Leopard Trust cover Whale CottageYesterday The Cape Leopard Trust’s celebrated its 10th anniversary with a Charity Auction lunch at Leopard’s Leap, a perfect synergy between the good work done by the Trust, and the winery’s focus on leopards.  We were treated to a fine feast prepared by three chefs, and all left happy that R519000 was raised for The Cape Leopard Trust.

Barbara Lenhard and Florian Gast of Opulent Living are an amazing powerhouse couple in organising events, in addition to publishing their Opulent Living magazine.  They managed to attract 180 guests, at R1500 per head, to attend the Charity Lunch on a picture perfect day in Franschhoek.  Outside Marco Cianfanelli’s sculpture of a leopard welcomed arriving guests. We were offered a glass of Leopard’s Leap Culinaria Brut MCC on arrival, and were shown to our seats, where we were lucky to have great company, including Darryl from The Light House in Paarl, and Dr Tracey and Brett Garner.  Elana Afrika-Bredenkamp of the Expresso Show and her husband Ian Leopard Leap Elana and Ian Bredenkamp Whale CottageBredenkamp of Kfm and Cape Talk were the MCs, keeping a steady pace for the proceedings throughout the afternoon, interviewing chefs, the performers, and sponsors, which included Mercedes-Benz, FNB, and cennergi.

The outgoing CEO of the Cape Leopard Trust, and its founder, Dr Quinton Martins, became very emotional when he spoke, close to tears in seeing so (more…)

Tokara Leandri, Chef Richard Carstens, Seline Whale CottageLast night I attended a collaboration dinner between Tokara Chef Richard Carstens and Leandri and Seline van der Wat, the two sisters who made it to number two and three, respectively, in Season 2 of MasterChef SA last year. The dinner was entitled ‘Beyond the Chocolate Handkerchief’, and was a huge success, being sold out, and will be repeated tonight.

I had the pleasure of spending a day with bubbly Seline van der Wat earlier this year, showing her all the foodie hotspots in Cape Town.  More recently she and younger sister Leandri visited Cape Town, and we had lunch together at Chef’s Warehouse.  A subsequent Facebook post announced the dinner, and I booked immediately, not having seen the two sisters in cooking action except for the MasterChef Season 2 episodes, in which they both won the hearts of viewers who enjoyed the (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*  The Eat Out Gala Dinner, at which the country’s Top 10 Restaurants will be announced, will be held at Thunder City on 16 November.  Mercedes-Benz is the new title sponsor of the Awards.

*   The charity ‘Chefs who Share’ dinner, to be held in the City Hall on 11 September, will have seven pairs of top local chefs cooking for guests, each team paired with a local sommelier as well as an international Michelin star chef.  The international chefs are Gerd Kastenmeier from Kastenmeier Dresden, Alfred Miller from Wirtshaus Schöneck Innsbruck, Andreas Meyer from Schloss Prielau, Christoph Geschwendtner from Schlosshotel Fiss, Anton Schmaus from Restaurant Storstad, Bernard Reiser from Restaurant Würzburg, and Christian Grainer from Christian’s Restaurant.  (received via media release from Amplicon PR)

*   Table Bay Boulevard is to be named after former President FW de Klerk, it has been recommended by the City of Cape Town’s Naming Committee, subject to a public participation process.  The recommendation has been supported by Premier Helen Zille and former Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

*   Huffington Post’s Travel Blog interviewed Chef Luke Dale-Roberts of Eat Out top restaurant (more…)

Eso Juice Bar Cape QuarterThe Sweet Service Award goes to Eso juice bar in the Cape Quarter, and its owner Ahmed for his service recovery.  I had ordered a freshly squeezed orange juice, costing R30.  I asked for a serviette, but was told by the two staff members that they had run out of them, and had been out of stock for a number of days.  I felt that the owner should know, but the staff initially refused to provide his details.  The more senior of the two staff ignored my questions, just walking away from me.  The owner was (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Western Cape Tourism Minister Alan Winde has announced the launch of a R6,5 million Design Innovation Seed Fund to kickstart its new Design Park, to find the province’s next Mark Shuttleworth.  The Design Park will be housed in the Cape Craft and Design Institute.  Applications for funding to make local design ideas a reality are now open to students, entrepreneurs, and small businesses.  The value of the Cape’s design industry is R14 billion, which could rise to R20 billion with the launch of the Fund, and employ 14000 persons, said Minister Winde. (received via media release from Minister Winde’s office)

*   Kleine Zalze Wines  has appointed Alastair Rimmer as its new winemaker.  He studied viticulture in Stellenbosch, and has worked locally at Overgaauw, Agusta, Vergelegen Wines, and Darling Cellars, as well as internationally at wineries in Spain, California, Australia, and in New Zealand. (received via media release from Manley Communications)

*   Creation has introduced a new 10h00 Brunch Pairing, 8 courses paired with wines costing R 125. (more…)

Crisp signage Whale CottageOn Saturday I managed to get to see Crisp for the first time, it having closed early on the Sunday of the Bastille weekend.  It offers Franschhoek locals and visitors an amazing variety of fresh, canned, bottled, and packaged produce at very reasonable prices, with service from very professional staff.

