Morris being praised for her supportive yet honest feedback to the chef contestants.

Packaging the preparation and evaluation of a three-course meal into a 45 minute programme was a tough challenge, which meant that everything had to be prepared chop-chop, the contestants being given 20 minutes to prepare their main course, and 30 minutes each for their main course and starter, being very tight and unrealistic timing deadlines.   The time pressure made it hard to follow which chef’s dish was being evaluated at times.  There also was little time for the contestant chefs to explain which additional ingredients they had chosen from the pantry, in addition to the mystery basket of ingredients.  The local ingredients such as mebos, putu pap, and koeksisters were not well explained to foreign viewers.

Chopped South Africa‘ follows the format of the American ‘Chopped’, and is broadcast on Food Network on channel 175 on Monday evenings at 21h00.    It is the first professional chef reality TV competition in South Africa, and the first international adaptation of the programme.  The local version was created due to the series’ very strong following in our country, with 25000 (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company is closing for its annual maintenance from 28 July to 10 August, to meet the standards of the Swiss Governing Body for Cableways.   The Cableway originates from Switzerland.

*   Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Cape Town will be held from tomorrow until Saturday, organised by African Fashion International with sponsorship support from the City of Cape Town.  The fashion industry has an important impact on the economy of the Cape.  During the event, 27 designers will present their collections over 15 shows.

*   Reuben Robertsons Pop-Up and Pop-In Riffel is travelling through Africa with the Land Rover Africa magazine and TV crew, driving 6500 km from Cape Town to Dar es Salaam.   The purpose of the feature is to promote overland tourism to Sub- (more…)

Restaurnt Complaints CRO_Page11_GripeOMeter_08-14An American survey conducted amongst 1000 diners has revealed that dirty cutlery and table tops (76%) is the most off-putting aspect of eating out in a restaurant.

Complaints relating to food are too much nutritional information provided (16%) or too little (14%), water not being brought to the table spontaneously (27%), the food not look or taste as described in the menu (54%), the food or beverages served at the wrong temperature (66%), and not being served what one ordered (62%).

Gripes abound about waiters: the wrong dish being given to the wrong person at the table (17%), service being slow (51%), feeling rushed to eat (61%), errors on the bill (48%), a tip of 18%+ added automatically (50%), called ‘dear’ or ‘honey‘ (24%), sloppy dress and poor hygiene (67%), impolite or condescending waiters (72%), and removing the plate or glass before one has finished eating or drinking (59%).

The restaurant design and facilities can also annoy diners: tables too close together (39%), being too close to the door or kitchen (38%), and poor cloakrooms (73%).

Two further annoying aspects about restaurants is other customers sending text messages or talking on their phones (38%), and tables not being available within 15 minutes of the reservation time (50%).

While the survey was conducted in America, it is likely that similar results would be generated were the survey to have been conducted in South Africa.   (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Norwegian Air is planning to introduce low-cost flights between Gatwick and Cape Town.   The airline has recently introduced low-cost flights Los Angeles, New York, and Fort Lauderdale from Gatwick.

*   Edelweiss and Lufthansa airlines have announced that they will increase capacity to their flights to Cape Town.   From October Lufthansa will be putting larger A340-600 aircraft on the route, adding 30% more capacity.  Similarly Edelweiss will add 30% more capacity between Cape Town and Zürich from December to March, by flying three times a week.

*   Restaurant Mosaic at The Orient has received an Award of Excellence in the Wine Spectator Restaurant Wine List Awards, one of only three recipients of the Award in Africa. The minimum requirement is to stock 400 wines – Restaurant Mosaic stocks 40000 ‘fine and rare wines‘. (received via e-mail from Restaurant Mosaic at The Orient).  Rust en Vrede and five hundred are the other two recipients of the Award, Chantel Dartnall has informed.

*   Two Oceans wines have new redesigned labels for its Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, and  Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot blend, to (more…)

Hayden Quinn 2 Fritz and Hayden MosbolletjiesPoor Hayden Quinn!  Trying to be clever, the promo for last night’s episode 2, which was flighted on SABC3 on Sunday evening, had Hayden proudly sharing that he was going behind the ‘Boerewors Curtain‘ in Stellenbosch, to meet artisanal baker Fritz Schoon of Schoon de Companje.  The Tweet left Hayden with dough on his face, in making what he called a ‘joke‘, in poor cultural taste!

