It was lovely to see ‘Hayden Quinn: South Africa’ back on track in episode 3 last night, with beautiful filming of the small fishing village where nothing happens every 45 minutes, it was joked! The word ‘Afrikaans’ was not mentioned once by Hayden, but he struggled to pronounce the surname of his host Chef Kobus van der Merwe from Oep ve Koop Bistro, previously named Oep ve Eet when we ate there.
Paternoster was shown from its most beautiful side, with an endless beach, fishermen’s boats on the beach, and white-washed houses making the village look like a ‘little Greek island’, Hayden observed. It is the oldest fishing village in our country, and the name of the village comes from ‘Our Father’. Hayden stayed at Abalone House & Spa, and the ‘quirky bohemian feel’ of its interior decor was shown, being dominated by prints of the work by the late artist Vladimir Tretchikoff. The strict architectural guidelines for houses in Paternoster was highlighted. Interesting is that there was no mention of Reuben’s Restaurant at Abalone House, one of the five restaurants belonging to Reuben’s Robertsons Pop-Up and Pop-In Riffel! Interesting too is that Gaaitjie restaurant with unfriendly owner Suzi Holtzhausen also was not mentioned, one of the better restaurants in the village.
Chef Kobus used to work at New Media Publishing in Cape Town before returning to his home town Paternoster, where his parents own ‘Die Winkel op Paternoster’, a mouthful for Hayden to say! Chef Kobus uses a section of the building and the garden to serve his guests, and forages seafood as well as wild greens and shoreline herbs, which he uses in the preparation of his dishes. Chef Kobus was described as being recognised as a WWF SASSI (South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative) ambassador in his sustainable and responsible use of fish in his Bistro.
Hayden and Chef Kobus were shown kayaking in the bay, before they went to forage mussels on the rocks, which are on the SASSI green list if hand collected, and subject to a permit being purchased at the Post Office. Chef Kobus talked about seaweed, which becomes crispy when cooked. They foraged dune spinach, part of his collection of wild greens and shoreline herbs.
Chris Kastern from SASSI talked about the SASSI Seafood Sustainability system, which categorises all local fish into three groups: green fish is fine to eat, with large quantities available; orange fish is borderline, with limited availability; and red fish is not to be bought nor eaten due to its scarcity. SASSI has brought out an App, which lists every fish type alphabetically, giving its different names, the origin of the fish, with a photograph, a description, and a link to Wikipedia. SASSI also offers a service whereby one can photograph the fish or send its name by sms to cell 079 499 8795, and one will receive an evaluation of the fish and its SASSI status. Kastern praised retailers for increasingly specifying the SASSI details on the pre-packaged fish which they sell, Woolworths obviously receiving praise in this regard.
Hayden went out on a boat with two local fishermen, and was shown how to catch fish with a line, adding some bait to the fish hook. Hayden caught Hottentot fish, which is SASSI green listed, and is a member of the seabream family, the App informs, being one of ‘the more abundant seabream species in the Western Cape’. A minimum size of 22 cm is specified (there was muttering on Twitter that Hayden’s fish catch was undersize!), and only ten may be caught per day by recreational fishers. The Hottentots that Hayden had caught were braaied, with salt being added.
Hayden and Chef Kobus prepared their fire in a caravan park in a nature reserve right at the sea. Hayden put the mussels in a cast iron pot, added Aromat (heaven forbid!) for flavour and beer, making it a ‘blokey‘ type of dish, Hayden admitted. Lemon zest, Italian parsley, and butter finished his dish off. Chef Kobus prepared kabeljou (farmed cob is SASSI green listed), smoking it for five minutes on dried and fresh herbs.
TV commercials were numerous, for sponsors Nedbank, Woolworths, Centrum and SafariNow, as well as advertisers Mercedes GLA, Fruit & Veg City, OLX, Santam, Richelieu, Garnier, Outsurance, and a host of medication including Benylin, Sinutab, Otrivin, and Caltrate Plus.
Chef Kobus deserves acknowledgement from Eat Out in the categories of Best Country Restaurant, or Best Bistro for the excellent, unusual and responsible cuisine which he serves at Oep ve Koop Bistro!
Hayden Quinn is an Australian surfer, WWF SASSI ambassador, and 2011 MasterChef Australia finalist. Episode 1 of ‘Hayden Quinn: South Africa’ focused on Cape Town, and made Capetonians proud of their city! Episode 2 was very disappointing and boring, focusing on Stellenbosch!
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