On my previous visit, looking through the window, I expected a restaurant, seeing the four tables (with Boekenhoutskloof-branded table tops) and multi-coloured wooden chairs, but currently they only serve very good coffee (from Euro Café) and water.   The Deli belongs to Ainsa McTaggart Jooste, the staff told me, who already owns a Crisp in Riebeek-Kasteel.  However, the website shares that Crisp is a supplier of fresh produce to restaurants and hotels.  I know one of the two staff members Wendy, who previously was the Assistant Manager at the Salmon Bar, the most friendly and efficient staff member I have ever experienced there.  Wendy told me that they are planning to do meals, such as cheese and charcuterie platters, as well as additional items on a small menu. (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*  Travelers have barely heard of ‘sharing’ services such as Uber and Airbnb, and they are not yet a threat to established accommodation and taxi services, a Travel Weekly Consumer Trends survey has found.  More than two-thirds of the respondents had not heard of the services, and only 8% had used them.  The target age group of sharing services appears to be the 18 – 23 year olds, highest users of these services.

*   Western Cape Minister of Tourism Alan Winde has announced the new members of the Board of the tourism, investment, and trade agency Wesgro:   Professor Brian Figaji (previously of Pentech) is the new Chairman, while other Board members are Paul (more…)

Hayden Quinn Hermanus old harbourHayden Quinn: South Africa’ focused on the Overberg last night, visiting Hermanus and Stanford, as well as Elgin, but this was not mentioned, being described as being just outside Hermanus!  It was a whale of an episode highlighting the Southern Right whale visitors, the sustainable apple and pear farming in Elgin, and Marianna’s sustainable restaurant in Stanford.  No mention was made however of Hermanus’ produce nor its world-renowned wines in the Hemel en Aarde Valley!

Hayden raved about the Southern Right whales, which visit  Hermanus’ Walker Bay from July, he said incorrectly (they arrive from the Antarctic from May onwards) until early December.  On the Facebook page of ‘Hayden Quinn: South Africa it is incorrectly claimed that Hermanus is the ‘Whale Watching Capital of the World‘, copywriting nonsense.  Hermanus is however known as the offering the best land-based whale watching in the world, which is something different, and Hayden did say words to this effect in the episode!

To add some real adventure to his visit to Hermanus, Forest Adventures’ Clinton Lerm (infamous for wanting to change the name of the village to ‘Lermanus when his family tried to take over the tourism management of the town, to their own (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Etihad Airways has bought a 49% share in Alitalia.  The investment will benefit Alitalia as follows: ‘The recapitalized Italian national airline will now be able to invest in a comprehensive strategic business plan which will see new long-haul routes from Rome and Milan, a revitalized brand, and a greater focus on Italian tourism and trade promotion’.

*   The award-winning winemaking team of Andrea and Chris Mullineux, of 2014 Platter’s Winery of the Year Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines, now has access to the Roundstone wine farm inRiebeek-Kasteel, on which they will plant new vines (with viticulturist Rosa Kruger) as well as (more…)

Chef movie poster Whale Cottage PortfolioForget Dustin Hoffman, Sofia Vergara, or even Scarlett Johansson.  The star of ‘Chefs’ is Percy (played by Emjay Anthony),  the 10 year old son of the main character in the movie, being Chef Carl Casper, played by Jon Favreau, the writer, director, and producer of the movie.  The movie will boost Twitter, as much of it is based on Tweets sent by and about Chef Carl, as well as popularising buying from Food Trucks. Tourism to Miami, Austin in Texas, Los Angeles, and New Orleans should receive a boost too, while the image of food bloggers is unlikely to improve as a result of the movie!

Without giving away too much about the movie, Chef Carl is instructed by the restaurant owner Riva (Dustin Hoffman) to cook the same old way he has done for the past ten years, despite a well-known ‘food blogger’ restaurant critic Ramsey Michel (played by Oliver Platt) coming to eat at the restaurant that evening. The blogger is described as being extremely powerful, having just sold his blog to AOL for $10 million. The reviewer looks a lot like top Cape Town Chef Liam Tomlin!  Chef ReviewerChef Carl’s son Percy had just set up a Twitter account for his dad, and when the reviewer writes a scathing review about his restaurant experience and insults Chef Carl, saying that he has gained weight from all the poor food returned to the kitchen and which is eaten by Chef Carl, he explodes, and retaliates. On Twitter he tells the reviewer what he thinks of him, thinking that the reply would only be seen by the reviewer, but of course it is seen by all his Followers.  His Twitter followers increase to 2000+ overnight, and grows to (more…)

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