‘Hayden Quinn: South Africa’ episode 2: behind the Stellenbosch ‘Boerewors Curtain’, very disappointing!

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 Woolworths and Nedbank in the main.  Last night’s episode was boring by contrast, due to the heavy advertorial content on behalf of Woolworths.

Hayden started his journey in Paarl, visiting the Taalmonument, which he pronounced well. He described it as one of the largestHayden Quinn 2 Taalmonument monuments in South Africa, ‘welcoming you to the Cape Winelands‘ he tells viewers – one wonders who wrote his script!  The monument was erected in recognition of the African, European, and Asian origin of the Afrikaans language, a word he is able to pronounce better than he can spell!   The highest spiral of the monument is 57 meters tall, he tells us, and is open at the top to reflect the continued growth of the language.  The relevance of his visit to the monument to the programme is not explained.

Hayden then meets up with Fritz Schoon of Schoon de Companje, who explains how they moved into the bank building, from the original next door bakery on Church Street, as they had run out of space, and because it is a family business – his wife Chanel makes artisanal ice cream, and his sister has a butchery inside the outlet too, together with Fritz’s breads.  Hayden harps on about Fritz being Afrikaans, but he is actually of Dutch descent, as the name of his outlet reflects!  They make mosbolletjies together, an ‘Afrikaans style food‘, only baked at a certain time of the year, when must is available, Fritz using must from old vine Chenin Blanc from Montagu instead of yeast.  Once the mosbolletjies have been baked, they are eaten with butter and jam, and Fritz teaches Hayden the ‘lekker‘ word.  The weirdest part of the programme was the visit by Hayden and Fritz to De Morgenzon, where they go ‘zorbing’, rolling around the lawn inside large see-through plastic ‘balloons’, without any explanation of the purpose of this insert, being of no benefit to the award-winning wine estate, which is well known for its unique practice of playing classical music to its vines, but this was not mentioned.

A visit to a farm in Stellenbosch on which Woolworths has its tomatoes grown becomes boring, in focusing on the sustainability of the project, explaining how water is recycled and how bugs are caught on yellow sticky insect traps.  The project is described as ‘holistic farming pioneered by Woolworths‘,  heavily pushing the sponsoring retailer in the episode.  Hayden visits another nursery, a grassroots project, which started business with 1000 plants and now grows 600000 indigenous plants such as spekboom, grown in biodegradable pots which can be planted as is with pot and all.  I could not identify the names of either of the two farms. Hayden Quinn 2 Salad HQSAThe programme finishes off with a salad made with the Woolworths tomatoes, some onions, peppers, feta, and the spekboom,  not particularly inspiring at all, the second salad Hayden has made in the two episodes, and eaten with a potbrood which Fritz had baked.

As if the advertorial push of Woolworths wasn’t bad enough, the rest of the episode was dominated by advertising, the sponsors’ TV commercials featured first (Centrum, SafariNow, Mercedes Benz GLA, Woolworths, and Nedbank), followed by those for Hippo, Shell, OLX,  Pick ‘n Pay (describing itself as ‘South Africa’s coolest supermarket‘!), Valpré, and ABSA Payment Pebble.  Lanzerac sponsored the accommodation, so the hotel received a punt too, described as a national monument in an ‘Afrikaans town‘!

It would be a pity if the future episodes are as heavily sponsor-driven and unexciting as that of last night.  The first episode featuring Cape Town had energy and was so promising, and one hopes that the producers go back to production ‘grassroots’ in the future episodes!

POSTSCRIPT 22/7:  The ‘Hayden Quinn: South Africa’ website has written a blogpost about last night’s episode, back-pedalling and tries to brag about the Afrikaans Hayden learnt while he was here!  Suddenly he is able to spell ‘Afrikaans’!  A member of his HQSA crew, Jessy Scheepers, has valiantly but unsuccessfully defended his poor show in last night’s episode in a comment to this blogpost!

Hayden Quinn: South Africa, SABC3, Mondays 21h30 – 22h00.  www.haydenquinn.com.au  Twitter: @Hayden_Quinn @HaydenQuinnSA

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

12 replies on “‘Hayden Quinn: South Africa’ episode 2: behind the Stellenbosch ‘Boerewors Curtain’, very disappointing!”

  1. darren says:

    come on Chris, what do you really expect, we have a guy who was average in MCA, not exactly the sharpest knife in the box, from the back end of Australia coming over here doing a so called cookery programme paid for by corporates…..it does what it says on the box nothing more nothing less

    • I’m surprised you watched it Darren from Hout Bay, didn’t think food shows were your cup of tea!

      But I do agree – would love to know who was so smart to sell Woolworths and Nedbank, as well as SABC3 the show! Nothing about it makes sense!

      • darren says:

        hi chris, no i didnt watch it my comments were based on your blog…would be nice to see some original content for a change, actually quite liked Justine Bonellos original stuff

  2. Jessie says:

    Chris, you raise some valid points. I have one to put to you, however, that goes beyond the scope of this blog post.