In reaction to a Tweet about his incorrect information (the ‘Boerewors Curtain‘ is a less than complimentary name for the residents of the suburbs of Parow/Bellville/Durbanville, to describe their love for braai-ing, in preference to most other activities, which means that they rarely leave their area, and that the area smells of braais from Friday evenings to Sunday lunch times on weekends),  Hayden replied: ‘I guess the little joke was lost haha just referencing stellies (sic) as a (sic) Africaans (sic) town‘.  His producer Riaan Badenhorst quickly jumped to his defence, explaining that Boerewors is ‘proudly heritage food‘, which was not the point of the Twitter exchange!

Hayden Quinn : South Africa‘ was first flighted on SABC3 last Monday,  doing a great job in making Capetonians proud of their beautiful city and its fresh produce bounty.  Hayden was a MasterChef Australia finalist in 2011, but did not win the series, and has managed to sign up the series about our country’s sustainable food production.  The programme is sponsored by (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   In honour of Mandela Day last Friday, and the launch of the new DVD of the ‘Lego‘ movie, a collection of limited edition Lego figurines of local presenters, including Gareth Cliff,  Bonang Matheba (ex Metro FM), Lee-Roy Wright (SABC3 presenter), DJ Fresh (5FM), and Casper Lee (actor Spud 3) has been created.  A set of three Nelson Mandela mini Lego figurines has also been launched.

*   The few women honoured in Cape Town by means of statues is soon to become something of the past, when steel cut-outs  of such women luminaries and outspoken leaders as the late Albertina Sisulu, Miriam Makeba, Adelaide Tambo, and Nadine Gordimer are erected along the Fan Walk leading to the Cape Town Stadium in Green Point, a World Design Capital 2014 project called ‘Wonder Women’.   Architect Mokena Makeka will make up the steel statues of the women, with a positive and negative image.

*   This coming weekend the focus in Cape Town will be on Street Food, with talks at Sidestreet Studios on Saturday 27 July by Andy (more…)

Foliage Chef Chris Erasmus at table Whale CottageFor the first time in many years Cape Town has seen barely any restaurant closures this winter. There have never been so many chefs leaving their employers to start their own restaurants, or to join other employers! An unusually high number of new restaurants have opened or will do so in the next month or two.

This list of restaurant openings and closings, restaurant staff movements, and winter holiday closures, is updated continuously, as we receive new information:

Restaurant Openings

*     Chef Chris Erasmus has opened his own restaurant Foliage in Franschhoek, having previously been at Pierneef à La Motte.

*    Chef’s Warehouse & Canteen has opened Street Food below the neighbouring hotel, offering Deluxe coffee, pastries, and Asian-inspired lunch take-outs. Operates from 7h00 – 15h00 Monday – Friday.

*   Idiom Wines is said to be opening a restaurant.

*   The Butcher Shop & Grill is opening next to Sotano in Mouille Point.

*   Michael Townsend (La Parada, Lucky Fish, Harbour House emporium) is (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*    Cape Town will host the 14th World Summit of the Noble Peace Prize Laureates from 13 – 15 October, the first time that it will be held in Africa, report the Cape Times and Weekend Argus.  A total of 1500 delegates is expected to meet at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, with the topic ‘Peace: living it’.  Previous Noble Peace Prize recipients such as Mikhail Gorbachev and Lech Walesa will join FW de Klerk and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

*   The largest number of international visitors to Cape Town in the third quarter of last year, ranked by figures just released by Wesgro, were from Germany, the USA, the UK, and Italy.  Gauteng was the largest source of local visitors, followed by those from other parts of the Western Cape.

*   Rio de Janeiro received close to 900000 visitors during the Soccer World Cup, spending $4,4 million, with more than half of the visitors planning to return in two years to attend the 2016 Olympic Games.  The city hosted the closing Final, which was viewed by 3 billion TV viewers, and its iconic statue of Christ the Redeemer against a sunset was shown during the broadcast, as (more…)

Next Page »