    What I can’t understand is your relevance. I know – as per your description (all about you, little about Whale Cottage accommodation) that your career has focused on food, and television. And that, from that, you aim to blog as controversially as possible.

    What I don’t understand is why that is relevant to an accommodation in South Africa? All your ranting does is that it makes me annoyed. It makes me think that this career-driven woman is a has-been, who has resorted to accommodation, where she will twist and turn every aspect that indirectly relates to accommodation so that she can justify complaining about it.

    It’s annoying, and its to your detriment. So why don’t you choose the right channels, and have your own blog platform, instead of ruining the image of what could-be-pleasant, Whale Cottage?

    An aside, you’re not being helpfully critical, you’re just belittling things that have nothing to do with Whale Cottage. I somehow doubt that your guests come for negative TV reviews and irrelevant food advice.

    • Dear Jessie

      I appreciate your concerns – many thanks.

      You are very naughty to not have shared in your comment that you are a member of the Hayden Quinn SA team, as per the photographs on the website for the show: http://haydenquinnsouthafrica.com/author/hayden/ .

      Clearly you are annoyed at my criticism of last night’s episode. Surprising is that you didn’t complain about my glowing praise for episode 1 a week ago!

      I do note from your reply that you have not read my blog regularly over its 6 year history. It is not a blog to push my Whale Cottages specifically, or accommodation more broadly, as you suggest.

      I am in the tourism business, so write about restaurants, accommodation (extremely rarely), events, and anything else that has an impact on tourism to our beautiful part of the world. So when a programme like ‘Hayden Quinn: South Africa’ came along, and is a fantastic PR opportunity for our city, it attracted my attention, and it was a natural to write about it. You probably don’t know that I have written about every episode of MasterChef SA!

      My guests enjoy reading my blog for its honest reviews of restaurants and tourist attractions, rather than the blah blah written by freebie-hunters.

      Episode 1 was fantastic, well shot and presented, pacy, exciting, and made me feel a proud Capetonian. Last night’s episode 2 was a severe let down. Why is Hayden so fixated with ‘Afrikaans’. Why was he not briefed by your team? His comments about the ‘Boerewors Curtain’ were offensive. He should have been guided by your team in the promo for episode 2. To date it is easy to say that he cannot cook, having prepared two salads only. It’s winter now, and hardly the time of year to eat salads!

      Next time you comment on someone’s blog Jessie, be transparent, and reveal your vested interest, before trying to belittle the writer. You are a law graduate after all, so be honest. You should also understand the law of libel and defamation, and its consequences!

      I must just add how odd the call was to your agency, and I would say that it was you that answered the call, being so cagey about answering my questions!

      PS I have been in Food PR in the past, had a radio show for my Sweet & Sour Service Awards, but have never had any dealings with television! I also don’t write to be controversial – it is the reader’s interpretation that makes it controversial or not!

  3. Andre says:

    You’re a bit of a grumpy one, aren’t you?
    Rarely watch anything on SABC – but surely you get that no content is likely to be developed in SA without major corporate input. Agree there’s too much advertising, but there’s either that, or no new shows..
    Will give the show another chance, as the concept of seeing our country through a visitor’s eyes is not a bad one, and worked fairly well in the 1st episode.

    • Not at all Andre, very happy, but that doesn’t stop me from being critical about jokes made in poor taste by an Oz!

      You may have missed how complimentary I was about episode 1?

      I agree about the sponsorship/advertising (but overkill last night), and I too will continue watching (and writing)!

  4. Sarel Joubert says:

    What is the big deal around “Boerewors curtain” ? I am Afrikaans and lived in the Northern suburbs and Stellenbosch for many years. I referred to the area that way myself and still do. Many others that I know who still live there also calls it that. It is a term of endearment and a very apt description. You are making a storm in a tea cup over it Chris.

    • No ‘Sarel’, it is not a term of endearment when used by people who do not live there! And it most certainly does not apply to any area other than the Northern Suburbs of Cape Town, and definitely not Stellenbosch!

      You still live behind the ‘Boerewors Curtain’ yourself, don’t you?

      Hayden Quinn comes across as quite anti-Afrikaans, in commenting about ‘Afrikaans’ things in the 2 episodes to date. Let’s see how it goes in the next episodes.

      • Sarel Joubert says:

        Chris, with all due respect – do you have a clue what goes on in the northern suburbs? Have you ever lived there? Because I know you live on the Atlantic seaboard and cannot possibly have a clue of the mindset of the people of the Northern Suburbs. I am sure the poor people of Welgemoed, Aurora, Kanonberg, Oude Westhof, Van Riebeekshof, Graanendal, Dalsig, Mostertsdrift, Die Boord etc are thankful to you for taking up their plight. I bet they lose hours and hours of sleep every week over their area being called The Boerewors curtain. Things are so bad they sit at their desks in their airconditioned offices half asleep, productivity down, because they are so concerned about that people are comparing their area with a spiced heritage sausage.

        Storm in a tea cup.

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